Uniform Transfers to Minors Act
Florida’s Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (“UTMA”), found under Florida Statutes Chapter 710, provides a mechanism for the creation of custodial accounts for gifts, bequests or other transfers to minors, without requiring the presence of an appointed guardian for the minor. Previously, under Florida’s UTMA, minors were defined as persons under the age of 21.
The new UTMA statute, effective July 1, 2015, permits custodianships to last until the age of 25. A custodianship under Florida law can be created if the transferor, the custodian or the minor resides in Florida or if the custodial property is situated in Florida.
Health Care Surrogates
A designation of a Health Care Surrogate is a written document appointing someone to make health care decisions for an individual (the “Principal”) or receive health information on such person’s behalf in the event he or she is unable to do so. Florida’s new health care surrogacy act, found under Florida Statutes Section 765.201 through Section 765.205, allows for more flexibility in appointments of surrogates and more flexibility in drafting of such documents.
The new act, effective October 1, 2015, allows the continuation of presently-exercisable designations of health care surrogates, also known as “durable” health care surrogates. A durable health care surrogate is one who can make health care decisions even if the Principal is not determined to be incapacitated. However, if the Principal has capacity, the statute indicates that the Principal’s decisions are controlling. Nonetheless, a Principal still may create an old-fashioned health care surrogate document that only takes effective upon a finding of incapacity.
The new act also allows parents and guardians to name health care surrogates for their minor children. This is extremely effective for parents who travel often or are unable to provide informed consent themselves. These changes do not invalidate existing Florida designations of health care surrogate documents.
POLST, or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is an approach to end-of-life care that encourages discussions between patients and their health care providers. The goal of POLST is to enable patients to choose the treatment they want or do not want, and to ensure that those preferences are honored. (more…)