The Importance of Having an Estate Plan
Sometimes thinking about the future can be scary. No one wants to think about what will happen when they’re no longer around. You may be hesitant to engage in estate planning, but it’s important to remember that estate planning is there to protect your loved ones after you die or to plan for when you may no longer be able to make decisions for yourself. There are a number of important things that can be accomplished through careful estate planning, including:
Naming Guardians to Care for Minor Children
Nobody thinks they’re going to die young, but if you are the parent of small children you have to think about all possibilities.
If you die without a surviving spouse, then a guardian will have to be appointed to take care of your children. If you want to make the decision about who raises your children after your death, it’s important to put a provision in a will naming that person. This can also be helpful in preventing any family discord.
Protecting Your Beneficiaries
You may feel that you’re not a wealthy person with millions of dollars in assets. You don’t have to be super-rich to have valuable assets. Chances are that you own a home and some other assets that you want to pass on to those you love.
Without a will, the state gets to decide who your beneficiaries are. If you have specific people you want to leave your assets to after you die, it is critical to name those individuals in a will.
Without a will, the process to determine beneficiaries can be a long drawn out court battle. It can also get ugly. The courts don’t know which sibling took care of their parents and who is estranged from the family. A court will apply Florida’s Intestate Succession Law and make the decision about who receives your assets.
Preventing Family Fights
The squabbling among family members can get ugly when someone dies. One sibling may feel that they are owed more than another for a variety of reasons. This can also come about if you become mentally incapacitated. You can eliminate fighting over who gets to control your money if you have carefully laid out instructions in your estate plan. This way you can ensure your assets are handled the way you want them to be and this can go a long way toward preventing fighting in the family.
Protect Your Assets
In some cases, estate planning can be helpful in credit protection and avoiding a big tax bill when you die. You want to be sure that your assets transfer to your beneficiaries with as little tax burden to them as possible. This can usually be accomplished with careful estate planning.
Planning for Your Own Needs
An estate plan not only helps you when you die, but it can also be very helpful in determining how things are handled if you become incapacitated or can’t make decisions for yourself. You can designate a health care surrogate and establish a power of attorney in the event you need someone to make decisions for you.
If you are ready to plan your estate or if you have questions about the estate planning process, the attorneys at Mickey Keenan, P.A.are here to help. Call us at 813-871-1300 to set up your free consultation today with Attorney Elaine McGinnis and bring peace of mind to you and your family members.