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If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, or so the saying goes – it’s true, especially when it comes to planning for the future of your assets and your loved ones! It can be intimidating to imagine and prepare for scenarios where you are no longer around to call the shots about your life, your money, or your family, but if you don’t take the time to do that now, it could have disastrous consequences later on. If you pass away or become incapacitated unexpectedly, your wishes may never be known or honored. Your hard-earned wealth could be depleted by court costs or creditors. Your spouse, kids, and grandkids could be left in a difficult financial position. 

Working with our skilled St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer at Osenton Law, P.A., ensures that won’t happen! We can help you get the right legal documents and protections in place and find peace of mind. Our comprehensive, customized planning will set you and your family up for maximum future success so you can stop worrying about what tomorrow may hold and focus on enjoying today! Call now to book your free consultation and learn more about your next steps. 

Why Do You Need An Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a collection of legal documents and tools that explicitly lay out how your assets will be managed both during your lifetime and after you pass away. Many people think that they are not old enough or wealthy enough to need an estate plan, but the truth is that anyone in Florida who owns property or has family needs to have one! 

There are three main purposes of an estate plan:

To clarify & legally enforce your desires – Even if you have verbally expressed what you want to happen to you/your money/your family if anything were to happen to you (for example, telling your niece that she can have your mother’s heirloom wedding ring when she gets married, or promising your house to your oldest child when you die, or telling your family that you don’t want to be on a ventilator), you can’t guarantee that the people you told will remember exactly what your wishes were. 

There’s also the matter of those wishes not being valid legally – unless they are written down in a legally compliant way, oral declarations (known as “nuncupative wills”) aren’t admissible in Florida court – and there’s also the possibility of your family members fighting over what they believed you said/objecting to what you told one person. If you don’t have any estate planning documents in place at all, not even a will, then Florida law will distribute your assets according to state laws, which don’t take into account your unique family dynamics or what you would have wanted. If you are medically unable to make decisions for yourself, your family might not be able to agree. An estate plan keeps you in control! 

To avoid probate – Probate is a Florida court process that has to occur if there was no full estate plan present when someone passed away (even if there was a will!). It must be completed before the deceased’s assets can be transferred to their heirs. It is notoriously time-consuming, confusing, and expensive, and it’s the last thing you want your family members to have to be dealing with while they mourn your loss! Our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer can help you get an estate plan in place that prevents probate from being necessary. 

To secure your wealth – Having an estate plan guarantees that your money won’t be lost to the costs of nursing home care, to baseless lawsuits, or to irresponsible family members. You can control exactly where it goes, and give it more legal protection than just keeping it in a bank account! 

What Should Your Estate Plan Include?

Your estate plan should be tailored to your unique needs! Depending on your specific life circumstances and goals, you may need to have:

  • A will (explains who will get what when you pass away)
  • An advance directive (for medical care)
  • A trust (secures assets in a fiduciary agreement)
  • A power of attorney (gives someone else the power to make legal/financial/medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot)
  • Beneficiary designations 
  • And more! 

How Our St. Petersburg Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help You

Attorney O. Reginald “Reggie” Osenton has been guiding people through the estate planning process for over 33 years! He can answer your questions, explain your options, and draft personalized documents that will give you maximum protection. Don’t wait to plan ahead – none of us are guaranteed tomorrow! Call now to schedule a free consultation and get started! 

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Osenton Law, P.A.

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(813) 551-1070