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Why is Estate Planning Important?
Estate planning is a tool to protect your assets to be distributed
according to your wishes after your passing or incapacitation. Not having
devised assets, instructions, and other important decisions in writing can
leave your family in distress, conflict, and in a state of confusion.
To avoid further stress during an already difficult time,
consider having an estate planning package prepared for you
and for the mental peace of your loved ones.
Estate planning can include but not limited to the following:
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament outlines the testator’s (the person named on the will/future deceased) wishes after death. The goal of a Last Will and Testament is to carry out the wishes by assigning individuals, known as Personal Representatives, who is responsible for distributing assets accordingly. In a Last Will and Testament, an attorney may be able assign certain responsibilities individuals of the testator’s choosing, create trusts, protect minors and their assets; provide specific funeral instructions, protect pets, specifically disinherit individuals, and more.
Many people opt to draft their own Last Will and Testaments. This can be problematic because language in a Last Will and Testament can easily become ambiguous or/and unclear. As a result, those that believe that they have a right to the estate can contest the contents of the Last Will and Testament before the court. This, in turn, creates tension, stress, and high attorney fees for families in trying to dispute and decipher the intentions of testator in the Last Will and Testament. The only way to avoid such a scenario is to consult with an attorney that can prepare the Last Will in Testament according to governing Florida state law.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is an essential legal document that allows you to grant authority to an individual, called the “agent,” that you appoint to handle typically financial and/or transactional matters as your representative.
There are several different types of Power of Attorneys. However, the most common are general power of attorneys or limited power of attorneys:
Many have a general power of attorney in
the event they become incapacitated or otherwise
unable to act on their own behalf.
Oftentimes, a limited power of attorney
is used to grant an agent a limited scope of authority
for a specific purpose or limited timeframe.
During estate planning – it is a good idea to have both a Power of Attorney and a Last Will and Testament prepared together.
Advanced Medical Directives and Healthcare Surrogates
When estate planning, it is not just the after passing that one should be concerned about. What about major medical decisions in the event one is not able to make medical decisions?
This is where Advanced Medical Directives and Healthcare Surrogates play a major role. Healthcare Surrogates appoint an individual that one may trust to make medical decisions, discuss care with medical professionals, and access medical records. The Advanced Medical Directive states when to stop or continue medical intervention. These documents make it clear to loved ones as to what your wishes are.
A ladybird deed (also called an enhanced life estate deed) is a form of life estate deed that gives the current owner continued ownership and control of the property until his or her death. The deed names the beneficiaries of the property to be transferred to upon the owner's death. Proceeding the owner's death, the property is then automatically transferred to the new owners listed as the beneficiaries without the need for probate. With the assistance of a skilled lawyer, the ladybird deed is an inexpensive way to transfer property after death.
If you are looking to make sure that your family is protected from the stressful situation of having to figure out how to manage your estate -- you can call us today.