Have you heard the statement “never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well”? This well-known, and often misquoted saying is sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Sometimes it is attributed to Mark Twain, and sometimes it is attributed to both. Different people get credit for subsequent variations as it remains one of the most powerful, and accurate, teaching tools there is.
In any case, the message is the same: do not procrastinate. It is good advice in any context, but especially when it comes to creating and modifying your Florida estate plan. You may have questions as to “why” avoiding procrastination matters, and we want to share more with you right here on our blog.
Let us start with the basics. To help you understand the importance of having a current estate plan, we will begin by explaining some key terms right here.
- An estate is the technical term that lawyers, financial advisors, and similar professionals use to describe all of your belongings. It typically includes your home, savings, investments, vehicles, and additional assets.
- An estate plan can be a strategy that allows you to create a legacy for those you love, while also planning for yourself by choosing decision makers who will have legal authority over you in the event you cannot act for yourself
- Estate planning is the process of developing that strategy, described above, with the assistance of your experienced estate planning attorney
- Estate planning tools are often the legal documents you and your attorney can utilize to make your wishes known
We have found, in our over twenty years of planning, that since estate planning is about you, it is highly unlikely that any two plans could be identical. Based on our clients goals for themselves, their loved ones, their businesses, and what they care about, we find that they are generally seeking a Florida estate plan that includes, but is not limited to, a combination of the following.
- A last will and testament or trust agreement, which can describe how your property is distributed.
- A durable Power of Attorney, which lets you name someone to make certain decisions for you if you cannot act on your own behalf.
- Health care decision making documents such as a health care surrogate, which lets you name someone to make certain healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
-A living will, which can describe how you want end of life decisions managed.
- Guardianship designations and planning tools that name the person or people who should look after your children until they reach legal adulthood, if something happens to you.
There is a common misconception that estate planning is only needed for the very wealthy. We can tell you, however, that this is not true. All adults need estate planning. Without a plan in place, your assets may be distributed in accordance with applicable laws, not as you wish. Furthermore, your wishes for your care and your person may not be honored if you are unable to act on your own behalf without estate planning.
We want you to know that we can help you create a Florida estate plan that addresses your current concerns and future needs. Please feel free to contact us to arrange a meeting where we can discuss this in detail. We look forward to speaking with you now or any time in the future.