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Do I need an estate planning attorney?

None of us know what the future holds. Creating an estate plan is about preparing for the unknown. A good estate plan will protect your loved ones, your assets, and yourself in the event of a serious injury, incapacity, or death. Your estate plan is about a lot more than just dividing up your assets. With your estate plan, you can ensure your spouse, children, or other loved ones are cared for, while also knowing that your last wishes will be respected and honored. An estate plan is critically important for all of us, and the good news is making an estate plan is a fairly simple process. Our Tampa estate planning lawyers discuss the three steps to a successful estate plan below.

Step 1: Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

In the days of YouTube and LegalZoom it may seem rational to simply go online and make your own estate plan. While it is possible to create your own will using resources online, it is far from advisable. Estate planning is a complicated legal matter. Making your own estate plan would be akin to diagnosing and treating yourself for a major illness. When it comes to dealing with a complex legal issue that could have significant repercussions on your loved ones and your assets, it is best to defer to an attorney who has the degree and years of experience in the field. Start your estate planning process off right by contacting an estate planning lawyer with a good reputation in your area.

Step 2: Prepare your Will or Trust

Every estate plan will involve the creation of either a will or trust, or both of these documents. A will ensures your assets will go to the heirs you wish. In it, you can also name a guardian for your minor child in the event of your death. A trust allows for ease of transfer of the assets within it without the need for probate. Your trust will limit estate taxes and gives greater flexibility in dispersing your assets to your heirs, allowing you to, for instance, spread out distributions.

Step 3: Creating a Power of Attorney

If you become incapacitated due to a physical or mental ailment, you will want a person you trust to have the power to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf. With a power of attorney for finances and healthcare, you can name a trusted individual to make decisions for you only if you have been deemed incapacitated. You can also set out your end of life wishes in an advance directive so that your healthcare power of attorney knows your desires and ensures they are followed to the letter. Get started making these and other essential estate planning documents today so that you can rest easy knowing your affairs are in order.