Why an Estate Plan is Essential if You Have Parkinson’s Disease



Did you know according to a recent survey, fewer people are creating estate plans now than in the past? Furthermore, Older Americans are now less inclined to create estate plans than in the past. Specifically, the survey found 60 percent of participants aged 55 and older had estate planning documents in 2019. In contrast, less than half of the participants in this year’s survey said the same. 

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, however, you are likely aware that your quality of life and healthcare needs will change as your condition progresses. This National Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month we want you to know that we support you now with your new diagnosis, as well as, what is going on right now with Covid-19 sweeping across the nation. Being prepared for situations like this is just one of the reasons why it is important to have a comprehensive estate plan that addresses your immediate and future needs. 

What you may not realize is that estate planning can be specific to healthcare. While most people think of wills and trusts as the only key estate planning tools, this is not true.  There are two mechanisms specifically related to healthcare. One is the Florida health care advance directive and the other is the Florida living will.  

The former planning tool allows you to name someone you trust to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so. Before designating someone for this role, you want to have an honest conversation. Share your wishes about the extent of the medical intervention you would want in different circumstances. Then, make sure this person would be comfortable making sure those wishes are honored. As a precautionary measure, consider naming someone else as a backup.

 A living will is a legal document in which you specify your wishes regarding withholding or removing life sustaining medical treatment. As such, it includes instructions for your doctor and, in Florida, addresses health care in three specific circumstances: 

1. When you have a terminal illness, 

2. When you are in a persistent vegetative state, or 

3. An end stage condition.

As estate planning attorneys, we are available to help you or a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease create or review a Florida estate plan that reflects your wishes. We know the challenges you face and want to support you as you plan forward to both protect yourself and reach your goals. When you feel ready, take the first step by calling our law firm to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.