Surveys show that about 70% of Americans have done no estate planning whatsoever…not even a simple will. We all know that New Year’s Eve is a time to create some goals or resolutions, if you will, for the new year. If you’re in that 70% category and are a Florida resident, I encourage you to reflect on what would constitute a thoughtful Florida estate plan for yourself, your family, and your peace of mind. If you reside in another state, these same ideas apply to you even as state laws can vary.
As an estate planning lawyer with many years of experience, I have personally observed the chaos that is created by poor planning and how this impacts families. You need to understand that when a family member dies or becomes disabled, a grieving process ensues and everyone scrambles to figure out what to do. I have found that if there is no plan, the grieving process can lead to needless family conflicts and unnecessary strife. Whereas a thoughtful estate plan fosters harmony and comfort during these difficult times.
What is a “thoughtful” Florida estate plan?
I’ve written about this on many occasions, but I’ll summarize a few thoughts here to hopefully inspire your resolution making…
A thoughtful estate plan is a “well thought out” estate plan that establishes who will receive your assets after death and when and how the transfer of those assets will happen. The timing and nature of those distributions may be influenced by a number of issues that may include:
Ages of beneficiaries.
Fiscal maturity of beneficiaries.
Stability or instability of beneficiaries.
Disabilities of beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries needs for protection from creditors.
Additionally, a thoughtful estate plan provides for yourself and your loved ones in the event you become mentally incapacitated. It answers questions such as:
- Who will make the determination of whether you are “mentally incapacitated”?
- Who will make financial and legal decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself?
- Who will make your healthcare decisions if you cannot make them yourself?
- Who will have access to your protected medical records, so they can make sound medical decisions for you?
Simply put, a “well thought out” estate plan is a comprehensive plan for your family’s future. For this reason, we are committed to educating you about your estate planning options. Part of our service is to teach you about the law and, in turn, your commitment to us is to teach us about your assets, goals and priorities.
Together, we implement an estate plan that protects and provides for you and your family.
Estate planning must be flexible enough to accommodate life’s changes, whether they are personal, such as changes in relationships, or are externally prompted by changes in the law.
Finally, thoughtful estate plan should save your estate money in attorney’s fees (minimizing probate) and taxes (planning for estate tax and income tax considerations for beneficiaries).
Most of the above goals are accomplished through the many ways to design Florida revocable trust estate planning.
Now, you have a clear path when considering a thoughtful estate plan and how to proceed. As in many areas of life, this is all about taking the right steps and finding the peace of mind in knowing that you’ve done the right thing for yourself and your family.
I encourage you to do so.
With that in mind, Happy New Year to You and Your Loved Ones!