Most Important Estate Documents You Need in Florida
When you are starting your estate plan, it can seem overwhelming. Don’t let that fear keep you from protecting your assets and determining how you want them distributed upon your death. When you understand what documents you need, it can make the process much easier. Also, hiring a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney can expedite things and make sure you have exactly what you need in place.
When you hire the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A., we will sit down with you to learn more about your assets and what goals you hope to accomplish with your estate plan. Once we have a clear picture of what you want to do, we recommend an individualized estate plan to fit all your needs.
To better understand what options there are, here are some of the most important documents you should consider for your Florida estate plan.
Draft a Will and/or Set Up a Trust
At a minimum, every estate plan should have a will and/or a trust. Don’t assume that if you aren’t wealthy that you don’t need anything. Some people choose to have both a will and a trust. Your estate planning attorney will explain how each one works and the pros and cons so you can make an educated decision on what’s right for you.
The most important aspect of a will is to get the language right. You need to follow all state laws and ensure the language does not conflict with any assets that will pass outside of probate, like named beneficiaries on bank accounts or on a life insurance policy.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney will allow whoever you designate to make medical decisions on your behalf, if necessary. By setting this up ahead of time, you can reduce or eliminate possible conflicts with family as well. Include a living will that will have clear instructions on how you want important decisions to be made, like DNR, intubation, life support, etc.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is another important estate planning document to consider. This type of power of attorney gives someone the authority to handle legal or financial transactions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is not necessarily a legally binding document like a will or trust, so you can do this one on your own. Here, list information that doesn’t really go into your will. Some people opt to express more clarification on how they want their estate to be handled, their wishes for burial and funeral services, and more. Think of it more as an informal method of sharing your wants for your estate when you pass. Once you pass away, your letter of intent might be useful in probate if your will is deemed invalid. A probate judge may request to review it; however, it will never be a formal or legal replacement for a will or trust.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Estate Planning Firm
If you need assistance with your Florida estate planning, contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us go over all the different options for estate planning in Florida. We can help you achieve your goals for passing along your estate as well as planning for possible incapacitation when you are alive.