What are the Most Important Aspects of Your West Palm Beach Estate Plan?
Developing an estate plan is important. However, developing the wrong estate plan, or an incomplete one, doesn’t end up helping you as much you intended. Think about it — you spent your life building up your estate, ensuring you are investing in the right funds, and planning for your succession. But, you failed to protect everything that you worked for, and what you left behind is tied up in courts and liquidated to pay taxes and other court fees.
Working with a skilled West Palm Beach estate planning attorney can help make sure your estate is protected and the assets you leave behind are distributed in accordance to your wishes.
Will or Trust
Having a will and/or trust is one of the most important components of any Florida estate plan. These will help ensure your property is divided properly. There is one important difference between a will and a trust. A huge benefit you have with a trust is that your assets may avoid probate, which saves not only time, but also money on court costs, and potentially also on estate taxes.
It’s important to have your beneficiaries listed properly and updated regularly. Listed beneficiaries are typically included on direct transfer assets like a life insurance policy, an employer-sponsored retirement plan, etc. Don’t just name beneficiaries and never update them again. What if you name a parent and that person has since passed away? What if you named your spouse and then you have been divorced for years and the account in question was not subject to distribution in the divorce? You don’t want an ex getting your 401(k) if they aren’t entitled to it and you are with someone else now.
Durable Power of Attorney
Your estate plan is not just about what happens when you pass away. An estate plan can help set forth plans for if you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney will let you assign someone else to act on your behalf if you become sick or disabled. If you are in an accident and are unable to make legal decisions for yourself, your power of attorney will allow a trusted person to handle your affairs. A Healthcare Power of Attorney can be appointed to make important healthcare decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Letter of Intent
You can also include a letter of intent in your estate plan that tells others what you want to be done with particular assets. It’s not uncommon for some people to even include funeral and burial details and any other special requests you may have in regards to your estate.
Do you have minor children? You should consider having a guardianship designation included in your estate plan. It’s an important document that is sometimes overlooked by people starting their estate plan. Without any guardianship designations, it means your children could be forced to live with a family member you wouldn’t have chosen.
Contact a West Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney
Do you need to start your estate plan or update your existing one? Let the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. help. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.