When people in Florida die without an estate plan in place, the state determines what happens to their assets. These assets may end up going to family members who were not intended to have them while others get nothing. This is one reason it is important to have an estate plan. An estate plan can also be important in making arrangements in case an individual becomes incapacitated.
While there are do-it-yourself estate plans, the disadvantage is that they could be limited in the situations they cover. An attorney may be able to assist a person in creating a will and other documents to suit their exact needs. A will can name what will happen to property, but some assets, such as retirement accounts, pass by beneficiary designation. People need to choose an executor, the person who will be in charge of submitting the will for probate, finding and securing assets, paying creditors, filing taxes and distributing assets to beneficiaries. People may also want to create a list of documents relating to these assets so that they will be easy to find.
Some people might have beneficiaries who are irresponsible with money. Trusts can manage how distributions are made to these individuals. Other documents include a living will, which has instructions on end-of-life care, and a financial power of attorney so that someone can take over finances if the person is incapacitated.
Even for people who do not have many assets, estate planning is important. A will can be used to designate a guardian for any minor children, and even if there are just a few assets, such as a vehicle and a bank account, the will can name beneficiaries. Appointing people to manage health care and finances in case of incapacity can be important in a basic estate plan as well.