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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.
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.
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:
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:
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 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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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