Many people wish to have a proper plan in place for their eventual death, whether they possess significant assets or not. While you might not want to think about such things, now is the best time to plan so you can control what happens to your assets instead of a Probate Court Judge.

Our respected law firm can help you manage your affairs. Whether you want to make a will, set up a family trust, or appoint someone to make medical and financial decisions when you are unable to, a West Miami estate planning lawyer can provide the resources you need.

The Last Will and Testament

Floridians who die without a will (a situation known as intestate) are leaving a Judge to divide assets according to the law, codified in Florida Statutes § 732.104. This means any mementos and money you wanted to go to certain people may not get to them and an estranged family member may get something not intended for them. Wills should name beneficiaries, what they will receive, and who will oversee the orderly division of your assets. You are free to name family members, friends, or even charities as beneficiaries.

Wills also address personal and business assets if you own company stock or are a limited liability company member. They also provide for the care of minor children if necessary. An experienced estate planning attorney in West Miami can help a person draft their will, and may also assist potential beneficiaries and personal representatives later as appropriate.

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

Revocable trusts are also called living trusts because a person can remove or add assets and change who benefits from the trust during their lifetime. Living trusts keep assets out of probate court and are less expensive to administer. The named trustee can distribute assets immediately instead of waiting for a will to go through probate. When the subject of the trust passes away, the trust becomes irrevocable.

Once an irrevocable trust is created, it owns the deposited assets and cannot be changed. This is done primarily to gain a tax advantage. A West Miami estate planning attorney can help a person decide which assets to target and can work with the appointed trustee when the time comes.

Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney allows a person to assign a proxy to make medical decisions for them if they are severely injured, ill, or become mentally incapacitated. In Florida, a medical power of attorney can be durable, which means it does not take effect until incapacity. A general medical power of attorney takes effect when the person signs it.

The general financial power of attorney allows a trusted friend or loved one to make financial decisions. For example, a person might be on an extended holiday out of the country but needs to close on a piece of real estate. The durable financial power of attorney does not become effective until the person becomes incapacitated. Their attorney-in-fact, who does not have to be an actual attorney, can conduct business in their place.

Get Legal Counsel From a West Miami Estate Planning Attorney Today

From long-term care plans, to asset distribution, to end-of-life wishes, estate planning documents are crucial to have. Your family and other beneficiaries will be in a better position if you make all the necessary arrangements now.

A West Miami estate planning attorney is available to discuss your goals and begin to put your affairs in order. The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm can guide you through the estate planning process, from finalizing your will to setting up a family trust. There is no such thing as too much preparation, especially when it concerns the futures of those you care about. Call us for a free consultation today.