If you have reached the age of majority in Florida, it is generally a good idea to have an estate plan. Of course, there are several variables that you’ll need to take into account when determining the appropriate structure of your plan. For instance, if you’re a college student, it’s unlikely that you’ll need anything much more than a will. However, if you’re a parent, it may be a good idea to have a will, trust and power of attorney documents.
Do you own property?
Regardless of how much you’re worth, any assets that you own need to be accounted for in your estate plan. In many cases, bequeathing property to beneficiaries through a will should be sufficient to meet your needs. However, if you want to protect items from being seized by creditors, it might be best to place them in a trust. Bank accounts, brokerage accounts and retirement accounts can generally be transferred through the use of beneficiary designations.
Do you have any health issues?
As you age, there is a greater risk that you’ll experience a decline in cognitive function. There is also a greater risk that you will experience medical issues that could leave you temporarily incapacitated. Including a power of attorney as part of your estate plan allows you to appoint someone to manage your affairs when you can’t do so on your own.
Do you want to avoid probate?
There are many estate planning tools that may be available to help you avoid probate. For instance, you can place assets in a living trust so that they are held outside of your estate. Gifting assets prior to your death may also allow your estate to bypass probate after you die.
An estate planning attorney may be able to provide the guidance that you need to effectively manage your assets. Counsel can review a will, trust or other documents to ensure that they conform to state law.