South Florida Estate Planning Attorney.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process by which a person anticipates and arranges the transfer of their assets to beneficiaries in case of your death. Estate planning usually tries to avoid Probate, help maximize the value of the estate, and reduce taxes and other expenses.
What documents are included in an estate plan?
In Florida, a traditional estate plan will include a Last Will and Testament, along with a Living Will, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, and a Revocable Living Trust.
What happens if I die without an estate plan?
If you die without an estate plan, Florida law will dictate the distribution of your property. You have given up your right to decide how your assets will be divided and who will inherit them. A Probate court will appoint a personal representative and your estate will have to go through the Probate process.
What is a Will?
A Will is defined as a revocable transfer that takes effect on death of the maker.
What is Probate?
Probate is a court supervised process that is used to check whether a Will is legally valid and directs a personal representative to gather the receipts assets, pay off a decedent’s creditors, and then distribute any remaining assets as directed by the Will.
What is a Trust?
A Trust is a document created by you that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime, and then distribute the remaining assets two selected beneficiary’s actual death. It allows your family to avoid the Probate process when you pass away, which saves them time and money. Additionally, a Trust can be kept confidential, which lets families maintain privacy. Also, a Trust can provide asset protection from a beneficiary’s creditors and may help eliminate federal estate taxes.
What is an Advanced Healthcare Directive?
An Advanced Healthcare Directive is comprised of written instructions about the healthcare that the maker wants to receive if they are unable to speak for themselves. In effect, and Advanced Healthcare Directive is a roadmap created by the maker and presented to physicians if the maker becomes incapacitated.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will allows a person to state their wishes about health care if the person is in a persistent vegetative state or are in a terminal condition
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a way for a person to assign his or her legal authority over his or her financial or other matters to another person. In fact, this other person steps into the shoes of the maker to act on behalf of the maker.
What is a Guardianship?
A guardian is a replacement decision maker appointed by a court to make either personal and/or money decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. Florida law requires the court to appoint a guardian for minors when the parents die or become incapacitated, or if a child gets an inheritance or money from a lawsuit or insurance policy greater than the limit allowed by Florida statute.
Do I need to hire an attorney when creating an estate plan?
Maybe not. If the documents themselves are very simple, such as a Living Will, then you may not need to hire an attorney. Beyond the absolute basics of estate planning, however, it is wise to work with an attorney so that you can avoid mistakes and omissions that non-attorney created estate plans often have. Additionally, because estate planning law is often changing, you will want and attorney to keep up with those changes and tweak your documents so that they are reflective of your wishes.