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The unexpected can happen at any time, and you want to have a proper estate plan in place that protects your loved ones, yourself, and your hard-earned property and assets. No adult is too young to have an estate plan, and you do not need significant wealth to warrant an estate plan. Estate planning addresses much more than passing on your wealth, as it also ensures that you have proper care should a severe injury or illness occur.
Whether you need to create an estate plan from scratch or amend an existing plan, our team is ready to help. We handle wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other important documents. We can also assist families with the probate process if they recently lost a loved one.
Estate planning is an essential step that all adults with assets or children need to take. While it’s easy to put off, it’s not less crucial. By meeting with an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer, you can learn more about your estate planning options and determine which ones might be right for you and your family. With a legally binding will in place, your death can be much easier and less costly for your loved ones.
Estate planning involves using a careful selection of legal documents, which can range from executing a simple will to drafting and executing several inter-related legal documents which will be modified over time. However, since the jargon tends to be confusing to those investigating and preparing an estate plan, it’s crucial to briefly identify the type of legal documents, including testamentary documents, which may be available for your use and explain their purpose.
Testamentary documents are other legal documents that may have been inoperable during your lifetime, but they become effective at death.
Last will and testament: This document allows everyone to direct where their assets will be distributed at death, after payment of their debts and last expenses. Without this document, the decedent’s assets are distributed according to Florida state law, which may not coincide with the individual’s wishes. This is called “intestacy,” as someone who dies with a will is said to die “testate.” A will also gives you the power to determine who will be the guardian of your minor children and who will act as a personal representative, formally known as the “executor” of the probate estate. You can generally revoke or amend your will at any time, as long as you are competent, and the legal requirements of execution are followed.
Codicil: A formal amendment to the terms of your will. They typically only address a minor modification or circumstantial change.
A pour-over will: Directs the distribution of a decedent’s assets to be administered by a Trust, usually an inter vivos trust previously established by the deceased.
Living trusts: They are first operational at death, and death can significantly impact the legal status and administration of the trust.
Other contracts: Some property passes at death not via a will or form of ownership but instead by operation of a previously signed written contract or agreement. Examples include insurance policies designating an individual as a beneficiary or pension or other benefit plans which do the same.
Buy-sell agreements: Restrictive agreements that may contain a provision requiring the purchase, sale, or redemption of corporate stock or other closely held interests upon death. This can either be at a previously set or a specifically determinable price.
Power of appointment: A specialized estate planning tool that allows one person to empower another individual to determine who will receive specific assets originally belonging to the first individual. This can be exercisable otherwise, but it’s typically used in an individual’s last will and testament. The power to appoint may be unlimited, or it can be restricted among several individuals. For instance, a mother can give her son a power of appointment to be exercised between her grandchildren. In doing so, she postpones the final decision on the share of distribution until her son’s likely later death. Then he may appoint by his will how the assets should be split up between the grandchildren.
When you meet with a Tampa estate planning lawyer, it’s essential that you discuss your desires for your estate after your death. Armed with this knowledge, your attorney can help you choose the estate planning tools that will best serve you in meeting your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions from our Clients
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning allows for the transfer of someone’s property after they die. It can involve a will, trust, or the application of state intestacy laws. Estate planning gives each person the opportunity to decide exactly who should benefit from their estate and by how much. It also prevents the estate from being destroyed by taxes imposed on the transfer of assets at the owner’s death.
Your estate includes all the property you own at death before it is distributed according to a will, trust, or intestacy laws. An estate often contains both real property (including houses, vacation rentals, and investment properties) and personal property (all other property, such as bank accounts, securities, automobiles, and jewelry).
When Should You See an Estate Planning Attorney?
The services offered by Tampa estate planning attorneys aren’t just for elderly Americans. They are for adults of any age. If you have assets, you should have a plan for what will happen to them when you die. Failing to draft a plan with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney can make your death a lot harder on your family members. Dying without an estate plan will require your estate to go through a lengthy and costly probate court process, one that can be both financially and emotionally draining on those you love. Anyone with children should also meet with an estate planning attorney, as should anyone who needs to make changes to their estate plan.
Get Help from an Experienced Tampa Estate Planning Attorney Today
Tampa estate planning lawyers at Mickey Keenan, PA, provide preliminary and comprehensive estate planning consultations. We can help you assess your property and assets while reviewing your options for their disposal upon your death. Our attorneys take pride in their knowledge and ability to explain these often-confusing options to our clients. We want everyone to be very well-informed about the tools they can use for estate planning and the pros and cons of each. At the end of the day, it’s your decision how to manage your estate. We are here to ensure you have the best up-to-date legal information and to support informed decisions. Our team can also help with the enforcement of wills during probate and updating your will.
Give us a call today at 813-871-1300 or contact us to schedule a consultation with a seasoned Tampa estate planning lawyer.