Estate Planning Checklist
Estate Planning can seem to be an overwhelming process since there are so many factors to consider. You may be asking yourself many questions.
- Where do I begin?
- What kinds of documents do I need?
- Do I even need estate planning?
There is a misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy or for older individuals. Estate planning is for anyone that would like to preserve their assets and protect their legacy.
If you are considering establishing estate planning for yourself and/or your family, start with the essentials. You will need to think about who you want to manage your estate and your affairs when you are not able to. This can be whether you become incapacitated, sick or pass away. You’ll want to choose someone that can manage your finances, your health and make decisions on your behalf. This can be your spouse, parent, relative or a close friend.
Once you’ve decided who this person is, be sure to let them know. Have a second person in mind, in case the first person is not able or willing to take on the role. Once you have decided and have had an open conversation with them, then you can decide what documents are best suited for you.
We have created an estate planning checklist to get you started. These are some of the most important documents needed when establishing your plan. Your finances and health are top priority. The Durable Power of Attorney gives your agent the power to make financial decisions and the Health Care Surrogate allows the person to make your health decisions.
These are a great start since they cover the basics and are still practical, even if you don’t have a Will or a Trust. A will is a legal instrument which communicates your final wishes regarding your “probatable” estate. If your estate goes to Probate, your heirs will have to hire an attorney and a judge will oversee the distribution of your assets. A trust may serve several purposes including: helping to avoid probate, limiting tax liability, allowing you to qualify for government benefits.
Several other options include designating someone that will care for your children in the event of your passing. You can create a Designation of Preneed Guardianship or set up a Special Needs Trust. If you have any pets that you would like cared for as well, you can include them in your Will and estate plan.
It is always good practice to review all of your legal and sensitive documents periodically. We recommend reviewing them on a yearly basis or when any major life changes occur – changes in job/career, growth in family, marriage, divorce, death, retirement, etc.
An estate planning attorney will guide you in making the best decisions about which documents are best suited for you. Each person’s estate is different and will require individual attention. What works for one individual may not be the same for the next. That is why we recommend speaking with a Florida estate planning attorney. Be open with what would like your plan to look like and what to include in it. The attorney will have your best interest in mind.
Download our Estate Planning Checklist and call us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. They can help guide you through the process of creating your estate plan.
Visit our website for more information: www.elderlawfl.com
Call us at 561-588-7512 or 888-552-7512
Read our blog on the Difference between Elder Law and Estate Planning