What Exactly Is Estate Planning In Florida?
Your estate is comprised of everything you own: your house, your car, your checking account, your savings account, your life insurance policy, and your personal possessions. Every person has one. It can be a large estate or a small estate, but it is an estate. Estate planning shouldn’t just be looking at what assets you have and what you want to do with them. It is also figuring out what you want to happen in the event that you become incapacitated or how you want your last rites performed after death. But most importantly, it is about planning the legacy that you want to leave behind.
Why Do People Need an Estate Plan? What Happens If I Die Without an Estate Plan or a Will?
Every person in the state of Florida has an estate plan. If you do not create one, the state of Florida will create one for you. It’s called intestacy. If you pass away under intestacy, the laws of the state of Florida determine how your assets are going to be distributed through the probate process. If you are incapacitated, the laws in the state of Florida are going to determine how that incapacity is treated. There is going to be a guardianship appointment and an incapacity hearing. You don’t have any say on how those things are done. If you are okay with the state of Florida deciding how everything is going to be done for you, your estate plan is perfectly fine.
If you are not okay with the state of Florida making all the decisions for you, then that’s where estate planning comes in. It’s the process of figuring out what your goals are and how we can accomplish them.
Part of the process of figuring out what you need to plan for is thinking about things like how you are going to compensate for your debt, or how your young children are going to be taken care of. Any time you sit down with an estate planning attorney, they need to look at it holistically and figure out exactly what they need to do for you.
They should look at whether or not you are properly insured, which documents you have, who you want to take care of, and how you want to take care of those people. All of those goals need to be looked at and accomplished.
Do Families of Limited Financial Means need an Estate Plan? Is it Worth the Expense?
Every person needs an estate plan because part of your estate plan is determining how your beneficiaries are going to be taken care of. That often means estate planning is most critical for those of limited means. Going through the intestate process can be especially hard on those families of limited means.
That is why planning is so important. It saves a lot in the long run in both money and grief for your loved ones.
How Often Should We Give Our Estate Plan A Checkup? What Does A Checkup Look Like?
A lot of attorneys like to tell you that you should check up on your estate plan every five or ten years. Our mentality is that you need to have your estate plan looked at every time a major life event occurs or you change your mind about how you want something done.
Doing a checkup on your estate plan, should look very similar to when you made your estate plan the first time. The first thing I always want to do with a checkup client is have the same goal planning session that I have when I am creating a brand new estate plan. It’s a process where we sit down, get to know you, figure out what your goals are, figure out what your assets are, and figure out which documents you need.
From there, once we know what our goals are, we then turn to the original estate plan and ask, does this document do that? If that document does, there is not a need to change, but if it doesn’t it may be time for an update.
You need to figure out what the task you want to accomplish is, what the eventuality you want to plan for is, and how you want to plan for it. We want to run through potential scenarios that could come up and make sure that the plan can cover those situations, if and when they do happen.
If you have an estate planning attorney when you plan your estate the first time, he or she should include these checkups on an ongoing basis. Most clients are afraid to call their attorney because every time they do, they think a bill is going to come. At our firm, we try to do things a different way.
We don’t have an “Initial Consultation” for our estate planning clients. Instead we have a goal planning session. That Goal Planning Session is FREE, whether you are a new client or an ongoing client. We go through all of the goals you have, break them down, and quote you a fixed price to prepare your documents. Most of the time, in my estate planning checkups, nearly everything stays the same. It’s not expensive, but it gives people peace of mind. When picking out an estate planning attorney, find someone you are comfortable talking to, and someone who is not going to bill you for every second of their time, otherwise you won’t be willing to call them when you should.
For more information on Estate Planning In the State Of Florida, a FREE Goal Planning Session is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 546-7755 today.
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