Experienced attorneys Assisting Jacksonville Families with Estate Plans

Estate Planning WorksheetEstate plans are meant to work for you and your loved ones, but only if drafted properly.

By educating yourself on the estate plan process and purpose, you are better prepared to create an estate plan that truly works for you and your loved ones. Naturally, you must consult an attorney to complete your estate plan. An attorney knows the estate laws for your area and can help address the unique issues your estate might hold.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a form of asset distribution, but a legal and official form. Your wealth, assets, pension, and other items are passed down to relatives or the charity of your choice through the instructions left in your estate plan.

If you want to give your money and property to a specific person or entity, you designate that person or entity in the estate plan. Also, estate plans branch out and address areas such as your healthcare and financial decisions. Therefore, if you become incapacitated from illness or injury, you have a plan in place for how your health decisions and financial situation will be handled.

Sadly, a clear majority of Americans do not have a will. Most are single and never married, but there are a surprising number of married individuals with children that do not have an estate plan in place either.

Simple Steps to Make Your Estate Plan Work Better for You

To protect loved ones, you need an estate plan that ensures they are protected and your assets properly distributed. You can do this by:

  • Making a will. The first step in an estate plan is creating a will. A will is a legal document that states which members of your family receive your assets, and which person serves as a guardian for minors.
  • Create a health care directive. To ensure your best interests are met while you are ill or incapacitated, you need a healthcare directive. A directive ensures that your decisions are honored, such as not being on life support or receiving a blood transfusion. It designates one party to make these decisions on your behalf.
  • Create a financial power of attorney. The health care directive is not the same as your financial power of attorney. The financial power of attorney allows one person to handle your finances and assets if you cannot do so yourself. This person is your agent and does not have to be an attorney. In fact, many appoint a financial professional, while some use their estate attorney or loved ones.
  • Leave inheritances for children properly. Children cannot legally inherit until they reach the age of majority. Therefore, you must properly leave behind assets for children in a trust and name a guardian for that trust as well as your minor children.
  • Do not ignore beneficiary designations.  Most likely you have a beneficiary designation in place for your life insurance or retirement accounts. These should correlate with those you have in your estate plan.
  • Consider estate taxes. Most importantly, you want an estate plan that considers the tax portion of your estate. Most people will create their estate plan only to forget about estate taxes and other income taxes. After your death, your loved ones must file an estate tax return, but also a final return with your income. If you do not properly plan, your loved ones may have to shoulder the financial burden of your tax bill.

Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney

If you want an estate plan that protects yourself and your loved ones, speak with an attorney from Beller & Bustamante, P.L.

Our attorneys are here to help you create an estate plan that works for you. Schedule your consultation with our team today at 904-288-4414 or request more information online.