Estate Planning's FAQ?

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Q1:   Does Estate Planning just mean having a Last Will & Testament?

No.  A Last Will & Testament more commonly referred to as “Will” only provides information on who you want to be your Personal Representative when you die and how you want your estate distributed and still requires a probate administration at your death.

Q2:   What do I need to have in place to make sure my estate doesn’t have to go through probate?

There are many planning options that avoid probate. One of the most commonly discussed is a revocable living trust. It is recommended that you meet with an elder law attorney to discuss your various planning options to avoid probate and whether a trust is appropriate or not for your situation.

Q3:   Is it necessary to update your estate planning documents if they were executed in another state?

It is recommended that you have a Florida licensed elder law attorney review your out of state documents. Each state has different laws, and many times, these documents need to be updated to ensure they have the effect and benefit you desire in your new home state.

Q4:   I am newly married, and my husband and I are just in our late 20’s, do we really need to get Estate Planning Documents?

Yes.  Any time there is a change in your circumstances, i.e.. marriage, divorce, children, death of a spouse you need to be sure you have estate planning documents and that they have been updated to reflect new circumstances.

If either of you were involved in an accident and were not able to make decisions regarding your person or property, your spouse would not be able to make those decisions without a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate or Living Will. 

Q5:   My husband and I have minor children. What do we need to do legally if something happens to both my husband and I to make sure our children are cared for by people we have chosen, and our assets are used for our children’s benefit.

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to implement a revocable trust to ensure your assets are protected for your minor children. In Florida, if a minor child inherits more than $15,000 it requires that a guardian of the property be appointed for that minor child which adds additional legal costs and expenses. Additionally, you want to ensure that you have implemented the appropriate documents to allow you to have input on who the guardian of your minor child(ren) would be if the parents were deceased.

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