Family and Wealth Planning

Please beware! Legal v. Medical Powers.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney? Is it enough to make medical decisions?

First and foremost, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney (also known as Health Care Directive or Health Care Proxy) are two different documents.

A Durable Power of Attorney: This document lets you grant another person the authority to act as your LEGAL representative. Common powers granted by this document, among many others, are: authority to access your bank account, write checks, pay bills, contact the home insurance or mortgage company, rent, sale, or manage real estate or a business, communicate with governmental institution, sue or defend a lawsuit against you, and much more.

The term “durable” means that it does not have an expiration date on it and it is valid from the moment that it is signed.  You do not have to be incapacitated for the document to become valid. In fact, a document with such a provision is not valid in Florida.  The Durable Power of attorney is valid immediately and even after you are incapacitated. This is a very powerful document and must be safeguarded and precautions be taken to protect it because it can be used by the agent or person granted the authority immediately!

You can also grant only a specific authority to an agent and create a Specific Power of Attorney. For example, if you are selling your house and you will be traveling the day of the closing, you can leave a power of attorney to an agent to sign on your behalf. These powers are only for the specific purpose.

A Health Care Power of Attorney: This document gives a person the right to make MEDICAL decisions for you. In order for an agent under this health care power to make decisions for you, you must be legally incapacitated and unable to make the decision for yourself. For example, if you are unconscious after an accident and there is a need to decide what doctor, what procedure, what hospital, etc., the agent would have the right to make the decisions. However, if you have the legal capacity to decide, no one can decide for you regardless of being in possession of a Health Care Power of Attorney signed by you.

Note that a Health Care Power of Attorney is not a Living Will. Through a Living Will, you decide, in advance, your end of life decisions.

At Yahima Suarez, PA, we do not emphasize the documents as part of our planning for clients and we concentrate on the planning itself. There is a lot more to estate planning than just printing out a form online and signing it.  The contents, working and editing of those “forms” is essential so the documents reflect your intent and your wishes.
So we say that the documents are the product of the planning.

Planning your “estate” during life is more than just deciding who will inherit your home when you die, it is about protecting your health and your life first, protecting your loved ones if you are incapacitated for any period of time and protecting your assets — your income, your home, your business.  The second part of the planning is about leaving your assets and certainly, your legacy.

None of the documents above deal with the second part of the planning!

Make sure to understand the difference and do not rely solely on online information when creating your estate plan. Do yourself a favor and consult with an estate planning attorney and not a general practitioner.

Yahima Suarez, PA

The information herein contained shall not be construed as legal advice and should only be used for reference.  Please consult your specific case with an attorney. All cases are different!

Family and Wealth Planning

102 years-old and counting . . .

About two years ago I had a client walk into my office with very little difficulty. He was 97 years old. He was ready to put his estate plan in place. The conversation turned more into his cardiologist (the one who over twenty years ago had to put a pacemaker on his heart) did not schedule him for a follow-up visit. He was fine. His only complaint at this age, but a slight loss of balance, but no walker yet.

A few months later I also had the privilege to help update the estate plan for a 97-year-old lady who complained about all her health issues. She was, however, looking very well.  She did use a walker but needed minimal assistance to move around.

Just three days ago, I met my oldest client to-date. This one is going to be hard to beat. My client is 102 years old.  You would say that at that age, there is no longer legal capacity and faculties have deteriorated and he probably came pushed in a wheelchair.

I am very happy to announce that this gentleman is in best health than probably most of us. His mind as sharp as his young great-grandson and not even a walker!! He knew what he wanted and how he wanted it and his grandson was entitled to an opinion but just that. Ah, no hearing aids and NO Glasses — and a great attitude too 🙂

He turned in his driver’s license about a year ago at the insistence of family members. He claims he can still drive perfectly.

I learned about his family history, from the times of Cuba to now and the things he enjoyed and disliked. I learned about his family dynamics and family tree. He knows exactly what’s in the bank and what are his numbers, to the detail.

I am impressed and I feel glorious of being given the opportunity to serve him.

I am adding myself to his next birthday party for sure . . .

Friends: Appreciate life. Live it to the fullest. Do not stress too much. Get your planning in place (do not wait until you are 100– this is an exception, not the rule). Enjoy peace of mind.

Love and Health to you and your family!



Yahima Suarez, PA
Tel. #: 305-456-7158

Family and Wealth Planning

Is a Living Will and a Will the same thing?

So often people come to my office because they want a “Living Will.” After questioning what they want, it happens that what they want is a “Will” or also known as Last Will and Testament. A “Living Will” and a “Will” are not the same thing and have very different purposes.

A Living Will is the directive by which the person decides if they want to be kept alive by artificial life if there is nothing medically possible to be done to save their life. This directive can be extensive or very general. It can express the person’s wishes with every detail or simply express the desire to not receive artificial life. Some may want to stay on artificial life for a reasonable period or a specific period of time may decide to continue on nutrition and pain medications, or any other specificity.

A Living Will is a very helpful document and, more than anything, it makes a decision in advance so that loved ones do not have to bear this burden at the most difficult moment.

On the other hand a “Will” or “Last Will and Testament” refers to the document that disposes of the person’s assets once the upon that person’s death. The Will provides for a Personal Representative (to administer the estate), which is the person who hires the attorney and manages the assets while the case is in court until the assets are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries named under the Will.  So, yes, the Will names who the person wants to receive the assets, what assets, amounts and in what manner.

A Living Will works when the person is still alive, while a Will or Last Will and Testament comes into effect when the person dies.

Thus, there is a big difference between the two documents and shall not be confused!

If you had any questions about this subject or still are confused about the two, feel free to leave the question below or email it to us at We would like to hear from you!

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez
Life Planning & Beyond



Family and Wealth Planning

Have you heard of Attorney-Client Privilege?

Attorney-client privilege is a legal term that can be complicated but it is very important and so I want you to know what it is and what it can mean/affect you and/or your family.

The communication between an attorney and a client is confidential.  The attorney cannot reveal the information received by the Client to third parties and in many instances, not even to a Court!

The confidentiality is owned by the client, which means that only the client can reveal or authorize for the information to be revealed.

The attorney cannot reveal client communication. This privilege also covers the attorney’s staff (assistants, secretaries, paralegals, etc.).

As it related to Estate Planning . . .

What the Attorney-Client Privilege means to you, as the client? As the client, you know that your attorney cannot disclose your wishes and desires with your family members, friends, or anyone else without your consent. So, if you want to case/estate plan to be private, the attorney must keep it private.

In Estate Planning, we encourage clients to be open and inform family members of their intentions because we truly believe that this avoids bigger conflicts in the future, but ultimately, it is the client’s decision.

What the Attorney-Client Privilege means to you, as the family member? The family member must understand that it is not the attorney’s fault that they did not know about their parents or close family member’s wishes until the Will or Trust is administered (at this time, it is too late to make changes).  So, again, we encourage open communication with close family members about your own estate plan and about their estate plan!

What he Attorney-Client Privilege means to the attorney?  The attorney must follow the rules and ethical standards of the legal profession. As an attorney, we are put in a difficult situation. Attorneys can often be victims of false accusations and complaints by unhappy family members who do not realize that the attorney is only complying with a very important rule – attorney-client privilege. The attorney is only doing her job by protecting the secrecy and confidentiality of the client that trusted the attorney. “Whatever the client  says to the attorney, stays with the attorney!”

Personally, I highly value my client’s trust and I accept this responsibility with pride!

What is not covered by the privilege: As with every rule, there is an exception.  An attorney cannot keep confidential information about the intention of the client to commit a crime. In Florida Estate Planning cases, after the client passes away, the attorney may be compelled by a Court to disclose the client’s intentions if there is a Will/Trust contest.

To avoid future conflicts, I highly encourage you to talk about your estate plan with your family! 

Any questions, send us an email: or give us a call at 305-456-7158.

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez, JD
Yahima Suarez, PA

File Apr 05, 10 25 23 PM

Family and Wealth Planning


acarducci-June-order-1-2017Dear Clients, friends, colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that we are moving, as of July 1, 2018 (next Monday we will be already in our new office!  We trust it is a more convenient location that will only enhance our outstanding services to you!

900 West 49 Street, SUITE 326
Hialeah, FL 33012

Any questions, our phone number continues to be the same: 305-456-7158.


Estimados amigos, clientes, colegas,

Con alegria les comunico que nos mudamos, a partir del 1ro de Julio del 2018 (el proximo lunes ya estamos en la nueva oficina)! Es una localizacion mas centrica y estamos seguros que solo mejorara ya nuestros servicios para usted.

900 West 49 Street, SUITE 326
Hialeah, FL 33012

Cualquier pregunta, el numero de telefono sigue siendo el mismo: 305-456-7158.

Warmest Regards / Cordiales Saludos,

Yahima Suarez, PA
Ph. #: 305-456-7158


Family and Wealth Planning

Today is Tuesday!

Today is Tuesday. What’s so special about today?

Every day is a present day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is to come. We celebrated all weekend long — two birthdays in the family and all the Fathers. Then Monday came along and today is already Tuesday.

But Tuesday is as good or as special as any other day because we are here right now and we want to make sure that this is the best day ever, just because it is today 🙂

So Happy Tuesday to all my friends! 🙂

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and celebrated you if you are a dad, and all the dads in the family. Thank you, dads, for making a big difference in your children’s lives.



Family and Wealth Planning

Moms, are you Ready for Summer?

School is almost out! I do not know about you, but for me, the year flew by very fast. This was Daniela’s first school year and although it was challenging and tedious at times, it was also rewarding and very productive.  But now . . .

Now comes Summer!  Oh yea, but we moms still have to work. We do not get summer off like our kids. (We should, right!?).

So what do you do with your kids over the Summer? Summer Camp? Day Care? What are the best and the not so good options? How does money work into this equation? How do you choose the place for your kids to spend their summer and learn at the same time?

I was doing some research and I came across options like the local public school, local daycare centers, but also places like the Zoo, Seaquarium, local children museum, church groups, and more.  The options are endless.  I was surprised at the many options but also of the difficulties some would entail. For example, the Miami Zoo was a very attractive option for my daughter, but it would entail driving from Hialeah to SW Miami on peak traffic time in the morning and again in the afternoon for a total of easily 3-4 hours of driving a day.  So, we passed. (Well, I passed!)

We are interested in knowing what you decided to do with your kids for the Summer and why you chose those options . . .

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post in June — Father’s Day and Grad’s Month is Approaching . . . !

Warmest Regards,





Family and Wealth Planning

A gift for you on Mother’s Day!

Five years and five months ago I was blessed with the biggest, most wonderful gift of all: motherhood.  My daughter was born December of 2012 and as I always say, it is the most demanding but most rewarding job of all.

Is it really a job? If you think about it the answer is no. You do not get paid for working at this “job” and you cannot just leave sick and not come back for two days. You will not be fired and you cannot quit. Employment laws don’t cover you even though you are required to work 24-hour shifts, every day.  Even when your children start school, your mind cannot disconnect. You are always thinking of them.

So, for this hard job we moms do and we do with so much pleasure and pride, I wanted to treat Moms this month to a special gift.  Well, two gifts:

          Gift #1: If you would like to learn how you can make sure your children are cared the way you want by the people you want under any and all circumstances, if you want to protect your children from creditors and predators, and if you want to enjoy a bit of peace of mind, I invite you to come speak to me.  If you come in for a Life Planning & Beyond Session (FREE) with me this month, I will waive the session fee (a value of $250).

         Gift #2:  As a way of appreciation for your hard work, I want to know you get some pampering and time for yourself because you deserve it! The first Seven Moms that schedule a Life Planning & Beyond Session with me this month will receive a Mani/Pedi Gift Certificate (a value of $30).

So give us a call at 305-456-7158 and take advantage of our gifts to you . . . because we moms deserve it!

May you have a blessed and wonderful Mother’s Day surrounded by your children, your mom, your family, and friends!

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez, JD
Yahima Suarez, PA

DAISY - Happy mothers day text


Family and Wealth Planning

This is the worst thing I have heard in a while . . .

Do you have a child with special needs? If yes, then you must read this!

I was with a client a few days ago (signing her estate planning documents) who brought in her two nieces and heirs to the signing meeting. It happens that one of the nieces has a special needs child — an autistic child. I always call people with special needs, children, even though they are already over the age of 18 and are considered, by law, adults. Why? because they are usually unable to provide for themselves, live on their own, and sometimes, they even need assistance with daily living activities.

As we reviewed the aunt’s documents, the niece sure had questions. She first told me how she could not leave any money to his autistic son (who is already 24) because if she did, her son would lose his disability and Medicaid benefits.  She went further to say that she has named her daughter as the only beneficiary of her accounts and life insurance. I flipped.  She noted, “I cannot leave anything to my son, so I am going to have my daughter provide for him.” I must add [out of her own free will].  My jaw just dropped and I wanted to scream. Nooo. I said: No!

She looked at me puzzled. What is that “no” all about? I could read in her query eyes.

I could not help it. I opened her aunt’s file and looked for a blank page and I went on to explain how a plan for her could totally benefit her son without affecting her special child’s governmental assistance.

The main points here:

  1. If you leave your disable’s child inheritance to a family member, you totally disinherited you disabled child and if you become incapacitated or you die, that child has nothing. You will no longer have control of the money left and your child will be at the mercy of the life circumstances of the family member.
  2. I am not saying the family member will not provide for the disabled child (there are some good-hearted and trusted people out there), but how is the family member going to protect that money to make sure the money is always available to protect that disabled child? Have you ever thought of the effect of a lawsuit against that good-hearted and trusted family member or the sudden need for a bankruptcy?
  3. Your child’s needs will be higher than the needs of other siblings. Can you risk leaving your child unprotected?
  4. Are you leaving a real estate property in someone else’s name? How can you stop that family member from selling the property if cash becomes short? If so, where will your special child end up living?
  5. Through the years, I have learned that people change and can be influenced by others. Can you assure that the good-hearted and trusted family member will never change?
  6. Have you ever seen that family member handle and increase his or her own money?  Could that family member be able to do that for your special child?
  7. If one thing I can assure is that money can change people for the worse too easily. Even the best of people can fall for the temptation.
  8. I have seen grandparents pay off their mortgage with life insurance proceeds left to the grandkids. After all, they are providing a roof for the grandkids. But when the grandkids are ready for college, there is no money to afford it.
  9. I can go on and on and on. So, definitely, the Answer to leaving your disabled child’s inheritance to someone else with the hope that the person provides and cares for the disabled child’s needs is by far the worse idea I have heard in a while.

What is the solution? A Special Needs Trust!

Every family has different needs, but certainly, a special needs trust will make sure that the disabled child continues to qualify for governmental benefits and will be able to secure his inheritance for his own benefit. Yes, both can happen at the same time. There are restrictions on the special needs trust and the way the money can be used, but at the end, there are more benefits than restrictions.  In addition, you can always control what happens to the property you leave your child as well as residence choices by the use of trust planning.

So, please do not voluntarily disinherit your child with the most needs. Leave it to your disabled child in the proper way!

If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 305-456-7158.  We will be happy to set a time to talk about your specific needs and the solutions to those needs. There is no obligation.

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA

Family and Wealth Planning

Have you Done Your Spring Cleaning Yet?

The rain season is here, officially since Sunday! Miami has been showered (well needed). April is almost over. That means that a quarter of the year is almost up. Have you cleaned up that closet? Did you organize the pantry and remove all expired items? Have you had an estate plan checkup this year?

You may or may not have an estate plan at this moment, but it is seriously a good time for an Estate Plan Checkup!

Don’t Have an Estate Plan? 

If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your Spring Clean-Up. What are you cleaning up with a plan in place? You are cleaning up worries and bringing some peace of mind to your life.

Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in probate court after you die.

Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to put in writing who and what will receive your inheritance, then the state where you live at the time of your death will essentially decide it for you.  It is often very likely that the plan of that state will be different to what you had in mind.

A common misconception is that estate planning is only necessary for wealthy people or for when you die. But this simply isn’t true – anyone with a bank or a retirement account, a home, or a family needs to have a plan, so their family and their assets are managed and protected in the event of an incapacity and are properly transferred to who you want if you die.

Keep in mind that the complexity of a plan will vary depending on your circumstances, but even if you think you need a “simple” plan, at the least, inform yourself with an attorney experienced with the legal formalities of estate planning. It may sound simple, but there is a reason other attorneys hire an estate planning attorney to do their plans.

How Old is Your Estate Plan?

You already have a plan in place?

Great. Go ahead and pull your documents out of the drawer, dust them off, and look at the date you signed them.

Were your documents signed in the 80s or 90s, or, worse yet, before 1980?  Then please run, don’t walk, to an estate planning attorney, because your documents are terribly out of date and need to be brought into the new millennium as soon as possible.

Did you sign your documents in the 2000s? Well, they can be almost 20 years old and many things have changed in the law through these years. Aside from the federal estate tax exemption jumping from $675,000 to $11 million this year, state estate taxes have disappeared in many states. There have been changes to gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and “portability” of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples was introduced, and more.

Even if you did your plan in the last two years, it is safer to do a Clean-up. So, dust that package off and take it to an attorney to review.  You should not let your documents sit there for longer than three years without a review. Especially so if you have a new account, a new home, sold or bought a property, have a new child or grandchild or even a new dog, moved to a new state, got married or divorced, sell a business or bought one, retire or won the lottery!? Any major change in your life shall be a reason to review your estate plan.

It does not mean you will re-do the plan every three years. Many times and I speak from experience, clients coming to my office for a review do not need any changes.  However, some do. You should err on the side of caution and make sure your plan always works – that’s the main goal after all!  If you are our prior client, we review your documents every three years at no additional charge!  If you are not our prior client, give us a call and find out if you qualify for a free review.

Estate Planning is Not a One Shot Deal

Estate planning is not a time even that you do and then forget about it.  On the contrary, estate planning is a continuous process, because life is always changing, and so should your estate plan change with the rhythm of your life.


Yahima Suarez, J.D.
Yahima Suarez, PA