Most people do not think about estate planning until they are in their 40s or 50s unless they have many assets. However, accidents and illnesses can happen at any age. And, you do not need millions in assets to create an estate. In fact, even if you rent your home and vehicle, you should still have an estate plan, as you have personal effects and bank accounts. Without an estate plan, your estate goes through probate and is given to various relatives named by law. The laws do not necessarily agree with you on who gets your estate. For example, if you are engaged, the law ignores your fiancé and gives your estate to your parents and siblings.
France Law can help you create an estate plan based on your financial position.
What is Estate Planning?
Creating a set of documents that directs your loved ones to take certain actions should you become incapacitated or die is estate planning. It is more than a Will. You can name whomever you want as beneficiaries and powers of attorney. However, before naming someone as a power of attorney, make sure you discuss it with that person to ensure that he or she will follow your wishes. Estate probate attorneys will review your financial position and help you create an estate plan that best benefits you and your loved ones.
Documents in an Estate Plan
An estate plan can have several documents. You can have one or several of these documents to dictate what you want your loved ones to do should you become incapacitated or die. The most common documents are:
The Will is the most common estate planning document. You can use it to give your assets to loved ones or create a pour-over will that puts all of your assets into a trust upon your death. There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of Will. You can also direct your loved ones to take certain actions upon your death by putting those actions in the Will.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney gives a loved one the power to make medical decisions should you become incapacitated and cannot do so yourself. You can ask more than one person to make decisions, or you can ask one person to make one type of decision and another to make a different decision. For example, you might want your spouse to make decisions regarding life support, but your parents to make decisions regarding whether to resuscitate you in the event of a sudden illness, such as a heart attack.
Financial Power of Attorney
The financial power of attorney gives one or more loved ones the power to handle your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. The power of attorney can pay bills, manage bank accounts, buy and sell real estate, manage retirement portfolios, and more.
A Living Will dictates what happens when certain medical emergencies happen. It might tell medical professionals not to resuscitate you if you suffer a traumatic brain injury but to resuscitate you if you have a heart attack.
Trusts are the most complicated estate documents. Florida allows several different types of trusts, including revocable and irrevocable trusts. Your estate planning attorney will help you choose the best trust for your situation. Benefits of a trust include:
- Reduces taxes.
- Gives you more control over your assets.
- Manage money and assets after your death. For example, if you want to give your children a specific amount of money each year until they reach a certain age, you can structure a trust to do that.
- Assets in a trust usually avoid probate.
- Keep the part of your estate in the trust private. While it is mandatory to file a Will with the Probate Court, you do not file a trust with the Probate Court. Anything filed with the Probate Court becomes public record.
Contact France Law
If you do not have an estate plan or need to update your estate plan, contact France Law today for a consultation.