What Should I Know If I Am a Beneficiary of a Trust Agreement?

Have you just been informed that you are a beneficiary of a trust agreement? Are you familiar with what a trust is? In the state of Florida trusts are a fundamental part of Florida estate planning, offering a means to protect and manage assets for the benefit of specific individuals or entities. While trusts provide a structured framework for wealth management, it is essential to grasp the rights that beneficiaries hold within this legal arrangement. We would like to familiarize you with the rights that trust beneficiaries possess with a trust agreement and reveal how these rights can shape their interactions with both the trust and its trustees.

1. You, as a trust beneficiary, do have a right to information. Be aware that when the trust becomes active you, as a trust beneficiary, have the right to be kept informed about the trust’s details and operations. Trustees are obligated to provide accurate and complete information, offering insights into trust assets, investments, distributions, and any significant transactions. This transparency ensures that you are aware of the status of the trust and can make informed decisions when requested to do so.

2. You, as a trust beneficiary, may have a right to distributions. You need to know that the primary purpose of a trust is to provide benefits to its beneficiaries. Depending on the terms outlined in the trust document, beneficiaries may have the right to receive distributions, whether those are regular income payments, lump-sum distributions, or other forms of benefits. The provisions of the trust will determine the timing and nature of these distributions but in management of the trust there should be transparency with regard to these potential payments or other forms of distributions.

3. You, as a trust beneficiary, have a right to an accounting. Be mindful that accountability is paramount in trust management. You, as a trust beneficiary, are entitled to an accurate and comprehensive accounting of trust activities. This includes information about the trust’s assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and distributions. This right ensures that trustees are held accountable for their management of the trust and that beneficiaries can verify the trustee’s actions.

4. You, as a trust beneficiary, have a right to challenge. Know that if beneficiaries believe that a trustee has acted improperly or breached their fiduciary duties, they have the right to challenge these actions. When working with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, this might involve filing a lawsuit to rectify the situation, seek damages, or remove an unfit trustee. Beneficiaries’ rights to challenge makes sure that trust assets are managed in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

5. You, as a trust beneficiary, may have the right to terminate or modify.  Finally, be aware that in certain circumstances, beneficiaries may have the right to request the modification or termination of a trust. This could be due to changes in circumstances, the achievement of the trust’s purpose, or other valid reasons. The ability to modify or terminate a trust ensures that the trust’s provisions remain aligned with beneficiaries’ evolving needs and goals which your experienced Florida estate planning attorney can explain to you.

It is important to note that while you, as a trust beneficiary, have rights, trustees also have their own set of responsibilities. Trustees are legally obligated to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, manage trust assets prudently, provide accurate accounting, and carry out the terms of the trust document faithfully.

You, as a trust beneficiary, play a pivotal role in the success and effectiveness of a trust. Understanding the rights bestowed upon beneficiaries within the trust framework is crucial for both beneficiaries and trustees. As a trust beneficiary, knowing your rights empowers you to actively engage in the administration of the trust, ensuring that it serves your best interests and aligns with your financial goals. For trustees, adhering to beneficiaries’ rights is a fundamental aspect of fulfilling your fiduciary duties and maintaining the trust’s integrity.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Do I Need a Florida Durable Power of Attorney If I Am Married?

Do you have a Florida power of attorney? Are you wondering what it is?  A power of attorney (POA) is a legal instrument that grants a person the authority to act on behalf of another person in various matters, including financial and healthcare decisions.  In regard to marriage, are you wondering whether a spouse is automatically granted a power of attorney over the other spouse’s affairs or do they have to complete legal planning? In Florida, as in many other states, the concept of an “automatic” power of attorney for spouses is a misconception that needs clarification.

A Florida power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes one person to act on behalf of another person. The person who is acting is usually referred to as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” while the person creating the document is the “principal.” Be aware that this authority can be broad or limited, covering financial, legal, healthcare, and other specific matters. This Florida estate planning tool allows the agent to make decisions and take actions as outlined in the document. But be aware that a Florida power of attorney does not grant the agent the status of a co-owner or a spouse with automatic decision-making powers.

In addition, you need to realize that a Florida marriage itself does not automatically confer power of attorney rights upon a spouse. Now, of course, marriage does establish a legal relationship with certain inherent rights and responsibilities, but it does not grant automatic authority over the financial and healthcare decisions of a spouse. Therefore, spouses who wish to have this authority must explicitly create a power of attorney document.

So, creating a Florida power of attorney becomes especially important if you want your spouse to be able to have the authority to manage financial matters on your behalf. These financial tasks can include, but not be limited to, tasks such as handling bank accounts, paying bills, managing investments, and even selling property. Without a Florida power of attorney, a spouse has no inherent right to access or control the other spouse’s financial affairs.

Now, there may be another important planning consideration that focuses on durability. Have you heard the term “durable” power of attorney?  In Florida, a durable power of attorney remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. It is particularly important for situations where the principal may be unable to make decisions due to illness, incapacity, or injury.

With all the above said, do you want to avoid potential complications and uncertainties in the future? Then it is essential for you to plan for the future by creating a comprehensive Florida power of attorney with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney. This is especially important for spouses who want to ensure that their partner can act on their behalf if the need arises. Be mindful that waiting until a crisis occurs could lead to legal and logistical challenges as one must have capacity to create this document, making an already difficult situation even more stressful.

To sum up, a spouse does not automatically possess a power of attorney over their partner’s affairs solely due to marriage. It is crucial for individuals to understand that the Florida power of attorney is a separate legal document that must be established intentionally. By proactively creating the appropriate power of attorney documents with their experienced Florida estate planning attorney, couples can ensure they are prepared for unforeseen circumstances and that their wishes will be respected and carried out by their chosen agent.

Your durable power of attorney is a powerful and important tool to add to your estate planning arsenal. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Finding the Right Fiduciary for Your Estate Planning Goals

When you consider the future and your estate, have you realized that a solid foundation is critical for a well written Florida estate plan? It is good to remember that your estate includes not only your wealth, for example: your home, retirement accounts and investments, but equally important it also includes your health and the plans you have for your legacy. You should be confident that with the assistance of your Florida estate planning attorney, you have created the best possible estate plan for yourself and your family. But, what would happen if you did not choose the right fiduciary? Your Florida estate plan may not reach the goals you had intended.

To begin, what exactly is the role of the fiduciary in your Florida estate plan? The fiduciary is the individual you choose to work with your Florida attorney to be sure that your plans are put into action. Selecting a good fiduciary is not difficult, but keep in mind that it should not be a popularity contest within your family. Your fiduciary will have an important role and must have the skills to accomplish your goals.

In addition, your fiduciary will be able to help you manage your wealth, invest wisely and reduce waste and costs. Your fiduciary will also help your estate focus on your legacy goals. In fact, a competent fiduciary can protect what you have now, and even continue to build it when he or she takes over. As you can see, it is critical to find a good fiduciary to take over at a time when you cannot act for yourself.

Now that you know you need to find a good fiduciary, how do you identify someone? Are there certain characteristics and traits you should look for? In the following, we would like to share some important considerations with you including:

    • -Knows personal financial planning goals
    • -Posses significant management and investment experience
    • -Experienced in your specific type of assets
    • -Able to generate reports, accountings, and management assessments
    • -Understands tax planning and charitable planning goals
    • -Can be bonded, if needed
    • -Is available to act when called upon to do so
    • -If requested, can provide tax and retirement planning help
    • -Will manage at a set cost that does not sporadically change
    • -Will stick to your trust’s legacy planning goals
    -Understands the value of working with your estate planning attorney

Now be aware that the above are just a few of the important considerations that need to be made when you begin to think about who should act as the fiduciary of your Florida estate plan.

In addition to choosing the fiduciary who will handle the management of your Florida estate, it is also important to consider the decision maker you want in charge of your health care and day to day needs. Your experienced Florida estate planning attorney will be able to discuss the distinctions, as well as the planning concepts, with you in your meetings.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Ways You Can Prevent In-Home Falls with Practical Tips for Florida Seniors

Are you a senior living in the Sunshine State of Florida? Are you concerned that when Florida senior adults fall it may cause devastating injuries and have long-term effects on the overall health of senior adults, sometimes even death? That being said, however, there is good news! What is the good news? It is that most falls are preventable. As Florida seniors, if you begin with starting some lifestyle adjustments and support from either adult children, friends, neighbors or community helpers you can greatly reduce the risk of falling, and the hip fractures and head injuries that too often result.

Were you aware that because of the serious rise in falls among seniors the National Council on Aging hosts National Fall Prevention Awareness Week, which this month is September 18-22, 2023? During this week there will be a wide range of educational tools and materials for Florida seniors to learn about the impact of senior falls.

As a Florida senior, how can you help yourself or someone you know stay safe from falling? You need to be watching for the following warning signs:

    • -A decline in mental alertness
    • -A recent fall, or near-fall
    • -Vision problems
    • -Balance issues
    • -Frailty and muscular weakness
    -Changes in physical health, such as a recent surgery

You might want to consider exercise support groups that offer evidence-based programs, such as Tai Chi, because these would be excellent preventions to falling. Also, reach out to your physician about setting up screening for osteoporosis. In addition, be sure to discuss whether you take any prescription medications that might cause side effects, like dizziness, which your physician can advise you on managing.

As you age in your own home in Florida, have you looked closely at your environment? Home safety is very important and you can begin measures that will further reduce or eliminate your risk of a fall. The following are ways you can prevent in-home falls with some practical tips:

    • -Improve all lighting both inside and outside your home
    • -Remove rugs or secure the edges to the floor
    • -Fix any broken floorboards, cracked pavement and other uneven surfaces
    • -Rearrange furniture to create wide walkways
    • -Remove any and all clutter and small objects from the floor
    -Add grab bars to bathtubs, stairways and toilet areas

Keep in mind, if you do fall outside your home, it is strongly recommended that you contact a qualified Florida elder care attorney and learn about your rights. Falls outside the home are sometimes caused by negligence and there is little anyone at any age can do to prevent them. Recouped monies may be needed to pay for expensive medical care.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Key Estate Planning Tips for Consideration in Digital Asset Management

Are you aware that in this digital age, Florida estate planning has become more complex? One reason is because of the increasing presence of digital assets that need to be planned for. What do we mean by digital assets? Digital assets refer to any form of content or information that exists in a digital format and holds value to individuals or businesses. Know that these assets encompass a wide range of items, including online accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, digital photos and videos, intellectual property, and more.

It is important to recognize that the value of digital assets can be both financial and sentimental. By working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney you can include provisions for the management, distribution, or preservation of these assets in your estate plan to ensure that your digital legacy is properly created. Because of their unique nature, digital assets may require more strategic planning which your experienced Florida estate planning attorney may assist you with. 

Now, as digital assets continue to become both more complex and more prevalent, we have a few key estate planning tips in digital asset management that we share with many of our clients today.

  1. You need a detailed inventory. You need to begin by creating an inventory of all your digital assets. You should have a list of all your platforms, accounts, and any associated login credentials. It is important to keep this inventory updated and stored securely.
  1. You need to review the terms of service for each of your assets. We know that this is a constantly evolving area and can be subject to change at any time, usually at the sole discretion of the company that created the digital asset. So be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms of service and user agreements of the platforms where your digital assets reside. Be aware that some platforms have specific provisions regarding the transfer or management of accounts upon the user’s death or incapacity although this is not the norm.
  1. You need to give authority to your agent, your personal representative, and your trustee. You need to be sure that each of these three individuals, or one individual depending on the nature of your Florida estate plan, has the specific written authority to manage and dispose of your digital assets. 
  1. You need to create a central password manager for digital assets that are in your Florida estate plan. You could think about using password manager applications to securely store and manage your login credentials. Under the guidance of your Florida estate planning attorney you may want to go a step further and provide your future decision maker with the necessary access credentials to this central password manager account. While this will include usernames and passwords, it may also include two-factor authentication methods.
  1. You need to specify digital asset distribution. You need to work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to clearly outline your wishes for the distribution or disposal of specific digital assets in your Florida estate plan. This can include transferring ownership, deleting accounts, or preserving certain assets for sentimental or historical purposes.
  1. You need to regularly review, update, and manage your digital accounts. Digital assets and online platforms evolve rapidly as opposed to the ownership and access to more traditional assets such as real property. You need to regularly review and update your Florida estate plan to reflect any changes in your digital asset inventory, platforms, or preferences. 

By incorporating these key estate planning tips in digital asset management, you can better manage and protect your digital assets, ensuring that your digital legacy is handled according to your wishes. Remember, working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney in this area is critical to remain up-to-date with changing laws and technologies that could impact your goals for your digital assets.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Safeguarding Your Legacy by Avoiding Common Mistakes in Will Creation

Did you know that creating a last will and testament is an essential and often overlooked aspect of responsible lifetime planning? It is a testament to your lifelong efforts to provide for yourself and those you love most. When you take the time to develop not only a last will and testament but an estate plan, you are ensuring that your hard-earned assets and cherished possessions are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away and that there are protections in place to take care of you in the event of incapacity during your lifetime.

A well-crafted Florida estate plan must be clear, specific, and unambiguous to avoid confusion and potential conflicts both during your life and at the time of your passing. Vague language or poorly articulated instructions could leave room for interpretation, leading to disagreements and estrangements among family members or other beneficiaries. 

Unfortunately, many individuals make the critical mistake of attempting to create a will without seeking professional guidance from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. 

Consulting with a Florida estate planning attorney allows you to express your wishes precisely and in a legally enforceable manner, leaving no room for doubt. Deciding to create a Florida estate plan is a life changing decision. When you decide to be proactive and not only make a Florida estate plan to create your legacy but also to protect those you love during your lifetime and at the time of your passing, you are setting intentions to protect your future. While creating a last will and testament is an essential part of your Florida estate planning, it is crucial to do so correctly to ensure your final wishes and goals can not only be reached but are carried out smoothly. 

Unfortunately, many individuals make the critical mistake of attempting to create a will without seeking professional guidance from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. Although the notion of creating a do-it-yourself last will and testament might appear attractive due to its potential cost-saving allure, it can ultimately result in substantial legal and financial entanglements in the future. On the other hand, entrusting the task to an experienced Florida estate planning attorney proves invaluable as she brings her expertise to the table. By skillfully navigating the complexities of the legal landscape, your Florida estate planning attorney can ensure that your entire Florida estate plan remains not only legally sound but also thoughtfully designed to mitigate any potential disputes and alleviate tax burdens on both your beloved family members and your lasting legacy.

We know you have questions on how to avoid the biggest mistakes out there when it comes to Florida estate planning. Let us share ways to avoid the biggest mistakes people make when creating not only their Florida will but their Florida estate plan. 

  1. Seeking counsel from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney is paramount. Among the most critical errors individuals make is attempting to craft a will or estate plan without the guidance of a seasoned professional. By consulting with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, you can adeptly navigate the intricate legal intricacies, ensure the plan you develop together is legally valid and binding, and effectively diminish the likelihood of disputes arising following your passing.
  1. Make a habit of regularly updating your Florida estate plan. Life is full of changes, including marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and acquiring new assets. To ensure your Florida estate plan accurately reflects your current desires, it is crucial to periodically review and update it with your Florida estate planning attorney, particularly when significant life events occur. By staying proactive, you can maintain a well-tailored plan that aligns perfectly with your evolving circumstances and wishes.
  1. Always consider contingencies when planning your estate. Collaborate with your Florida estate planning attorney to prepare for various scenarios in the event that your primary beneficiaries pass away before you do. By designating contingent beneficiaries, you guarantee that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, even if the initial beneficiaries are no longer alive. This thoughtful approach to estate planning ensures that your legacy remains intact, regardless of unforeseen circumstances.
  1. Do not forget to include digital assets. In the digital age, it is essential to address your digital assets, such as online accounts, social media profiles, and digital files. Specify how you want these assets to be handled after your death.
  1. Store your will securely. Ensure your Florida will, and your entire Florida estate plan, is kept in a safe place and that your executor and trusted family members know where to find it. A safe deposit box or secure digital storage are good options but discuss with your Florida estate planning attorney to see what is recommended.
  1. Effectively communicate your wishes. Though not a legal obligation, engaging in open discussions about your will and estate plan with your family can significantly mitigate misunderstandings and potential conflicts in the future. Moreover, selecting the appropriate personal representative to manage your estate upon your passing is crucial to ensure a smooth and faithful execution of your wishes. By thoughtfully discussing your plans and choosing a responsible representative, you foster an environment of clarity, trust, and harmony that will safeguard your legacy and bring peace of mind to your loved ones during challenging times. Before you take this step, discuss the pros and cons with your Florida estate planning attorney.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

When Should You Initiate Your Estate Planning Process?

Are you currently living in Florida? Are you healthy, with a growing family, active lifestyle and thriving business? However, have you begun to wonder the following: when should you initiate your estate planning process?   Be aware that a Florida estate plan is a crucial tool for all adults to have. Estate planning allows us to think about what we want for ourselves, our loved ones, our business, and our legacy. Although it addresses what happens at the end of our lives, it is so much more than that. Estate planning makes us answer tough questions including, but not limited to, what would happen if we no longer have the capacity we need to make our own decisions, who do we want in charge of our finances if we are incapacitated or who should be our beneficiaries?

Understanding you need a Florida estate plan is the first step forward to plan for your future. The next step is to ask: When should you initiate the process to create your estate plan? As Florida estate planning attorneys,  we are frequently asked this question and want to share five important events with you. 

  1. When you become an adult. Think your 18th birthday is too young? Think again, it is not!  If you do not have a Florida estate plan in place, there will be no one who has legal authority to make decisions for you in the event you are in a car accident or other crisis. In other words, no one will be able to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, or talk to your doctors. Your Florida estate planning attorney can work with you to create an estate plan that will protect you and let you name the people you want to be in charge of you in a crisis in your documents. Your estate planning attorney can also talk to you about how to create a legacy and plan for a time when you are no longer here.
  1. When you are planning to get married. Marriage is a wonderful event and you will want to plan with the person you love for your life together. It is an opportunity to think about how you want to protect and provide for each other. There is no better way to do that than with a Florida estate plan.  
  1. When you begin to have children.  When you have children, planning becomes even more important. You need to begin to think about and answer questions like: Who should care for my children if something happens to me? When should they inherit? How can I provide for their future if I am no longer here? These are the questions your Florida estate plan can answer when you work with an estate planning attorney. 
  1. If and when you receive an inheritance. It does not matter if you receive a small or large inheritance, it is important to protect it. The person who left you this money may have had clear instructions for you that you want to copy in your own estate plan or you may have inherited through a messy process that you do not want others to go through. Whatever your reason, this is a good time to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney and plan forward. 
  1. When you are beginning to start your own business. It is important that during your start up process to consider all the ways to protect yourself, your family, and your business from what comes next.  Your Florida estate planning attorney can not only help you design your estate plan but may also be able to advise you on your new business.

 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Preparing for Summer Adventures: Essential Estate Planning Checklist for Travelers

Summer is here, are you ready to travel? Are you staying close to home? Or are you traveling to another state or out of the country to spend time with family and friends?  It seems that the travel choices you have now that the pandemic has lessened in its impact are countless. 

Are you vacationing with minor children or grandchildren who need their days planned with adventures or you are looking for adventure, or just getting a change of scenery or traveling to an exotic place with your loved ones? As you begin to prepare your summer adventures, have you added essential Florida estate planning to your checklist? We would like to share below on our blog a Florida estate planning checklist for travelers for you to complete before your summer adventure begins. It will enable you to travel with complete peace of mind.

  1. What about your mail? Be aware that neighbors and friends do not have the legal authority to pick up your mail while you are on your summer vacation. However, if you are gone for extended periods of time you do want someone to pick up your mail. So, under your Florida durable power of attorney, your agent would have the authority to pick up your mail if you were out of town.
  1. What about access to money, cash, and your bank accounts? How do you get access to your money while you are on vacation? Or if you need to make bank transfers? Or if you need to act on a business transaction or sell a piece of property? Your agent, under your Florida durable power of attorney, can be given the legal authority to handle these transactions on your behalf, and even work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to make sure it is handled correctly.
  1. What about health care decisions? While vacationing, if you were injured, unconscious, or seriously harmed to the point where you are incapacitated and not able to make decisions for yourself, who would make your healthcare decisions?  With your healthcare planning in your Florida advanced directives, you can identify not only a primary person to act in your place, but alternative choices in the event they are unable to act as well.
  1. Do you have travel insurance? Most summer travel has the opportunity to be covered by travel insurance and that is a good thing. However, the travel insurance company is not going to speak with someone who does not have legal authority to act on your behalf. Your Florida advanced directives will be a significant help should your travel insurance policy need to be activated by someone other than yourself.
  1. Do you have a plan in an emergency? While traveling, if something serious happens to you, your Florida estate plan will hold all the details of what to do. With the guidance of your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, your agent and your personal representative can work with your attorney to ensure your goals for your person and your legacy are met.

Finally, be sure to ask your experienced Florida estate planning attorney what estate planning documents to bring with you on your summer vacation.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

When Is The Best Time to Complete Your Florida Estate Plan?

Do you have a Florida estate plan? Are you aware that it is a critical tool that all adults living in Florida should have? With a Florida estate plan you can think about what you want for yourself, your loved ones, your business, and your legacy. It is also about more than what happens at the end of your life, although that is an important part of the process. In addition, estate planning also makes you answer the tough questions including, but not limited to, what should happen if you no longer have the capacity you need to make your own decisions.

Now that you understand you need a Florida estate plan to plan for your future, what is next? It may be to answer the question:  When is the best time to complete your Florida estate plan? As Florida estate planning attorneys, we are frequently asked this question. Below we have five very different instances to answer the question about when to create your Florida estate plan.

  1. As soon as you turn 18. Your 18th birthday is definitely not too young to create your Florida estate plan. Without an estate plan in place, there is no one who has legal authority to make decisions for you in the event you are in a car accident or other crisis. That means, no one will be able to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, or talk to your doctors. Your Florida estate planning attorney can work with you to make an estate plan that will protect you and put the people who you want to be in charge of you in place in a crisis. Your Florida estate planning attorney will also talk to you about how to create a legacy and plan for a time when you are no longer here.
  1. As soon as you get married. It is exciting to begin planning for a time when you will share your life with another person. You also want to think about how you will protect and provide for each other. The best way to do that is to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney and have a Florida estate plan created.  
  1. As soon as you have a child.  Planning becomes even more critical when you have children, especially minor children. Who will take care of them if something happens to you? When should they inherit? How will you provide for their future if you are no longer here? These are the questions your excellent and comprehensive Florida estate plan can answer when you work with a qualified Florida estate planning attorney. 
  1. No matter the amount, as soon as you inherit. Whether your inheritance is small or large, it is important to protect it. The person who left you this inheritance may have had clear instructions for you that you want to copy in your own estate plan or you may have inherited through a messy process that you do not want others to go through. No matter your reason, this is an important time to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney and plan ahead. 
  1. As soon as you start a business. As you begin the start up process you need to consider all the ways you should protect yourself, your family, and your business from what comes next.  In fact, your Florida estate planning attorney can help you not only design your Florida estate plan but be able to advise you on your business planning as well.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Estate Planning Tips You Need to Consider When You Have a Recent Cancer Diagnosis

Do you have a Florida estate plan? Estate planning is critical for all of us. From being able to make the early choice of who will be able to care for you in a crisis to who should have legal authority to make decisions when you are incapacitated to, ultimately, deciding who should inherit from you at a time when you’re no longer here, are each important conversations that take place when you work with your Florida estate planning attorney. Although less than half of all Americans today have an estate plan, the importance of it in our daily lives cannot be diminished.

Even though we may choose to ignore the benefits of a Florida estate plan and what it can do for us when we are healthy, we have seen firsthand this concept change dramatically in light of a negative healthcare diagnosis. Know that when we are facing a significant health care issue such as cancer, for example, we start to question what the next chapter of our lives will look like. We need estate planning tips to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Who will pay my bills if I cannot? 
  • Who will make sure I have access to government benefits?
  • Who will make my healthcare decisions if I’m in a coma? 
  • Do I need a living will?
  • Who should inherit from me at the time of my passing?
  • Who will care for my pets?
  • How can I ensure my business continues when I am not here?
  • Who will be able to make sure my bills are paid on time?
  • How can I make sure my family is provided for in my absence?

A Florida estate plan can give you tips to answer these questions, and so many more when it comes to caring for those who you love, planning for your legacy, and providing for yourself.

Your estate plan will allow you to answer lifetime questions in advance. This could include, but is not limited to, choosing trusted decision makers to act for you in a crisis when you no longer have capacity to make your own decisions. You can give legal authority through estate planning tools, such as a power of attorney, to those that you trust as well as name back ups in the event they are not able to act for you when needed.

When you face a diagnosis such as cancer, careful Florida estate planning can also work hand-in-hand with your health care plan. For example, what treatment do you want to receive? What treatment do you not want to receive? What do you wish to see happen in your business? How do you want your minor children to be cared for? How will you pay for this care? And, if you are unable to act for yourself, who should make these decisions for you?

Further, through your Florida estate planning you can also create your legacy. This is more than just the concept of who should inherit from you at the time you pass away. This is your opportunity to share your dreams for those who will inherit from you and the goals for your legacy. Your experienced Florida estate planning attorney can help you define what your legacy looks like and ensure you have a place in a plan in place to reach it.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.