Thank you for taking the time to see what we do and how we can be of valuable guidance to you and your family. At Yahima Suarez, PA we provide information and guidance for you to be able to choose the right plan to protect yourself, your family, your legacy, and your assets.
Legacy and Estate Planning is a Need of Every Family
We educate, we guide and help families make informed decisions about the estate and legacy planning needed to protect the individual, the family members, especially minor children, the assets and to make sure the family’s legacy is passed down the way that family wants, while we provide professional representation and build a long lasting relationship with our clients.
If you prefer to speak to us directly, give us a
call at 305-456-7158.
College-age children have very specific needs. It is so common for families to concentrate on dorm necessities and where to park a car, or if the child is going to even have a car, that it becomes too easy to overlook very important needs, such as an Estate Plan.
June brings beautiful moments and that baby is now a young adult who in just a few weeks is heading out to college. It is very likely that this child, who still feels too young, is going to be out there on his or her own. Some will stay home and go to a near-by college or university. The time is exciting, nerve wracking, amazingly full of emotions and, of course, some very important details are completely overlooked.
Once children turn 18, in the state of Florida, they are considered adults. At this time, parents can no longer make legal or medical decisions for their children. Parents are not even allowed to see the medical records of their own children once they reach legal adulthood. Thus, comes the necessity of putting in place the right protections.
College-age children shall have basic estate planning put in place. Estate Planning is not only about planning to pass down wealth upon death or to manage wealth. In fact, most college-age children have very little of an Estate to plan in terms of money. Thus, planning is also and very importantly, about creating the protections necessary for one’s life time. Determining who will make that child’s medical decisions and who will have access to medical records is of utmost importance. Here is a scenario:
Johnny graduated with honors from high school and his parents are very proud of his achievement. He obtained a full scholarship for his first-choice university. Johnny feels it is time to live on campus. He is already 18 and he wants to have the whole university experience. His parents, Jane and John, help him pay for his room and board. Johnny has a part time to pay for his car insurance and miscellaneous expenses.
Two months into classes, Johnny goes hiking with his new two best friends. They are having a great time until Johnny trips and falls hitting his head. Johnny is taken to the nearest hospital for treatment. Johnny parents are notified immediately. Once at the hospital, the doctors tell Jane and John that Johnny needs immediate surgery. Jane agrees but John does not. John feels it is too risky. The doctor asks for medical authorizations from both and none has one. The doctor also needs to know if Johnny ever took specific medications in the last two months before he can proceed with specific treatment. Jane and John have no access to Johnny’s medical records.
There is always another legal way: Jane and John can go through an emergency guardianship proceeding and a judge must provide orders authorizing Jane and John or one of them to have access to the medical records. The biggest concern is that Jane and John are not in agreement as to the treatment that should follow. Their dispute may cause a delay in the judge’s decision as to who will be the guardian of Johnny for medical decisions. We are not mentioning the fact that these proceedings may cost thousands of dollars, especially when there is disagreement as to the appointment of a guardian.
On the other hand, if Johnny had prepared medical powers of attorney and HIPAA authorizations, a decision could have been made rapidly and medical records could have been requested expeditiously decreasing the risk of other injuries to Johnny.
It is especially important to provide parents or a trusted adult with access to one’s medical records and authority to medical decision-making as soon as reaching legal adulthood.
It is easy for children to feel grown-up and adult once the magic age comes around. However, as with everything else in life, the age of majority also comes with a price tag. Adulthood brings responsibilities, independence, and more legal components.
Many parents think that because they continue to provide at least part of the child’s support or all of it and pay tuition or have the young adult continue to live under the parents’ roof, that they continue to have legal authority over medical and legal decisions for the children. The truth is that at eighteen, the individual is considered an adult who can govern his or her own life with the legal right to privacy.
We strongly encourage our clients with children who have already reached the age of majority to prepare and have in place medical directives, HIPPA releases, and any other necessary documentation to make sure the parents can still protect them in the event of an accident, temporary or long-term incapacity.
It is equally important that when these young adults leave to attend a college or university away from home, they have provided those close to them with instructions and directions or who to call and where to obtain important information about their medical necessities.
Remember that Estate Planning is not just about money, it is about you, your family and your rounded well-being.
Some of the documents to be drafted:
Health Care Power of Attorney (also known as Health Care Directive): Through this document, the individual may appoint a parent or a relative or trusted friend to serve as their health care power of attorney. This person can make medical decisions in the event the individual is unable to. It is recommended that both the person holding health care power of attorney and the individual’s doctor holds a copy of the document.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 protects patient privacy. This gives medical practitioners permission to share information with those named on the form. This way allowing access to medical records or information as necessary.
Power of Attorney: A financial power of attorney is also a very important document. This document authorizes a person, usually a parent, to make legal decisions on behalf of the child. It is usually recommended to have a Durable Power of Attorney that gives the authorized person access to financial accounts at any time, rather than only upon incapacity (as would be the case of a “springing” power of attorney. With such document, a parent could pay the child’s bills, replace a lost or stolen debit or credit card, speak to child’s landlord or any other on behalf of the child upon an incapacity or just because the child is away for college. This document should be updated every few years to make sure it is up to date and because some financial institutions may not accept an outdated one.
Have peace of mind knowing you will be able to be there for your children even when they have already reached legal adulthood. Contact us if you have any questions either be clicking here or by dialing 305-456-7158 and we will schedule a Life Planning & Beyond Session to assess your family’s needs.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Yahima Suarez: I have a passion for educating and helping families, individuals and business owners understand their own needs and provide them with the guidance and legal advice to help them achieve their personal, financial and business goals. I am a true believer that Estate Planning is for everybody but not everybody needs exactly the same type of planning. My ultimate goal is to provide with a comprehensive Estate Plan that gives the client the essential protections that they need and, ultimately, peace of mind.
As part of my goal-oriented estate planning process, I first seek to understand your goals and needs. My advice focuses on how the estate planning documents advance your specific goals and needs. I use plain English (or Spanish) and easy to understand visual aids, so you know what you need to do in order to ensure that your plan works the way you intend. I also speak Spanish fluently, and even though the documents will be drafted in English, I explain your contents in Spanish, if you so prefer.
My personal mission is to make estate planning as accessible, efficient and streamlined as possible so that individuals, families, and business owners like you are motivated to express their estate planning goals, and families and business partners do not have to deal with the disastrous fallout from a lack of planning.
I am committed to educating families with young children so they have the knowledge and understanding and the tools to decide what plan is best for their family, what guardians are best for their children, what type of financial plan must be put in place to support their children if they are no longer around. I want parents to make sure they are prepared for any event. I want to make sure your children are protected.
I help families plan for their own protections in the event of incapacity or to plan for the care of aging parents. No less important, I help individuals in choosing the proper planning needed to protect their businesses and their assets.
Although I focus on Trust -Centered planning, which will usually keep the administration away from the courts or probate proceedings, many of those who come to our office for help upon the death of a loved one already has a will-based plan or no plan at all. In that event, I provide the client with representation in the probate proceedings.
When proper planning has not been put in place on time, and the need for a guardianship arises, I help clients go through the process or recommend the right attorney to handle, if needed. In other events, a Guardianship is a necessity, such as in the event of persons with disabilities or minors, and I am here to help.
I feel proud in treating my clients like family, protecting their interests as if they were my own, and making sound recommendations to help them accomplish their planning goals.
In order to stay in-tune with the latest trends and developments in Estate Planning, I became an active member of WealthCounsel, a national community of top estate planning professionals committed to the highest standard of practice excellence. This collaborative organization, along with attending seminars taught by nationally recognized thought leaders and the Florida Bar, keeps me on the leading edge of the newest estate planning ideas and approaches.
I believe that effective estate planning is critical to the financial, physical, and emotional well-being of my clients, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the process.
I graduated with a Juris Doctor from St. Thomas University School of Law, 2006 and with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/English and History from St. Thomas University, Cum-Lade, 2003. I interned for the Four Courts (Supreme Court) of Ireland and the State Attorney’s Office in Miami. I was admitted to the Florida Bar and have been a licensed attorney in good standing since 2006. I was admitted to the Southern District of Florida, Federal Court, in 2007. I am a member of Wealth Counsel, the National organization for Estate Planning Attorneys, the Florida Bar sections of Real Estate, Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate.
I welcome the opportunity to bring peace of mind to your life.