Top Misconceptions of a Living Will

A “Living Will” is not the same thing as a Will. The latter directs where your stuff should go. The former tells your family and your doctor how aggressively they should care for you at the end of your life, such as whether you want to be put on life support. Here are some other misconceptions:

Misconceptions of a living will

Misconception: Living Wills are just for elderly people or those with terminal illnesses.

Actuality: It is never too early to create a Living Will. Hopefully you will be healthy for many years, but tragedy can strike anyone at any age. You don’t want to put your loved ones in the position of having to figure out what type of end-of-life care you would have wanted if you are unable to communicate this.

Misconception: A Living Will is the same as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR).

Actuality: A Living Will outlines what type of medical treatment you would want in a life-threatening situation, including whether you want to withhold treatment if there is no hope you could regain a good quality of life. With a Living Will in hand, your doctor then creates a DNR order, which is the official document allowing the medical staff to withhold such treatment.

Misconception: If I have a Living Will, I don’t need to discuss my wishes with my family.

Actuality: It is extremely important that your immediate family knows about your desires for the end of your life. This is not a comfortable conversation to have, because no one wants to think about their loved ones leaving them. But it’s important that they know what you want, should something tragic occur. (You should also know what they want.) In addition to your family, it’s helpful to give a copy of your Living Will to your family physician.

A Living Will is often created at the same time as your regular Will and any other documents you may need to convey your wishes. Contact the Law Office of Gary M. Landau by email or call 954-979- 6566 to learn more about which documents you may need. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.

Save

Homestead Exemptions for 2017–What You Must Do Now

homestead excemption 2017With the end of the year rolling around, now is the time to set yourself up for a Florida homestead exemption for the next tax year.  Starting next year, this exemption gives permanent residents a deduction of  $50,000 from your home’s assessed value, as well as qualifying you for additional benefits.

If you have lived in your home for more than a year and have previously had a homestead exemption, you don’t need to do anything.

If you’ve moved in the last year, however, or are about to close on a home, you must take steps to ensure you get this deduction for the coming tax year.

First, you must close on your home no later than December 31st. Then, you must take steps to demonstrate that this is your permanent home, such as changing your address on your driver’s license.

Before March 1st, you must officially file for this exemption with the Tax Appraiser’s Office. (Find your local office at http://floridarevenue.com/dor/property/appraisers.html).

Properties granted a homestead exemption also automatically qualify for the “Save Our Homes” benefit, which limits the increase in assessed value in future years to either 3% or the Consumer Price Index change, whichever is lower, in the second consecutive year the exemption is received (unless you add an addition or do other major construction). If you had homestead and Save Our Homes with a previous home, you must buy a new one within two years if you want to transfer your old benefits to the new home.

Homeowners who want to add an adult child or other relative to their deed must be careful to do so in a way that doesn’t jeopardize their homestead. If you don’t do it right and lose your homestead, your assessed value for tax purposes will jump to the fair market value. Having an experienced real estate attorney make this change will ensure this doesn’t happen.

For a FREE consultation to discuss these and other real estate issues, contact the Law Office of Gary M. Landau by email or call 954-979-6566. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.