Estate Planning ranks pretty high on the list of important life responsibilities. Often, it is not the most popular of chores causing many people to think about their mortality, but it is most certainly necessary to achieve peace of mind that your affairs are in order when you are no longer here.
So, what do you need to consider when planning your Florida estate? Do you need to include certain critical factors in your estate plan? Well, the answers vary. Everyone’s life is unique, making for a unique plan, but we can advise on some variables to consider when you are planning your estate. The Naples and Marco Island estate planning attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. are here to help.
1. Your Asset Inventory
One of the first items on your estate planning checklist should be to compile an inventory of your valuables. Start with the physical items, such as:
- Artwork and Collectibles
- Family heirlooms
- Precious Metals
- Vehicles and Tools
- Golf Carts
The list can vary based on your possessions, but the goal remains the same. Get your list of tangible things together and then start on the intangibles:
- 401(k) plans
- Certificates of Deposit
- Life insurance policies
- Bank accounts
- Digital Assets
Knowing what you have and what it is worth will help make the Florida estate planning process more organized and easier to handle.
2. Your Last Will & Testament
Making a Will is an integral part of the estate planning process as it provides for the division of your property and, if applicable, the care of any minor children. If you are a Florida resident and pass away without a Will, Florida law provides a Will for you that may not align with your wishes. Make sure you create a Will that matches your desires for your assets.
Not to be confused with a Will, a Living Will should also be part of your estate plan. This document gives instructions dealing with the medical care you wish to have or not have in the event you are unable to communicate what you want on your own.
3. Your Trust
Making a Trust allows the trustee you designate to make distributions according to the terms of the Trust without having to get probate court approval as with a Will. In addition, a Trust provides individuals with privacy in that a Trust is not filed in Probate court like a Will.
4. Your Power of Attorney
Making a durable power of attorney is also an essential part of the estate planning process, as it allows the agent you designate to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so for any reason.
5. Your Health Care Surrogate
Making a designation of health care surrogate should also be included in your estate plan. This document allows the surrogate you designate to make health care decisions for you should you become unable to do so for any reason.
You should review and update your estate plan documents every two years to ensure accuracy and ensure they reflect any changes that may have occurred during this time. It is also important to review and update all documents and accounts after a major life event, such as marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse or child.
Talk to Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys
You may think you have got it all handled, but you can only be one hundred percent certain if you have a professional to assist you in the process. Your Florida estate planning attorney will work with you to ensure that everything you have worked so hard for your entire life is taken care of, and that your plans are carried out as you wish. The estate planning attorneys at Woodard, Pires & Lombardo can help with the following:
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