WHAT DOCUMENTS CONSTITUTE AN “ESTATE PLAN?”
If you pass away without an estate plan, your property is distributed in accordance with the intestate laws of Florida, which means you and your family will have little to no say in who receives your property. Failure to the state where you would like your property to go often leads to family disagreements and can cause unnecessary stress, but, what exactly is an Estate Plan? Here are some frequently used Estate Planning tools:
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament is a legal document that allows you to specify your beneficiaries and which assets they receive once you pass away. This is just one of many tools that an estate planner can use in order to state your testamentary wishes.
There are several different types of trusts that exist, all with their own sets of pros and cons. Some are used to avoid paying the estate tax, while others are created to avoid probate. One of the more popular types of trust is a Revocable Living Trust. This trust allows you to avoid probate and keep your affairs private.
Living Will, Health Care Surrogate, Power of Attorney
In the event that you are incapacitated, certain medical and financial decisions have to be made on your behalf. Instead of having someone that you might not necessarily want handling these affairs, you can appoint one. With a Living Will, Health Care Surrogate, and Power of Attorney you can plan ahead. You will be able to decide who makes the decisions for you and what your wishes are if you were to be incapacitated. These documents take pressure off your family by expressing your wishes for who you would like to be in control and granting someone the ability to take control of your affairs.