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The Basics of Creating an Estate Plan

June 22, 2020

People in Florida who are creating an estate plan may start with a last will and testament, which can appoint guardians for children and an executor to manage the estate. The will might also name the beneficiaries who should receive certain assets. For people who want assets to pass without going through the probate process, a revocable trust may be a better option. Trusts may also be useful in other situations, such as if there is an irresponsible family member. That person’s inheritance could be placed in a trust and managed by a trustee.

Beneficiary designations are used to pass some types of assets, such as life insurance and retirement accounts. These need to be updated regularly since they override instructions in a will or a trust.

There are steps that people can take to make the process of dealing with the estate less difficult for their loved ones. Working with an attorney may help ensure that documents are prepared correctly. A list of beneficiaries’ contact information makes them easy to reach.

Another important element of estate planning is preparing for the possibility of becoming incapacitated. A durable power of attorney appoints someone to manage a person’s financial affairs while a health care power of attorney chooses someone to make medical decisions. A living will can outline the person’s end-of-life care instructions.

Even people who only need basic estate planning because they have few assets and no dependents may benefit from working with an attorney. For example, a recent high school or college graduate may not be wealthy but might still have sentimental items that they want to go to specific friends and loved ones. A will can do this. The individual might also want to designate parents, a sibling or a partner to make health care decisions on their behalf.