What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of utilizing various tools to manage your assets during your lifetime and to provide for the manner in which your assets are distributed upon your death.
I have found that while some people may not think they have enough assets to bother with estate planning, most know that some level of planning will be needed in order to assure that their wishes are carried out.
What Happens If Someone Passes Away Without An Estate Plan Or A Will In Florida?
In Florida, a person who dies without a valid will is intestate. The Florida intestacy statute dictates how the deceased’s probate assets are distributed to his or her heirs. Generally spouses and children are the first to inherit the deceased’s assets.
How Often Should People Maintain Or Check Up On Their Estate Plan?
It is important to review your existing estate plan regularly. Typically, you should go over all your documents every few years and if you have a number of assets, you may wish to review them more frequently. Certain life events, such as marriage or divorce, birth or adoption, buying or selling a home, opening or closing a business, death of beneficiaries, and changes in your health can affect your estate plan so we recommend that all your estate planning documents be reviewed when these events occur.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And An Estate Plan?
A last will and testament is a very important part of your estate plan, however, it is just one part. Other documents that are typically part of a basic estate plan provide for the handling of your financial affairs and health care during your lifetime.
What are The Basic Items Entailed In An Estate Plan? What Does Each Item Specifically Do?
The basic items in an estate plan include, a last will and testament, that provides who will receive your assets upon your death and who will serve as your executor also known as your personal representative to carry out your wishes, a durable power of attorney for financial matters, naming an individual to serve as your agent to take care of your finances if it is ever necessary, a living will, to spell out your wishes for end-of-life medical care, and a designation of health care surrogate, that allows you to name someone to make sure your health care wishes are honored. The powers granted to your agent under your durable power of attorney terminate upon your death.
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