With the new year beginning, are you, like many Floridians, focusing on how to reach the New Year’s resolutions that you have made? Do your resolutions focus on work or health or family or all three?
We want to share with you that one of the most important New Year’s resolutions you can make this year is to create your Florida estate plan. Having an estate plan can protect you both during life and at the time of your death. By working with an estate planning attorney during your life, you can create an estate plan that ensures your choices for your health care and finances are honored by your chosen decision maker. Your attorney will also show you how you can ensure that your family will be provided for when you are no longer here with them.
Do you already have an estate plan? This is great news, but when was the last time it was updated to reflect your wishes for yourself and your loved ones. Many changes can happen within your family, your business, and your finances in a year. Therefore, it is important to make sure your estate plan remains effective in not only encapsulating the desired future for you and your loved ones, but it also has the best tools in place to accomplish those goals.
Are you ready to get started? Let us share six questions to ask yourself and your Florida estate planning attorney as you work on your Florida estate plan in the new year.
1. If my immediate family members have changed should I update my estate plan? Absolutely! When there is a birth, death, divorce, or other life update, you should make it a priority to work with your attorney to determine if your estate plan needs any updates or significant changes.
2. Will changes in the laws impact my estate? They may. This is an important question to ask your attorney. She stays up to date with all the latest information that could impact your legal planning and can make recommendations in regard to any impact on your current estate plan.
3. If I do not have a Florida estate plan, am I really unprotected? Yes. In the event of a crisis or death, there will be no guidance for your family, your bank, your friends, or the court system. By not taking the time to create an estate plan the court in Florida may be required, in order for there to be legal authority, for another person to act on your behalf. This can be time consuming, costly, and public, and can be avoided by completing your estate planning while you have the capacity to do so.
4. So, now that I have a Florida estate plan, what does it really do? Your Florida estate plan will employ a variety of legal planning tools to address how your assets will be managed and distributed in the event of your death or incapacity, among other things.
5. How soon should I get started with creating a plan or updating it? Now or as soon as you possibly can. To maximize the potential benefits a Florida estate plan has to offer, it is important to put the plan in place sooner rather than later.
6. What will my Florida estate planning attorney discuss with me? She will discuss with you the importance of lifetime planning using tools such as the durable power of attorney for your finances. She will help you choose your decision maker, as well as back up decision maker, for times of crisis. She will also discuss with you the difference between will based estate planning and trust based estate planning.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you achieve the New Year’s Resolution of having a Florida estate plan that can meet your needs. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.