Estate Planning is the legal process of planning for the passing of personal and business assets to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your passing. Estate Planning allows you to provide instructions for how your assets are to pass and to whom they will be passed along to. An estate consists of all the property a person owns, including real estate, cars, cash, and all other assets. If you have any assets, you have an estate and you need planning.
Estate Planning also includes Incapacity Planning, which focuses on how you want your medical and financial affairs to be handled in the event you are unable to handle them on your own during your lifetime. If you fail to properly plan, you will have no say in how your estate is handled and if your loved ones will receive your assets. Planning today ensures your tomorrow is exactly as you visualize it.
The simple answer is everyone. You don’t have to be wealthy, old, married, or a parent to need one. No matter how large or small your estate, having a predetermined plan in place in the event of your death is essential in safeguarding the future of your family. Unless you want the state of Florida to determine who gets your money, you need an estate plan that says who receives your property when you’re gone. Even if you are not concerned about your assets after your passing, everyone needs simple incapacity documents to determine who will make your medical and financial decisions if you are not able to.
You require estate planning if one or more of the following apply to you:
Durable Power of Attorney – A legal document that gives authority to those named to make financials decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
HIPPA Release – This document allows others to access your medical care information.
Living Will – is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions.
Designation of Preneed Guardian – this document is composed to designate a person to serve as an individual’s guardian in the event the individual becomes incapacitated.
Health Care Surrogate – A Health Care Surrogate is a Power of Attorney that is specifically granted to make medical decisions. This means that if you are deemed unable to make medical care decisions, but a decision must be made, the designated individual can make the decisions on your behalf.
Last Will and Testament – A will is a legal document that determines the distribution your assets upon your death. Without a Will, Florida law will determine who your assets go to. To ensure your assets are passed to your loved ones is to provide a clear and concise property distribution plan in your will. However, assets passing under the terms of a last will and testament requires probate to legally transfer to living beneficiaries, which also means Wills become a matter of public record.
Trusts – The two most common types of Trusts are Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts. A Living Trust, also known as a Revocable Trust is a document that is created to manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute them upon your death. Revocable Trusts are often used to keep assets out of probate administration. The maker of the trust is either called a “settlor” or a “grantor.” The person who manages its assets and makes investment decisions is called the “trustee.” The person who receives the assets is called the “beneficiary”.
There are many Estate Planning options out there and deciding on the right path to take can often feel overwhelming. Asset and Estate Law is here to ensure you find a plan that meets your specific needs no matter what stage of life.
What is the difference between a Will and a Trust? The main difference is that a Will does not avoid probate, whereas a Living Trust enables you to avoid Probate for your estate after you pass on. A Living Trust may also allow your loved ones to manage and disburse your assets for your benefit when you are unable. A living trust can also allow you to provide protection for your beneficiaries upon your passing and allows you to address the special needs of family members who may have physical or mental disabilities or other personal issues which interfere with their ability to manage their own financial affairs. A Living Trust may also allow you to reduce or eliminate Federal Estate Taxes.
Failure to have an adequate plan in place can leave your family struggling during a very challenging time for them. Ensure your wishes are carried out in a stress free, empathetic, and efficient manor.
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