Can you answer the following questions with absolute certainty?
- Who will make your health care decisions if you are unable to make them?
- Do you know what would happen legally – to you, your loved ones, your money – if something unexpected happened to you?
- Who will sign legal documents for you if you are ill, incompetent or unable?
- Will your doctors follow your wishes regarding end of life care?
- Who will be granted custody of your minor children?
- Who will receive your assets when you die?
Estate Planning is one way to remove any uncertainty to your answers. Through a series of documents, you will ensure that your wishes are memorialized in a legally sufficient and binding way.
Estate Planning is one way for you to take charge of your future by documenting your financial assets and health care choices while you are able. Estate planning is not only for the elderly or the wealthy, it is for anyone who wishes to make legally effective choices. Incorporating a trust, or series of trusts, into your estate plan offers a number of benefits including but not limited to: avoiding expensive estate administration (probate), avoiding federal estate taxes, and protecting your beneficiaries’ future interests from creditors.
6 things a basic estate plan should provide for:
- Memorialize your decision regarding how your assets will be distributed at your death with a Last Will and Testament.
- Authorize a designated person to execute legal documents on your behalf if you are unable with a Durable Power of Attorney.
- Memorialize your decisions regarding end of life medical care with a Living Will.
- Authorize a designated person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable with a Designation of Health Care Surrogate.
- Memorialize your choices for guardianship of you, your assets, and your children with a Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian.
- Authorize medical personnel to release information regarding your health to designated person with a Medical Records Privacy Waiver (HIPAA release).
Even if you don’t have an estate plan,
Florida has a plan for you.
Do you know what the people you love would have to deal with if something unexpected happen to you? If you don’t know, then the first step is to find out exactly what would happen, legally and financially, so that you can decide if the current state of your affairs is okay with you.
To do this, we conduct an estate planning session, where we spend time together and you’ll get informed. Before your planning session, you will complete an inventory and assessment, which will help you to get clear about what you own and what you have to think about when it comes to planning for the well-being and care of your loved ones and loved belongings. If you decide the current state of affairs is unacceptable, and if we both decide that it’s a fit to work together, then we can design an estate plan together that will best suit the needs of your family.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust. You transfer your property into this trust for your benefit during your life. One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that when done correctly and maintained over time, your estate plan should help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
For people with additional needs, we provide advanced estate planning services.
Unfortunately, most plans don’t work because much of what passes for estate planning is little more than word processing. You are asked a few questions and then the drafter decides which “plan” is right for you, and fits you into a template. This is not estate planning; it is little more than a “search and replace” of your family’s name and then a hit of the “print” button which spits out form documents.
I will take the time to get to know you, your family, your concerns, your goals and your issues and will gladly and patiently answer all your questions to produce an estate plan that is exactly right for you.
If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of, no matter what happens.
What Would Happen to Your Kids if the Unthinkable Happened to You?
Did you know that more than 50% of parents have not yet named guardians for their kids?
Of those who have, most have made one of 6 common mistakes most parents (and their lawyers!) make when naming guardians.
Don’t let this happen to your family!
Without proper planning, if the unthinkable happens to you, here’s a few things that could happen:
- Your children could be placed into child protective services with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), even if you have a will in place, and even if you have a living trust;
- A Judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your kids, even if it’s the last person you would ever want;
- Approximately 5% of the total value of your assets could be lost due to probate, a court process that can tie up your assets for months or years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably; and
- When your kids turn 18, they get a check for whatever assets are left (and there are unscrupulous people who make it their business to review public records to find out what 18 year olds are coming into money)
The vast majority of estate planning attorneys do not address these issues, and do not plan from a parents perspective; Our goal is to make sure these things don’t happen!
That’s why we offer a children protection plan with every estate plan we do for families with young children. If you are a family with young children, then your estate plan should begin with a foundation that ensures your children would always be taken care of no matter what happens.
Do Not Procrastinate
Schedule your estate planning session today.Get Started Now!
Below is a list of the documents we can prepare for you.