In Tampa, and all across the country, estate planning can be a tricky business. On the surface it’s simple: you just want to make sure that your assets are distributed among your loved ones in the manner that you choose. Any good Tampa estate planner can guide you through the process, but since knowing is half the battle, here’s a brief list of documents your Tampa estate planner can help you prepare and what each is meant to do.
A will is the basic document that most people have prepared before their death. A will is intended to provide a plan for what happens to your assets when you pass away, and can include a legal guardian for any minors under your care at the time of your passing. Making sure that you have one is the first step a Tampa estate planner will help you with.
Financial power of attorney documents may also need to be prepared. These documents allow you to name someone to take over control of any remaining planning that might need to occur in the event you become disabled. Since most legal decisions require you to be of sound mind when they are made, having someone granted power of attorney can make sure that your affairs can be handled by a designated successor in case you become unable to make the decisions on your own.
Health care power of attorney goes hand-in-hand with financial power of attorney and is sometimes called “advance medical directive.” Essentially, this allows you to name someone to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become unable to. This document can allow someone you designate to make all your medical decisions, or it can be limited to specific health care situations.
Lastly, beneficiary designations allow you to determine, in writing, who will receive the financial benefits of things like retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These are generally filed with the administrators of the plans rather than spelled out in your will. Having these in place will make sure that there are no questions about who receives the financial benefits of these plans at your passing.