There are many reasons to have an estate plan set up by a qualified estate planning attorney; a will, trust, guardianship, even having a power of attorney designated in case of your future incapacitation. The idea of protecting assets one acquires over a lifetime of working is part of the American culture, inherited from civilizations as old as man himself. But what happens in the State of Florida if an individual dies without taking the necessary precaution of protecting their property, savings, retirement accounts etc. without having the proper designations of beneficiaries set in place in a legal instrument. Unfortunately, many people fail to take the time and limited expense in hiring an estate planning attorney to ensure their family, loved ones or some other entity receives their property upon their passing with the least amount of wasted time and governmental involvement.
At Heekin Law, we are a local and experienced estate planning firm specializing in all types of estate planning documents, from wills and trusts to the administration of asset protection plans. Below are some good reasons to have an estate plan that is right for your needs, developed by a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in Jacksonville.
One of the easiest decisions one can make about their wishes for the inheritance of assets upon their death can be lost if they fail to prepare the correct legal documents instructing said wishes. Dying without a legal estate planning instrument is what is called dying “intestate”, and will require the intervention of a Florida probate court to divide assets and transfer property to living relatives in accordance with the intestacy statutes. To clarify, not all assets would be probated, for instance, retirement accounts where a beneficiary has been designated or real property that is owned jointly with survivorship rights. Besides having the government decide who gets what when you die, not giving clear instructions often leads to complications and family member conflicts. The death of a loved one is usually a stressful and emotional ordeal, only further exacerbated but the lack of a properly executed estate planning documents to fulfill one’s final wishes as to who should receive what in the event of your death.
Life can deal some very tragic blows to just about anyone at any time. These types of unexpected medical events do not just happen to aged people and anyone can be vulnerable to an unexpected incapacitation. Certainly, the longer you live the increased likelihood that a debilitating illness could change your way of life forever. These types of medical conditions may also have a devastating effect on those around you especially if you are the primary bread winner of your family. Medical incapacitations can also occur due to injuries and trauma sustained in an accident. A prudent choice to make to prepare for the unexpected is to seek the advice and counsel of an estate planning attorney and create a number of documents in the event or anticipation of the unexpected.
A living will is a medical “advanced directive” that allows you to express your wishes concerning your medical treatment in the event you become incapacitated and cannot direct or express your desires yourself. This can take the arduous decisions for end-of-life care out of a loved one’s hands and legally bid a medical entity to perform to your presubscribed desires.
A power of attorney is a document that gives authority to an individual (or more than one) while you are alive to make financial as well as medical decisions on your part. A power of attorney can be limited or all encompassing, depending on your situation. It is important to know that a power of attorney, no matter what authority given therewith, dies with the person. Upon your death, a person you have given authority to handle your affairs no longer holds those powers through the power of attorney.
Designation of a pre-need guardianship allows a person to select an individual to take care of them and their financial and personal matters in the event that the person becomes incapacitated. Guardianships, on the other hand, are court appointed legal representatives authorized to make financial, medical and legal decisions for an incapacitated person.
In conclusion, it is important for anyone who lives in the State of Florida to consult with an estate planning attorney before making certain decisions about who will inherit their assets, represent their interests if they become incapacitated, or make decisions on their behalf for any reason. The time to plan for the unexpected or inevitable consequences of life is now. Just like having an insurance policy, an estate planning document ensures your wishes will be carried out and the beneficiaries of your estate, no matter the size large or small, will inherit your remaining assets. At Heekin Law we specialize in all types of estate planning services for individuals, married couples, domestic partnerships, divorcing couples and beneficiaries.
Give us a call at 904-355-7000 for a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you prepare for the unexpected.
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To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to