Dennis D. Camp has many years of experience in estate planning. Estate planning, simply put, is the making of plans and arrangements for how your estate will be transferred after your death. Your estate includes all property which you own at the time of your death: Real estate, money in banks, investment accounts, clothing, jewelry, personal items, automobiles, etc. Good estate planning, among other things, makes certain that the person(s) you want to receive your property are clearly identified, and makes clear who you want to assist you and make decisions concerning your health and property should you become mentally or physically incapacitated.
Last Will and Testament
It is important to have a will. With a will, you control what happens to your property when you die. A properly drafted will virtually assures that the administration of your estate will be smoother and more efficient. If you die without a will, the administration of your estate will have to follow laws which could result in your assets and property being distributed differently than you would have wished.
A living trust is a legal document which holds the grantor’s property and assets, and gives control to a trustee. Usually the grantor himself is the trustee, and the trust names a successor trustee to administer the trust upon the grantor’s death. Mr. Camp prepares living trusts, and also represents successor trustees in the fulfillment of their duties and the transfer of the grantor’s property to the beneficiaries of the trust. If the grantor had a properly drafted and funded living trust, probate may be unnecessary.
Living trusts, however, should be drafted by and with the advice of an experienced attorney, who can explain to the client both the “pros & cons” of having a trust. For example, title to the grantor’s property and assets must be transferred to and maintained in the name of the trust in order for probate to be avoided upon the grantor’s death. Mr. Camp is well-qualified to fully explain what you will need to know in making a decision whether to set up a living trust.
Under Florida law, a competent adult may make a Living Will(also known as an advance directive) directing that life-prolonging procedures be withheld or withdrawn in the event the adult has a terminal or an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. A properly drafted Living Will can save a loved one’s family the additional stress and anguish of dealing with the issues involved in attempting to come to an agreement regarding life-prolonging medical treatments under such circumstances.
Medical Power of Attorney (Health Care Surrogate)
A Medical Power of Attorney (also known as a Health Care Surrogate) is a legal document in which individuals appoint a trusted person to oversee their medical care and to make healthcare decisions for them. Health-Care Surrogates are most commonly used in situations where the individual is unable to make healthcare decisions, but is not in a persistent vegetative state. Common examples include situations in which the individual has suffered a stroke or heart attack, or is being treated for a debilitating or terminal illness.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which an individual appoints someone else to act in his/her place. Powers of attorney can be limited or durable. Unlike a Medical Power of Attorney (Health Care Surrogate) a Power of Attorney is usually designed to cover non-health care matters, such as, paying bills, managing investments or selling real estate. The power given to someone in a Durable Power of Attorney continues even if the person who has given the power to another( the Principal) becomes physically or mentally disabled. Quite often, a well drafted Durable Power of Attorney can avoid the expense and legally mandated reporting requirements of a guardianship.
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