Do you have an up-to-date Florida estate plan in place? Research shows that only one in three Americans today have a last will and testament. Have you been putting off meeting with a Florida estate planning attorney to learn about your estate planning options and what the protections are that you and your loved ones might need for the future? Are you too busy working hard to build your business, your family and your plans for the future to stop and think about an estate plan? That being said, it is important that you, as a Florida adult, decide what you want for the future which will include you, your family, your successful business and your legacy. We would like to share with you five ideas to consider when you begin to create your successful Florida estate plan.
1. Your estate plan, a collection of documents. An estate plan, which is a collection of many legal documents, will help protect you in a crisis, allow you to choose your own trusted decision makers and protect your family, business and legacy when you pass away. With the guidance of your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, together you will create the documents that are most important to you, your family, your business and your legacy. Together these documents will come together to form your estate plan. Your estate plan will protect you and those you love in the event of a crisis, such as an auto accident, in which you are left incapacitated. Through the use of the estate planning tools you have, your estate plan will allow the trusted decision makers you choose to step in and make any needed decisions for you, your family and your business.
2. Long-term care. Too often the need to be prepared for the future is put aside for another day. However, the day may come when you may have a debilitating accident or a diagnosis of a critical disease that may require long-term care. Therefore, within your estate plan you should include long term care planning. You need to think about what type of care you would want in the future and whether you would be able to afford it and be able keep your family, business and legacy safe from loss of funds.
3. Avoid family conflict. Too often we see around us how the death of successful people can create family conflict because they did not stop in their busy schedules to make a comprehensive estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney. It can be very difficult for family members to cope with a loved one’s health crisis or death. Your estate plan can take some of the burden off of your family and help avoid family conflict. Your Florida estate plan will be a legal guide for what you want under any crisis or upon your passing, and will go a long way to reducing conflict and tension among your loved ones.
4. Update, update, update. Do not make the mistake of thinking that once a will or trust is created it does not have to be updated. When there are changes to your family, assets or life be sure to make changes to your documents. If there have been divorces, births or deaths in your family, or assets added or second marriages, do not forget to reflect those changes in the documents of your estate plan. We highly recommend that you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney annually to review your estate plan.
5. An experienced Florida estate planning attorney is important. Florida has many attorneys with different areas of expertise. We strongly encourage you to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney in creating your estate plan. Your Florida estate planning attorney will be able to guide you through the processes and solutions you need to reach your goals for yourself, your family, your business and your legacy.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.