Florida: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for STATE. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

If you or a loved one lives in the Sunshine State, there are a lot of important medical forms, legal documents, and state laws governing how you disburse your assets in a will or trust. It’s a lot to keep track of.

To help you out, we’ve compiled this list of the most essential documents you need to prepare your estate for any medical, legal, and end-of-life decisions if you live in Florida. Start preparing you and your loved ones for the future with Pillar and keep every important document safe, organized, and ready to share when you need it. 

Essential Florida Medical State Laws & Forms

How Long Do Doctors in Florida Have to Keep Your Medical Records?

Physicians in Florida have to maintain medical records for at least five years (64B8-10.002). However, because malpractice lawsuits can be brought for up to seven years after the date of an incident (eight years for some minors), physicians in the Sunshine State often keep medical records for the full seven years.

How to Request Your Medical Records in Florida

Florida law protects patient privacy, especially regarding what doctors and hospitals can share about you.

In order to obtain your medical records, you should send a written request via certified mail to the last known address of the physician (you can find a physician’s last known address on their Practitioner Profile).

Healthcare providers are required to respond to requests for medical records within a “reasonable time,” which usually means within 30 days. If no response is received within a reasonable amount of time, you can file a complaint through the Consumer Services Unit.

The cost of getting your medical records in Florida cannot exceed:

  • $2 per page: Non-paper records
  • $1 per page: Paper records 
  • Healthcare providers can charge an additional $1for each year of records requested
Learn more about your rights when it comes to your medical records

Florida Advance Directive Forms & Laws

It’s no secret that a lot of retirees live in Florida. So it’s also no surprise that there are a number of state laws on the books about advance directives, healthcare proxies, and remaining  on life support. Florida residents can plan and handle their medical wishes.

An advance directive is a series of legal documents that outline your preferences for medical care if you become incapacitated. In Florida, these documents typically include:

Learn more about living wills and why you might need one

Florida Organ Donor Registry

You can register to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor in Florida at Donate Life Florida. The online registry allows residents to designate themselves as organ, tissue, and eye donors.

Florida Legal & Estate Planning Documents

How to Create a Will in Florida

Florida Probate Code Chapter 732 addresses matters related to this particular document and lays out specific requirements for its format, contents, and proofing in order to be valid in Florida.

Also, for will to be valid in Florida it must be:

  • Every will must be in writing
  • Signed by the testator
  • Signed by at least (2) witnesses

How to Create a Trust in Florida

Trusts are specific estate planning documents that can supplement a will or even replace in certain circumstances with larger estates or strict probate laws. To create a trust in Florida, you need:

  • A settlor with the legal capacity to create a trust
  • A definite trust beneficiary including: a charitable trust, a trust for the care of an animal, or a trust for a non-charitable purpose
  • A trustee has duties to perform
  • The same person is not the sole trustee and sole beneficiary

There are also various types of beliefs that are available in the Sunshine State. This includes trusts where the beneficiary is a family member, a friend, a charity, or even a household pet. Take a quick look at the Florida Trust Code for more information.

Florida Probate and Tax laws

Beneficiaries in Florida do not pay income tax on any assets received from an estate because the inherited property does not count as income for Federal income tax purposes (and Florida does not have a separate income tax).

Learn more about Florida’s state tax laws.

Florida Estate & Inheritance Tax Laws and Rates

Florida has no state inheritance tax or estate tax (commonly called a “death tax”). However, Florida residents who inherit property from states that levy inheritance tax (Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) may need to pay inheritance tax to those states.

You can read the article we wrote on the rules of probate in Florida for more information.

How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida

Under Florida law, anyone over 18 years old may apply for a death certificate. If you are eligible to receive a Florida Death certificate, you can also name someone else to receive the death certificate for you.

When the cause of death is also requested and the death occurred less than 50 years ago, you also have to provide valid photo identification or a copy of the valid photo identification, front & back (if it is a mail request).

Relationship to the decedent must be entered in the space provided at the bottom of the Death Record Application Form, when you want to know the cause of death. In the event that an applicant is an attorney, additional information must be provided under the eligibility section in the form to ensure the right completion of this application.

Florida Digital Estate Planning Laws

In Florida, your digital assets, which may include websites, blogs or vlogs, email accounts and other electronic communications, social media accounts, digital currencies such as Bitcoin, digital photos, and documents stored in the cloud and so on, can be legally passed on to a family member, personal representative or a trustee.

The goal of digital estate planning in Florida (and other states) is to make it easier for the above-referenced fiduciaries to access these accounts. 

How to Organize Your Most Important Documents

Life can be complicated, no matter where you live. Create your customized account with Pillar and safely scan, store, and even share all of your most important medical, financial, and legal documents from one secure online cloud storage solution so you have everything you need for all of life's biggest moments.

Start your free 14-day trial and let Pillar help make the complicated stuff a little easier to manage.