BY JEFF ADELMAN
As a general practitioner, I continually am asked about Wills and Living Wills, especially in the aftermath of the Terri Schiavo case. Amazingly, approximately half of all Americans die without executing a will during their lifetimes. Countless problems can result if our clients do not take the time to think about these documents. As our clients attorneys and counselors, we have an obligation to make them aware of the necessity of executing a Will, Living Will, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, and Durable Power of Attorney.
If you are creating a Will for a client, you need to offer the above documents to them as well. These documents are so important, yet so simple to construct. In fact, the forms are listed in the Florida Statutes: Designation of Health Care Surrogate (765.303); Durable Power of Attorney (709.08); and Living Will (765.303, also listed on www.flabar.org).
These documents can be done at a low price for your clients, it may be something to consider as yet another service offered by your firm. However, make sure you are meticulous when having your client’s execute the above mentioned forms. Florida Statute 732.502 has very specific requirement with regards to signatures, and if Wills and other related documents are not signed properly, they can be deemed void and ineffective.
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