Estate Planning Law
When is the Right Time to Make an Estate Plan?
It is never too early to make arrangements for your future. We sometimes think that we do not need to create an estate plan because we are too young or have no assets. It is crucial that you create your estate plan as soon as you can because we never know what tomorrow will bring and our goal is to make sure our family or loved ones do not have to worry about the future. Creating an estate plan is a practical way to ensure that your wishes are honored. Without an estate plan, your healthcare and financial decisions during life might not be followed and your assets post death will be distributed according to Florida’s intestacy laws. When planning your estate, there are some key documents that will ensure your wishes for your estate to be honored.
Last Will and Testament
Creating a will puts you in charge of how your assets will be distributed after your death and to whom they will belong. In a will, you can ensure your assets are distributed to your loved ones by including them as beneficiaries to your assets. A will may be used to transfer assets such as real estate property, personal property, bank accounts, and investment accounts to a person of your choosing. A Last Will and Testament also allows you to give instructions on who will take care of your minor children. You can also establish a Trust through a Last Will and Testament and you can also make gifts to a charity of your choosing. Without a Last Will and Testament, the government will determine how and when your assets are distributed.
A trust is a mechanism to transfer an estate, in which you give another party the legal authority to handle your assets for the beneficiaries of the trust.
There are multiple benefits to having a trust. A trust ensures confidentiality as it will not need to go through the court system. A trust allows you to continue controlling your assets post death especially when you have minor children and most importantly, it saves your family time and money as it will not go through the probate court.
Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to designate an agent to manage your financial affairs during life. For example, an elderly person can delegate an agent/attorney in fact under a durable power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated instead of going through the guardianship process.
Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
A designation of healthcare surrogate document authorizes a person of your choosing to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the case that you are unable to make those decisions on your own behalf. This is especially important if you go into the hospital for any procedures and cannot communicate your wishes.
An estate plan should also include a living will, which speaks towards your wishes for your end of life care. This document allows you to provide advance directives on your health care wishes in case of permanent unconsciousness, end stage condition, or terminal illness.
Developing a Plan
The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm is dedicated to helping you develop an estate plan that best suits your needs. We offer a variety of estate planning services, including Wills, Trusts, Living Wills and Healthcare Forms.
The process can also understandably be overwhelming, emotional, and complicated in many situations. However, working with an experienced Estate Planning attorney can make the process much easier for everyone involved. The attorneys at The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm understand your situation, and we will use our extensive experience ensure your future is planned according to your wishes. We pride ourselves on understanding our client’s needs and goals, and then use our knowledge, skill, and resources to work towards a desirable outcome. Contact us today to discuss your situation, get your questions answered, and find out how we can help take care of what matters most…you and your family.