What is Estate Planning?

We don’t like to think about it often, but eventually, we will all leave this earth at some point. Planning for the possibility of incapacity or death is something that is done to ensure that your estate can be given to your loved ones. You can ensure that your specific instructions are carried out, and a drawn-out legal process is avoided. In this article, you can learn more about why estate planning should be an essential consideration. 

What is an Estate?

Every individual has an estate, whether they realize it or not. Things you own, such as a car or property, are included in an estate. However, it also includes stocks, investments, personal possessions, life insurances, and much more. Regardless of how large or modest this is, everyone has an estate that will be left behind after they die. Estate planning helps to ensure that you can control who it goes to and minimize fees or taxes that may be applicable. 

Why Do I Need Estate Planning?

There is a misconception that estate planning is only for elderly people or those that have retired. But, sadly, no one can predict their demise or see an illness coming. Additionally, estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Too many people put off estate planning and then leave their families with a headache to handle. Even if you don’t have a plan, the state already has one for you, and asset laws may not be kind to you. Luckily, it is fairly straightforward to get your affairs in order and prevent this hassle. 

What Goes into Estate Planning

Essentially, estate planning is making a plan in advance of how your assets will be divided.  Your specific plan will depend on your assets and circumstances, but in general, there are a variety of things you can set out to do. These include; 

  • Including instructions for your care if you become disabled.
  • Minimizing taxes and legal fees
  • Including life insurance
  • Naming a guardian for minor children
  • Providing instructions for the transfer of a business
  • Organizing your assets and provide clear instructions for their transfer 

Estate planning should be an on-going process that is updated as circumstances continue to change. A lack of estate planning can mean that your estate goes into probate, which can incur significant legal fees, as well as time. Careful estate planning can help to avoid the process of probate. 

Estate Planning Documents

In Florida, there are some key documents that are required for estate planning. These include; 

Last Will 

This is a document that states who will be in charge of your estate and how your assets will be divided. 

Durable Power of Attorney 

This document allows a trusted person to act as your agent and sign documents on your behalf. 

Living Will

This directs a trusted person or attending physician to terminate life support if you end up in a vegetative state with no chance of recovery. 

Durable Health Care Power of Attorney 

This document allows you to appoint a trusted person to make health decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. 

These are the basic documents that everyone should have. However, there will be additional documents required based on your circumstances. We can help ensure that you have the correct documents in place. 

Closing Thoughts

You should now have a clearer idea on what estate planning is and why it should be a significant consideration. Having adequate estate planning means that you can provide peace of mind for your loved ones and avoid a costly probate. Feel free to reach out to us at Desai Law if you want advice on estate planning or if you have any questions. 

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