Are you looking forward to the Holidays with your family? Do you enjoy decorating, preparing favorite recipes and shopping for your family? Are you also looking forward to some time with your senior loved ones without interruption from work? Are you noticing that your senior loved ones seem to be aging quickly and seem more fragile? With these observations, do you know if they have made any plans for their future, including a Florida estate plan and even a long-term care plan? Even though this is a very busy time of the year, it is important that you have a conversation with your loved ones now rather than later.
When you take some time during this holiday season to talk to your loved ones, find out whether they have any thoughts as to where they want to live in the future. Are they concerned about what will happen to their assets as well as leaving a legacy? Are they concerned about their health, their business, or their family? Do they wonder what the future may hold for them? Helping your senior loved ones complete or update their Florida estate plan may be the best gift you can give them.
As you sit down to talk with your loved ones about planning for the future you may need to have questions ready to ask, such as the following:
1. Do they have a trusted family member or friend who will make decisions for them if they are not able to make decisions for themselves?
2. If they were suddenly incapacitated because of a car accident or stroke, would anyone have the legal authority to pay their bills?
3. If they were unable to handle their business affairs for any reason, who do they trust to step in and make decisions and carry out the day-to-day activities of their business?
4. Have they made any plans for their pets if they were hospitalized?
5. Do they want their adult children to be in charge of their finances?
6. Do they have a need for any additional insurance policies?
7. Do they know for a fact that their retirement plans will be able to support them as they age?
8. If their estate planning documents are from out of state, do they know if they will work in Florida?
9. Have any laws changed in the past few years that now make their estate planning irrelevant?
10. Have there been any changes in their family structure that necessitate the need to update any planning they may have done?
All of these questions are important, and we often hear questions just like them from our clients and their family members when we meet. As you talk with your loved ones about Florida estate planning, they need to know their estate plan will work when they need it to. This holiday season, helping your senior loved ones complete a Florida estate plan that lets them legally choose what they want for themselves, their family, their business, and their legacy is quite possibly the best gift you can give them.
Finally, the completion of the Florida estate plan for your older loved ones is a critical part of their health and well-being, but there is a second planning component that needs to be addressed and completed as well. This is their elder law planning. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans will need some form of long-term care after they reach the age of 70. Much of this care is not covered by Medicare and will fall on the Florida senior to pay for out of pocket. We can assure you and your loved ones that it does not have to be this way. We can work with your loved ones to not only create an estate plan but also a long-term care plan that can protect the estate plan they are putting in place and allow them to be able to leave a legacy for their family, no matter what the future holds.
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.