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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Estate Planning: Is My Will Enough?

You took the plunge and created a will.  Now you may find yourself asking, is your will sufficient to protect your assets and heirs after your death?  The answer varies depending on your finances, your familial situation, and your ultimate desires as to your legacy. Making a will is an important first step for many. While it will represent the end of the estate planning journey for some, others use their will as a launching point to create a more comprehensive estate plan that allows them to save on taxes, direct the use of their funds, and much more.

Protect Yourself With Your Estate Plan

A will allows you to name who will receive your assets, which is critically important, but it does not protect you as you age. There are several additional estate planning documents you should have in place to protect you in case you become incapacitated. A medical and financial power of attorney should be used by every Floridian. With these documents, you can name an individual who will take control over your medical or financial decisions if you are found to be incompetent.

An advance medical directive is a simple document that dictates some major decisions. With an advance medical directive, you will have a say in your end of life care. You can decide in advance what measures you want taken if you find yourself critically ill. For many, these are personal decisions that you do not want to leave to the desires of others.

Transfer Your Assets Efficiently

A will accomplishes the goal of transferring your assets to your named loved ones, but it does so in a rather inefficient manner. A will must go through probate in court, which is costly and time consuming. There are several ways to better transfer your assets, particularly if you have significant property holdings.  

One such tool used by many to avoid probate is a trust.  Assets that you transfer into a trust will go to your named recipients without the need for probate.  A trust will place your assets in the hands of your loved ones swiftly and without the financial costs that come with probate.  Another tool to consider is a transfer on death deed. This deed allows you to name a beneficiary who will receive your real estate holdings upon your death without going through probate.  Your estate planning attorney can explore all of these options with you to achieve the most effective estate plan for you and your family.


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