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Estate planning is a crucial part of life that many overlook. It’s important to define who gets your assets when you die, who will take care of minor children, and what happens if the person named in your will becomes incapable of managing them. Estate Planning can be complex and it’s difficult to know where to start—but it doesn’t have to be!

If you die without planning ahead, your loved ones are left with the burden of figuring out how to untangle your affairs and distribute any assets or debts that remain after expenses. Estate Planning is a process that can take many forms; from drafting a will, establishing trusts and other legal entities, naming beneficiaries and executors for these trusts, executing powers of attorney so someone else can manage your financial affairs if you’re unable to do so yourself – even choosing an appropriate funeral service provider.

Our Florida estate planning attorney has come up with the top ten things everyone should know to protect themselves and their families through estate planning.

1. Estate Planning Basics

Estate planning is a process of creating legal documents to organize your assets and property after you pass. Wills, trusts, LLCs, and power of attorney are some examples.

2. Estate Planning is Not Just For The Wealthy

It is a common misconception that only the wealthy need to create an estate plan. Estate planning can be for anyone who has assets or wishes to protect them. People often think of estate planning as something they will do when they are older, but it is important for everyone regardless of age.

3. What to Include in Your Will

Most of the time, people think that a will is just about money. But in reality, it’s much more than that–it’s about your legacy and how you want to be remembered after death.

A will begins by listing the names of all the beneficiaries who are going to receive something from your estate when you die. The executor of your estate (the person who manages it) also has to be named so they can follow through on the instructions in your will once you’re gone. Finally, any assets or property should be listed before giving specific instructions as to what each beneficiary should get from this list.

4. Why You Might Want a Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement where one person, known as the “trustee,” holds property or money on behalf of someone else, called a “beneficiary.” The trustee takes care of and manages that property for the beneficiary. A trust can be created by just about anyone- an individual, business entity (such as a corporation), or even another trust.

If you have a child with special needs, an attorney can help you create a special needs trust to take care of your child’s needs without risking their government benefits.

5. When should I update My Estate Plan?

There are many things that can change from year to year: a new marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild. Your life changes as time goes on and so does your estate plan. So, what’s the best time to make updates?

The answer depends on an individual person’s situation and needs but typically attorneys recommend updating an estate plan every 2 years if there have been no substantial changes in your life.

When you update your will, trust, or other documents with your attorney, you are giving yourself peace of mind that your family and loved ones will be taken care of should something happen to you.

6. Understanding Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that allows an individual to designate another person to take care of their affairs if they become incapacitated. The person designated as the individual’s agent is called an “attorney-in-fact.” A power of attorney may be limited in scope and authority, or it may be broad enough to cover every aspect of the principal’s life. There are many different types of powers of attorneys, including durable, springing, special, medical and general.

7. Choosing an Executor

It is not an easy task to decide who will be the executor for your estate. You want someone you trust, with good judgment and a strong work ethic. It’s important that they are organized, have time to dedicate, and know how to deal with different people.

8. Where to Store Your Original Estate Planning Documents

There are some who believe that storing them in a safety deposit box at the bank is best, while others feel it’s better to store them with their attorney so they can be called upon if needed. Still, others prefer to keep them in a fireproof container at home, or even just on the bookshelf for easy access. Regardless of your choice, someone needs to know (1) that they exist, and (2) where to find them in the event of your death.

9. Consult With An Estate Lawyer To Determine Which Type Of Plan Best Suits Your Needs

Estate planning is a crucial process that many people neglect. It’s important to have the necessary documents and precautions in place before you die so your family doesn’t suffer through the legal confusion of settling your estate after you’re gone. We can help. If you’re looking for legal assistance with estate planning, please contact our law firm today.