What many people may not realize is that nearly everyone has an estate, not just the wealthy few. This is because an estate consists of everything you own, such as your home, car, real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, investments, furniture, and other possessions. More importantly, no matter how big or small these estates are, they all have something in common – you will not be able to take them with you when you pass away.
What To Know About Estate Planning
Estate planning refers to making a plan in advance that names the organizations or individuals you want to receive the things you own after you pass away. The plan also involves taking other steps now to ensure your last wishes are carried out in the future.
What Does an Estate Plan Cover?
While an estate plan can help you plan for the future, it also does so much more than that. A good estate plan will also:
- Provide clear directions for your future care and financial affairs if something happens to you, such as becoming incapacitated before you pass away.
- Determine arrangements for income if you cannot work because of an injury or illness.
- Name a guardian of minor children and inheritance.
- Ensure your business will transfer according to your desires at retirement, incapacity, disability, or death.
- Make sure that loved ones with special needs are provided for and not disqualified from government benefits.
- Help minimize costs, taxes, and legal fees related to your estate plan.
- Provide for family members who are irresponsible with money or those who need protection from creditors.
- Update beneficiary designations.
- Make sure to align your assets with your estate plan.
However, it should also be noted that estate planning is a continuous process. This means you need to review and update your plan as things in your life change, including financial circumstances and relevant laws.
What Happens When You Do Not Have an Estate Plan?
If you pass away without a proper estate plan, all the assets you own that are in your name and do not have a beneficiary designation will be distributed according to Florida’s intestacy laws. While this may mean that your loved ones still get your property, it may not be according to your specific wishes. Moreover, intestate laws can get complicated quickly, leaving your family struggling to make sure your last wishes are fulfilled after you pass away. Fortunately, you can avoid this situation by speaking to a Florida estate planning lawyer and figuring out a plan that is best for you and your family.
While estate planning may not be everyone’s favorite topic of discussion, it is an incredibly important one. If you would like further information about estate planning in Florida or are considering creating an estate plan, contact The CYA Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Adalbert “AL” Martinez. Let us help you figure out your options and develop an estate plan that works for you.