Importance of Having a Florida Estate Planning Checklist
Everyone needs an estate plan, even if you don’t have a lot of assets. This is also the case if you are young or don’t have any immediate family members. Estate planning is not just for your assets when you pass away. It can also help in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot take care of yourself. If you are unclear on where to begin, it’s important to contact a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney for assistance.
Steps in Estate Planning
There are a number of important steps in making your estate plan. Some of these steps include:
- Determine what your goals are when creating your estate plan. This means determining whether the purpose is to help provide for your family members, prepare for your incapacitation, protect your own assets, or all of these things.
- Have a list of your assets that you want included in your estate plan. You need to jot down all the property and money you have, whether it’s individually or jointly owned.
- Create a list of those family members and loved ones you are looking to include in your estate plan. There may be people you want included in your estate plan who are not blood relatives or your spouse. You will need to specifically list those people in your estate plan.
- Determine risks to your assets. You don’t want to lose your assets to creditors or high nursing home costs. If you have a business, you’ll want a business succession plan for example.
- Consider whether or not you might owe estate tax. If your estate is large, it’s important to know whether or not your estate will be subject to federal taxes.
- Decide whether or not you want to avoid probate. In most cases, assets will go through probate, especially if you have a will. You can avoid this is many cases by creating a trust or through other estate planning techniques.
- Ensure you have the necessary insurance policies. You may need to purchase a life insurance policy to ensure you can provide for your family if you don’t have enough assets to provide for them.
- Think about a plan for incapacitation. A critical part of your Florida estate plan should be about what happens to you if you become incapacitated. What would you do if you were suddenly injured or become ill and cannot manage your finances? What about healthcare decisions? These topics can be addressed in your estate plan.
- Look at whether your heirs have any special needs. This is just making sure that you are thorough in your decision-making process on how assets are to be transferred.
Determining Necessary Estate Planning Legal Tools
One of the most important aspects of your estate planning checklist is looking at what legal tools you need for your individual estate plan. Legal tools are the official documents of your estate plan, such as a trust, last will and testament, powers of attorney, advance directives, etc. It’s understandable that you may not know which ones you need. This is why you want to speak with a knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.