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Everyone thinks about the future – we all have dreams of going on vacation to certain places, achieving our career goals, growing our families. We think about our holiday plans for the year. We think about our plans for upcoming social events. (Those of us who have life figured out think ahead about meal planning for the week so they don’t have to ask the dreaded question “What’s for dinner?” every single day.) Planning ahead is a routine part of life, but most of us forget some of the most important things we need to plan ahead for – our legal and financial affairs, or what will happen to our possessions when we pass away. 

Death is, of course, much harder to think about than our bucket list destinations, but it’s arguably much more important, partly because it’s unpredictable. None of us know how much time we have left. If you fail to clarify your wishes, and something happens to you, you could leave your family facing extremely difficult circumstances. That’s why you need an estate plan in place as soon as possible! An estate plan is simply a collection of different tools that lay out how your money should be managed during your lifetime and distributed upon your passing. 

Our experienced Boynton Beach estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and that can give you and your loved ones, peace of mind for whatever the future holds. Call today to book a free consultation with Elder Law, P.A. and get started! 

The Importance Of Estate Planning

Estate Planning Prevents Probate.   

Without an estate plan, your assets will likely have to go through probate upon your death before your family members can take possession of them. Probate is a tedious court process that involves a lot of paperwork and legal tasks – your family will have to get assets appraised, work with creditors to settle debts, file tax returns, pay court fees, and more, just to receive what is rightfully theirs. During a time when they should just be able to grieve in peace, this is a hassle; that’s one important reason to have a plan! 

Estate Planning Prevents Family Conflict. 

If no one in your family knows what your wishes are, they may end up disagreeing about the best course of action and fighting – perhaps even in court – over your life and legacy. Remember the Terri Schiavo case, from 2005? A 26 year old woman fell into a vegetative state after suffering cardiac arrest; this led to a very public legal battle between her husband and her parents, as her husband wanted her taken off life support because he believed she would not want to live that way, and her parents wanted to keep her on. Terri didn’t have an estate plan that included a living will (a document that laid out her wishes for health care in the event of incapacitation) so the relationship between her husband and parents was forever damaged. 

That’s the last thing she probably envisioned, and the last thing you want to happen; that’s why it matters that you have legal documents in place that spell out exactly what you want in terms of medical care and money/possessions going to different family members, so your family doesn’t have to wonder! 

Estate Planning Keeps You In Control. 

The state of Florida has “intestate” laws that distribute a deceased person’s assets to their nearest relative if they pass away without a will or trust. Even if someone has a will, but doesn’t have a trust, the court will supervise the probate process. This could mean that your hard-earned money ends up going to a relative you didn’t intend to have it, or doesn’t go to someone you wanted to inherit. Having the right documents drafted by our Boynton Beach estate planning attorney ensures that doesn’t happen!

Estate Planning Saves You Money.

Estate planning isn’t just for your death – it’s also for the end of your life when you may need nursing home care. Nursing homes can be thousands of dollars per month, and the cost isn’t covered by insurance. If you apply for Medicaid, you can get the costs covered, but Medicaid has strict resource requirements. Having an estate plan can shield your assets from “counting” towards Medicaid’s limit so you can qualify and receive the care you need!

What Your Estate Plan Should Include

A comprehensive estate plan typically is made up of the following:

  • A last will and testament (or some other form of a will) – explains “who gets what” when it comes to your possessions upon your death, and if you have minor children, who will care for them.
  • A trust, either revocable or irrevocable – secures assets from creditors, lawsuits, and taxes, and ensures that they can pass to your family without probate.
  • A living will/advance health care directive – explains your wishes for your medical care.
  • A power of attorney – gives someone you trust the authority to make decisions (medical, legal, financial, depending on the type) in your place.
  • And more. 

Let Elder Law, P.A. Personalize Your Plan 

Trying to draft these documents on your own with the guidance of online information can be confusing, and it’s also risky – the information you’re working with may not be accurate or up-to-date, and it’s generic at best. Our lead Boynton Beach estate planning attorney, Ryan J. Smollar, can customize each of your estate planning documents to your exact goals and family/financial situation. He has been helping people in Florida navigate and simplify the process since 2015, and he can help you feel confident in what’s to come so you can focus on enjoying your life! Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call today to book a free consultation and get started. 

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Boynton Beach, FL Practice Areas

Natalie was amazing handling my dads medicaid application process, easy to communicate and we found the process very straight forward with their guidance. We would highly recommend their services to everyone who is in need of elder law, with our family all working full time and busy lives they gave us a peace of mind knowing they were working on getting things done.

Giovana H.

Ryan really cares about his clients, and it shows in the way that he advises them. He is extremely knowledgeable about elder law, and explains the rules in a clear manner. The issues can be difficult on family members to discuss, and he handles the material in a compassionate manner.

Joseph M.

Elder Law, P.A.

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