Estate planning is a fundamental part of planning and managing your life. It’s taking care of those you love: your spouse, your children, your relatives, your church, your favorite charity, your alma mater, even your pets. Many people say that “estate planning is taking care of your family when you’re no longer here to do it.” While that’s partly true, it overlooks the fact that you may encounter situations other than death that leave you unable to care for your family, either temporarily or long-term.
Who Needs An Estate Plan?
The short answer is “Everyone.” Yes, it’s absolutely true that Florida has laws that will take care of everything if you don’t have a will. But will it take care of everything the way you want it taken care of? And, as mentioned elsewhere, the laws change.
The following is a sample list of estate planning documents you may need.
• Last Will & Testament (Simple Will, Marital Deduction, Pour-Over Will, Complex w/ Trust)
• Revocable Trust
• Irrevocable Trust
• Powers of Attorney (Durable & Limited)
• Health Care (Single & Multiple Surrogates)
• Living Will (End of Life Decisions)
• Charitable Giving (Outright & Trusts)
The process starts by gathering information, and what’s required will vary widely with your life and lifestyle, your assets, and your family situation.
The form that I use to start that information gathering process is here:Estate Planning Worksheet.