Durable Power of Attorney
Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) is one of the less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. DPOA is a legal document granting a person of your choosing as Attorney-in-Fact to pay bills, sign legal documents, and manage personal finances. The Attorney-in-Fact may also be designated to make medical decisions for their client. The extent and limits of the Attorney-in-Fact's authority may be designated in the DPOA, as well as when that authority commences, such as at the time incapacity is determined. The DPOA must be executed before a person is found to lack capacity. Because the Attorney-in-Fact will have access to their clients' funds, it is important to name someone you can trust. Professional guardians may good choices to be named Attorney-in-Fact, as they have undergone criminal and credit checks, are bonded, and accountable as fiduciaries.
Integra Guardians can provide referrals to elder law attorneys who are very familiar with these documents. We also act as Attorney-in-Fact under Durable Powers of Attorney.
Health Care Surrogate
Health Care Surrogate (HCS) is another less restrictive alternative to guardianship, and similar to DPOA, it appoints a representative to make medical decisions for their client. An HCS is an important part of a comprehensive Estate Plan as it appoints someone to make medical decisions for you in the case that you cannot make them for yourself. An important function of the HCS is to understand the client's medical wishes, in advance, and to use that knowledge to guide medical choices when and if needed. In this way, the client's wishes are preserved and followed, even when it is not possible for them to direct their medical care. The law provides several vehicles, such as a 'Living Will', which can document your wishes and appoint a Health Care Surrogate. At Integra Guardians, we offer HCS services and work closely with you and select Elder Law attorneys to provide the peace of mind in knowing that your medical wishes will be fulfilled in the future, even when you are not able to express them to your doctors.
In today's dynamic world, parents and grown children often live far apart and it is not convenient or possible for children to visit on a regular basis or otherwise care for aging or disabled parents on a daily basis. At Integra Guardians we offer a wide range of Family Surrogate services to be there when you cannot. We meet with you to determine which services are appropriate and tailor a plan to meet your individual needs. Some of the services Family Surrogates can provide include:
- • Visit on a regular basis, for wellness checks
- • Arrange transportation for Doctor's Visits
- • Act as liaison to coordinate Home Health Care or other professional services
- • Help apply for Social Security or Veteran's Benefits
- • Develop a plan for Social Activities
- • Arrange help for shopping
- • Keep in touch with family members as desired
Whether you need a little help, or more, we will meet with you to discuss and assess needs. Together we build a plan to continue making it possible to live at home with just the right level of assistance.
The term Representative Payee is in reference to a person recognized by the Social Security Administration or the Veteran's Administration to receive and administer benefits on behalf of another person who is unable to do so for themselves. The main responsibilities of a payee are to use the benefits to pay for the current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiary and properly save any benefits not needed to meet current needs. A payee must also keep records of expenses. When SSA or VA requests a report, a payee must provide an accounting to SSA of how benefits were used or saved. There are strict guidelines and safeguards to protect individuals who choose to use a Representative Payee. Note that a Representative Payee is NOT the same as a Durable Power of Attorney. At Integra Guardians we can act as Representative Payees for you or a loved one, to properly receive and administer their funds for their ongoing support and other obligations.
Estate planning is an important tool and provides many potential benefits:
- • Making provisions to ensure your medical wishes are carried out in the event you cannot direct your own care
- • Preserving your assets
- • Avoiding Probate and taxes
- • Preparing and administering a Will
- • Administering a Trust
At Integra Guardians we can help you understand the benefits of having an estate plan and refer you to qualified Elder Law attorneys in the area to help you prepare the necessary documents.
Trustee, or Successor Trustee
A trust is a legal entity which owns the assets assigned to it, be they real titled estate, financial investments, or simple bank accounts. Trusts are valuable tools for preserving wealth and providing for the financial needs of a particular person or group of persons. The Trustee, may be the person who is the beneficiary of the trust, or a third party. The Trustee is responsible, as fiduciary, with responsibility to prudently use the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary. Thus trusts are good vehicles to care for minors, one's self, or incapacitated individuals. In the event that the trustee can no longer serve (through death, incapacity, or removal) a Successor Trustee assumes position as Trustee, to provide continuity to administration of the trust. Specialized trusts can be established to protect assets, help qualify for Medicaid, or simply care for a family member. At Integra, we provide Trustee or Successor Trustee services. We work with Attorneys who specialize in creating the right trust vehicle to meet specific needs.
A Personal Representative is an individual named to administer the Estate of a deceased person. If that person had a Last Will and Testament, the PR is the Executor of the Estate. If the person passed without a will, the PR is the Administrator of the intestate estate. Responsibilities of the Personal Representative include offering the Will for Probate, the first step to ensure the decedent's wishes are being met. The PR is also responsible to distribute property to the lawful beneficiaries as provided for in the Will, pay the decedent's bills and other valid debts, and filing and paying required taxes.
A pre-Need Guardian is appointed to care for a person in the future. A pre-Need Guardianship is a proactive process to arrange for the care, in advance, of a person who may need care in the future. A pre-Need Guardianship must be elected while the person still has capacity to make their own decisions. This choice is often useful to provide for the future care of a person with a chronic degenerative condition, such as Alzheimers’s Dementia. Assigning a pre-Need Guardian avoids emergency actions by the courts and provides for an orderly transition of care for a person whose condition is in decline. The Guardian’s responsibilities and authority only become active when the person subject to care is deemed incapacitated.
A Guardian may be appointed to assume responsibility for an incapacitated person, or their property, or both. Thus, a guardian may be a Guardian of the Person, Guardian of the Property or Plenary Guardian (both), with respect to an incapacitated person, or Ward. A Guardian may only be appointed by a Circuit Court proceeding, in the State of Florida. Integra provides Guardians for those in need of care and the scope of the care provided is spelled out in the Letters of Guardianship, according to the needs of that particular person. Integra Guardians are bonded and their actions are overseen by the Circuit Court. Integra can coordinate the legal process to facilitate guardianship.