By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold, Miami Lakes Estate Planning Attorney
When preparing an estate plan everyone plans for distribution or preservation of their assets to make sure their minor child, adult child or families are taken care of. People often overlook planning for the event of being mentally incapacitated and asking this important question: What if you are just not available? Covid-19 has given people a new perspective with the overwhelming amount of hospitalizations. Front line workers are often forced to make the difficult decision of being separated from their minor children to avoid them contracting the virus.
Now more important than ever every parent should plan for guardianship of their minor children.
Here are three documents every parent should have for their minor child:
- Medical Power of Attorney: This is a medical power of attorney allowing someone other than the natural guardians to make medical decisions, including procedures or treatment and surgery. It is commonly also referred to as a Healthcare Surrogate for Minor. Pursuant to Florida Statute 765.2035 the designation remains in effect until termination by the person who made the declaration. A healthcare surrogate can also be named before a child is born.
- Power of Attorney for Minor Child: This document encompasses more of the day to day activities and care, such as the following:
- Care for school and after school decisions, transportation arrangements;
- Receiving and holding any funds or property payable to the minor child;
- Nominating a person to act as guardian;
- To sign a waiver and release of liability;
- To access communications intended for the minor child;
- Access to accounts of the minor child involving web-based communications, such as email, memberships in organizations or commercial enterprises, and social media; and
- Representing the minor child in any legal matter.
- Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian: This is a legal document that gets filed with the court designating a guardian for the person and property of a minor in the event of death or incapacity of the natural parents pursuant to Florida Statute 744.3046. This will not replace the rights of another natural parent and the court is not bound to designate the person named.
In addition to the above documents, there are things that must be considered and carefully accounted for. For instance, a Last Will should provide insight as to why the person named as guardian is the best fit. This is important when the natural parent has not been involved in the child’s life and it would not be in the best interest of the child to be in their care or custody.
Often what some persons regard as “minor details” become the most crucial once documents are contested. Overlooking such details can be harmful for your children and costly. This is why it is important to seek legal assistance when planning for your future so these mistakes can be avoided.
The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not all inclusive or intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced Estate planning attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein. To schedule an appointment to review or update your estate plan, call Miami Lakes Estate Planning attorneys, Rarick & Beskin, at (305) 556-5209. We are available to meet you at our Miami Lakes, Weston, or Ft. Lauderdale office.