Law Offices Of Paul H. Threatt, PLLC.

Getting Started

Spelling block of "Estate Plan" - Law Offices Of Paul H. Threatt, PLLC.

When To Begin

Many wonder if it’s ever too early or too late to engage in estate planning. In my experience, there is no “perfect time” for estate planning because it transcends traditional age milestones. More simply put, regardless of who you are, the most appropriate time for estate planning in Florida is now.

It’s a common misconception that estate planning only concerns the elderly. The truth is, any person, regardless of age, has family members who may need their support if the unexpected occurs. Even a young adult may have parents who need assistance in the event of a crisis. For young parents, creating a trust might be a vital measure needed to secure their children’s future should the unthinkable happen. The right timing has nothing to do with your age — it’s based on your circumstances.

I’ve had the privilege of crafting estate plans for people as young as 19 who are preparing to deploy to combat zones overseas and for elderly couples on their way to hospice care. The reality is that age doesn’t insulate anyone from the need for careful planning. Whether you’re facing the risks of active combat or simply driving a vehicle to work on your daily commute or coping with the final stages of life, the unforeseen can manifest at any time and your family needs your help to guide them.

Nevertheless, there does come a point where the window for specific planning tools becomes narrower. For example, if you’re approaching the point where long-term medical care or Medicaid considerations are on the horizon, an estate plan is essential. However, age still isn’t the driving factor here. For some, the need for long-term care might occur in the fifties, driven by familial medical history and other factors. Crafting a good estate plan is about understanding your unique circumstances and acting accordingly.

While it’s true that the complexity of an estate plan increases with the amount you have in assets and the number of family members you have to care for, the “right time” to plan isn’t contingent on anything other than being alive. It’s about ensuring your legacy and your loved ones are safeguarded – and that can begin at any stage of life.

Adapting As Your Journey Unfolds

Estate planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Instead, the uniqueness of each family and individual shapes the blueprint of their plan. As such, different situations and goals require customized strategies that consider the specific details of each person involved.

When you create an estate plan, diverse factors come into play. For example, you might have a medical history that requires extra medical crisis planning. In contrast, you may be driven by the desire to ensure that your minor children are well-provided for as they mature. You might not even have any direct heirs, but feel passionate about contributing to charitable causes upon your passing. Each scenario crafts a unique estate plan that aligns with personal values and goals.

Think of the various stages of life for a moment: young families, mid-life, and the golden years. Estate plans are often streamlined and uncomplicated for young singles without dependents. However, both married couples with children and single parents must factor in concerns regarding guardianship arrangements and financial provisions for their children’s welfare. In later years, the focus shifts to personal long-term care needs and securing the legacy you have meticulously built.

Each stage of life introduces a new chapter in estate planning, each with its own unique needs. The wonderful thing about this process is its flexibility — creating a plan that not only protects your family but also reflects your individual story and goals. The takeaway is simple yet profound: it’s never too early to begin your journey. Life is ever-evolving, and the right plan will evolve with you, acting as your compass in an ever-changing landscape.

Key Estate Planning Documents

At the heart of estate planning lies a handful of fundamental documents, each playing a distinct role in safeguarding your and your loved ones’ futures…


While the Last Will and Testament is somewhat familiar to most people, it’s essential to understand its actual implications. Your Will essentially “steers” your estate through the Probate court, providing guidance through a journey that can be both time-consuming and financially taxing for your loved ones. On the other hand, it is still better than dying “intestate” or without a Will. Intestacy statutes written by the Florida legislature decide how much your family will get and when.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust offers an alternative path through Probate and estate administration. By designating a trusted individual as your Trustee, you effectively replace the role of a Probate judge. This grants your chosen Trustee the authority to directly manage and distribute your assets, often bypassing the complexities of court.

Pour-Over Will

However, I do not recommend totally avoiding the Probate and administration process as many attorney advertisements do. To complement the Trust planning approach, a pour-over Will acts as a bridge between your estate and the Trust, ensuring that all of your assets can be seamlessly integrated into the Trust distribution process. It also provides the time limit of 90 days for most claims against the estate, as opposed to leave the estate open to claims for 2 years. This is the smart way to gain protection and minimize costs.

Irrevocable Living Trust

An Irrevocable Living Trust basically removes direct ownership of assets from the Grantor or Settlor but keeps the Grantor or Settlor exercises the power to decide who gets the estate, when, and how. This process helps you qualify for Medicaid and potentially provides some protection from creditors. There are other specific reasons for establishing an Irrevocable Living Trust, but the focus here is to make you aware of them and if your situation calls for one, an attorney must be involved in establishing the Trust.

Lifetime Planning Documents

In addition to these foundational documents, there are a few crucial documents needed for your estate plan to withstand any crisis you may face…

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is essential, enabling a designated agent to manage your financial affairs should you be incapacitated.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney empowers someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, bridging the gap in times of incapacity.

Pre-need Designation of Guardian

A pre-need designation of guardian safeguards your interests by outlining a trusted individual to care for you or your children in case of your incapacity. This is the most understated and yet potentially most valuable document because the process for establishing a Guardianship through the courts is extremely expensive and time consuming!

Living Will

The living will is an often misunderstood document that serves a profoundly important purpose: It comes into play when you’re terminally ill and on life support, signaling your desire to discontinue life-sustaining measures if recovery is impossible. (This is distinct from a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR), which isn’t part of the basic estate plan.)

Any effective estate plan requires the sturdy foundation of a will or trust, complemented by these other vital components. In harmony, these documents will create a roadmap that safeguards your well-being, secures your assets, and ensures your wishes endure.

For more information on Appropriate Time For Estate Planning In FL, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (904) 650-4642 today.

Translate »
Accessibility Accessibility
× Accessibility Menu CTRL+U