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What Are Estate Plans?
Estate plans are portfolios of legal documents that work together to clarify how a person wants their assets to be managed during their lifetime and distributed after they pass away. These plans will be recognized by the Florida court system and will ensure that a person’s wishes are carried out.
Most people are familiar with wills, which are the most popular estate planning document, but a will alone can’t avoid probate (an expensive court process), transfer your possessions to your family immediately after your death, help you if you become incapacitated, or offer your assets full protection from creditors. Your estate plan needs to include other documents, including:
- A trust (a fiduciary arrangement that owns your assets, shielding them from the government, from taxes, from creditors, and from probate)
- A power of attorney (gives someone the right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you aren’t able to do so for yourself)
- An advance directive (lists out what medical decisions you want made on your behalf)
- Guardianship designations (who you want to care for your minor children or pets if you aren’t able to do so)
- A company succession plan (if you manage a business)
- Copies of identification documents and insurance policies (that have beneficiary designations)
- And more.
Our Valrico estate planning lawyer can help you determine what documents your estate plan should have based on your unique needs.
Why Estate Plans Are So Valuable
Estate planning serves two critical roles: it gives you complete control over what will happen to your belongings, and it prevents your family from having to endure stress and financial hardship.
Without an estate plan, your assets will have to pass through Florida’s probate process before your family can receive an inheritance. Florida laws, not your wishes, will govern how your assets will be distributed in a process that could take months or even years, leaving your family in a difficult financial situation and having to navigate legal paperwork when they could otherwise be grieving peacefully.
Having a clear, well-written estate plan drafted by a knowledgeable probate attorney can guarantee that the wealth you have worked so hard to build will go to the loved ones you intended smoothly, without any hassle or additional expense.
Common Estate Planning Objections
Osenton Law, P.A., understands that the estate planning process can be intimidating. However, it’s a valuable investment, and many of the reasons why people push it off (upon closer inspection) reflect how vital estate planning truly is. Here are two of the most common we encounter:
Not Having Enough Assets for an Estate Plan
Some people think that the estate planning process is only for families with sizable riches, but that’s not the case. In fact, wealthy people won’t be as bothered by expensive probate costs if someone in their family passed away without a plan; court fees disproportionately affect middle class and low-income families, which is even more of a reason for people who “aren’t wealthy” to have an estate plan that can avoid probate.
Material wealth isn’t the only thing you should consider, either. Everybody has belongings that can and should be protected by an estate plan, regardless of their value. In fact, many essential items in estate plans are sentimental rather than financial assets.
Not Being Old Enough for an Estate Plan
It’s common for people not to think about estate planning until they hit a certain age (most commonly, retirement age). However, nobody is promised tomorrow. You can’t predict when an illness or accident will occur, so you need to have an estate plan in place sooner rather than later – to create it while you still have the chance.
Why Hire a Valrico Estate Planning Lawyer?
Many people try to avoid the cost of hiring an attorney and attempt to draft an estate plan on their own using legal advice or downloadable templates they find online. However, not everything on the internet is accurate. It’s certainly general – it’s likely not compliant with Florida-specific laws, or the most up-to-date Florida laws, and it doesn’t reflect your family dynamics or financial situation. If you make a mistake, or if your estate plan is found to be invalid/irrelevant/outdated, your family will likely spend more money trying to fix the problems it created; it will essentially be as useless to them as you having not made one in the first place.
There’s a reason attorneys go to law school and practice for years to be able to do estate planning correctly. It’s complicated! Don’t try to DIY it. Our Valrico estate planning lawyer has decades of experience drafting these documents and knows how to capture your wishes in writing, to create a copy that beneficiaries/the courts won’t misinterpret, and to tailor every single detail of your plan to your goals.
Working With A Valrico Estate Planning Lawyer From Osenton Law, P.A.
A Valrico estate planning lawyer can help you secure a lasting legacy. Call today to learn how we can serve you! Our lead attorney, O. Reginald “Reggie” Osenton has been guiding clients through the estate planning process for over 33 years. You can trust that he will take the time to listen to you, answer your questions, and do everything he can to guard what matters most to you so that you can enjoy the present without worrying about the future! Don’t wait to get your affairs in order; call Osenton Law, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
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Osenton Law, P.A.
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