Most folks think of Estate Planning as what happens after they pass away. But the truth is a good estate plan accounts for the reality that most of us will not pass quickly. Instead, most of us will cope with skyrocketing healthcare costs as we battle aging and illness. Please do not think of an estate plan as dividing up the goodies after you are gone. A good estate plan will help protect the legacy you built over many years of hard work. You worked for your family, not the healthcare industry. Let us build a bridge to that legacy for your family.
The simplest solution to estate planning is a Will. Which will help your family carry out your wishes when you pass and may create Trusts to support family members who depend on you. But a Will by itself can leave your family struggling to navigate a difficult, expensive, and lengthy Probate process. Instead, we recommend putting a Will together with a Trust to keep most assets out of Probate, while simultaneously limiting the time creditors have to file claims against your Estate.
Many Estate Plans can benefit from establishing a Revocable Living Trust. Revocable Living Trusts keep some property out of probate, making things easy for your family, and can be helpful for blended families as well. On the other hand, as you face the high cost of aging it may be necessary to create a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust or a Veterans Pension Asset Trust.
Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts and Veterans Pension Asset Trusts can provide a bridge to your legacy for your family, keep some property out of the Probate nightmare, and help qualify you for assistance with catastrophic medical costs. Of course, the key element to any Estate Plan is time! The sooner your plan takes its place protecting you, your family, and your legacy the better it will work! Call me today to start building your bridge to safety!
The Need For Estate Planning In Florida: Understanding The Basics
This article overviews the basics of estate planning, discussing:
- The most common types of trusts
- Healthcare-related documents that will make your estate plan as sound as possible.
- The most important aspects of legacy planning.
What Is Estate Planning? Why Is It Important?
The need for estate planning in Florida becomes more relevant if you think of a good estate plan as the bridge your legacy travels over to get to the loved ones you leave behind after passing away. They will greatly benefit from having an estate plan in place during one of the most difficult times of their lives. If you do not have an estate plan in place, you leave your family to the mercy of an expensive probate lawsuit in local courts since the state ultimately decides who gets what and how.
What Are The Most Common Trusts In Florida? What Exactly Do They Do?
The two most commonly used trusts in Florida are revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts.
Revocable living trusts help keep your assets out of the probate process. The probate process is used to foreclose claims by debtors even when an estate plan is in place, but large assets pass through the trust under the direct control of you and your trustee.
An irrevocable trust primarily protects a family’s assets from long-term healthcare costs when an elderly family member needs assistance with daily living. This trust works best when a grantor sees medical difficulties coming at least five years in advance.
What Healthcare Related Documents Do I Need To Include In My Estate Plan In Florida?
As great as having an estate plan is, it only covers you and your loved ones after you pass away. The need for estate planning in Florida includes taking into consideration situations where you are still alive but unable to make decisions for yourself.
A Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Living Will – what we call “crisis planning documents” – give your family the tools to help you when you suffer a medical crisis that leaves you debilitated. Studies have found that over 75% of Americans will face a medical crisis after the age of 65. Be prepared to face one, if you do.
What Estate Planning Documents Are Necessary For Incapacity Under Florida Laws?
Incapacity is precisely when you need “crisis planning documents,” but you must prepare them before the crisis occurs. You need at minimum a Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Living Will to be fully prepared. In Florida, you can also designate a pre-need guardian. In case you are incapacitated for a long time, the guardian can step in and assist you with everything.
What Is A Special Needs Trust Under Florida Law? Who Is It Intended For?
A special needs trust is designed to care for family members who may not be able to care for themselves after you are gone. Some examples include children with Down’s Syndrome or schizophrenia.
Any family member who requires government benefits to survive is at risk of losing them if they inherit your estate. This trust makes resources available to special needs family members in a controlled disbursement to avoid disqualification.
What Other Components Should Be Part Of An Estate Plan In Florida?
You should have designated beneficiaries appointed on accounts that pay by contract when you pass away. These types of assets include things like bank accounts, IRAs, and insurance policies.
However, every family is different, and your family will need specific planning, however. The best way to ensure you have all the components your family needs is to schedule an appointment and have a thorough interview with our firm.
What Is The Most Important Thing I Can Do Now On My Own To Preserve My Assets For My Family After I Pass Away?
Ensure you have beneficiaries associated with your accounts. This does not mean adding people to the account for access to the money, but rather making the funds available to them outside of the probate process after you pass away.
How Often Do I Need To Review My Estate Planning Documents? Can I Make Updates Any Time I Need?
You definitely need to review your estate planning documents whenever there is a significant change to your family life, including things like the birth of a new baby, a divorce, or moving. You should make updates if you acquire additional assets or change your financial arrangements in a significant way as well.
Even if there are not any big life changes, it is good to check with your estate planning attorney at least once every two years because laws change and new strategies emerge. For more information on The Need For Estate Planning In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step.