For one reason or another, many people put off creating an estate plan until it is long overdue. While many people think that estate planning is only for the wealthy and the elderly, the fact of the matter is: Everyone should have an estate plan.
Creating an estate plan allows you to protect your loved ones and ensure that your assets end up in the right hands. It is an important process, and one that is not all that complicated if you have an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you through it. To get you started, here are the basics of what you need to know about creating an estate plan in Florida.
When should I create an estate plan?
It is never too early to create an estate plan. Most people do not realize the scope of their estate and the amount of property they have that would need to be distributed if something were to happen to them.
If you already have an estate plan, it is important to keep it updated when you experience major life events. Marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, loss of a close family member, and retirement are all events that merit a fresh look at your estate plan. If you inherit money, your income changes substantially, or you purchase a home, these should be addressed in your estate plan as well.
What documents do I need to have?
Your estate plan will be unique to you, and your attorney will help you decide which documents and instruments make the most sense for your personal situation. However, in general, these are the documents that can be used to develop a comprehensive estate plan in Florida:
- Powers of Attorney
- Living Wills
- Medical Directives
You can read more about each of these options here. In the end, the goal is to proactively address all of the pertinent issues relating to distribution of your assets, tax planning, and end-of-life medical care so that your family can avoid confusion and unnecessary expenses down the road.
What if something happens and I don’t have an estate plan in place?
If you die without an estate plan, under Florida law, your estate gets distributed through the process known as “probate.” In probate, your assets are distributed according to a rigid statutory framework, which often results in disputes among family members. These disputes can be very expensive, and often result in irreparable damage to family relationships. Since estate planning avoids these issues while also allowing you to have the final say about your estate, it is usually greatly preferred to relying on the probate process.
Beller & Bustamante, P.L. – Jacksonville Estate Planning Law Firm
The experienced attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can help you understand your estate planning options and craft a comprehensive plan that answers all of the tough questions your family will face once you are gone. To learn more, Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can help you understand your estate planning options and craft a comprehensive plan that answers all of the tough questions your family will face once you are gone. To learn more, schedule a consultation today.