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Estate planning 101

While just about everyone can think of something better to do than begin planning for the prospect of illness and death, it is always recommended that individuals think about such things ahead of time so that they have the opportunity to make important choices and decisions for themselves. After all, the process of estate administration is much more straightforward when a clear plan is in place. Here are a few important documents every Miami, Florida, resident should consider including in their own estate plan.

Health Care Surrogate

In the event that someone becomes very ill or is otherwise incapacitated, they can assign someone else to make important medical decisions on their behalf. Identifying a health care surrogate ensures that one's health and well-being is in the hands of someone they trust.

Living Will

Also known in the state as the Declaration Under Florida Life Prolonging Procedure Act, a living will outlines the nature and level of medical treatment that can be administered in the event an individual is unable to communicate their wishes once diagnosed as terminally ill.

Durable Power Of Attorney

Much like a health care surrogate, a person with durable power of attorney has the authority to make important financial decisions in place of someone that is unable to conduct their own affairs.

Last Will And Testament

creating a will allows an individual to specify exactly who they would like their assets to be distributed to and how once they have passed. In addition to accounting for the distribution of personal property, a will can also specify child custody arrangements.

Living Trust

Similar to a will, a living trust specifies how assets should be distributed upon one's death. Unlike a will, however, having a trust eliminates the probate process and many other expenses.

Source: tcpalm.com, "Estate planning is important, regardless of the size of your estate," Robert Schwartz, Jan. 8, 2014

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