Many people in Florida and across the country seem to have a morbid association with the process of writing a will or planning an estate, and this seems to generate a lot of needless anxiety. So much anxiety, that they put off the process much longer than they should.
Estate planning shouldn’t be about facing your mortality, but rather about taking control. Estate planning is simply the process of being ready to handle life’s unpredictable twists and turns.
By planning your estate now you are placing your family in the best possible position to confront your eventual absence or incapacity, rather than leaving your family in a reactive mode when it is too late, and at the worst possible time, when they are scared and racked with grief at their loss. Don’t let your loved ones be caught off-guard and unprepared.
Don’t wait. Make a plan now – you can always change it later if you change your mind or your family or financial situation changes. Having a well-prepared plan in place that outlines your specific instructions for your estate and establishes protections for your family can go a long way to ensuring you and your family have peace of mind moving forward. It’s one of the most considerate things you can do for your loved ones to show them you care.
So many people say “I’m not rich. I have no estate to plan.” A common misconception of “estate planning” is that it is something only really wealthy people do or need.
Not so! No matter how large or or small your estate may be, you can’t take it with you when you pass away. In fact, good planning is often more important to families with modest assets that can afford to lose the least.
Estate planning is also not just for “retired” people. Accidents and illness can happen at any time, at any stage of your life. And because we can’t predict how long we will live, it’s important to have an estate plan in place sooner rather than later to ensure your best interests and wishes are protected and honored.
Estate planning isn’t just something for married couples. Some couples choose to not (or are not allowed to by law) marry and live in a long-term committed relationship.
If you are in a long-term committed or same-sex relationship and would like to provide for your partner upon your death or would like your partner to make decisions regarding your care in the event you become incapacitated, it is imperative that you plan your estate. Likewise, a single person must designate his or her heirs and the persons in charge of making health care decisions on his or her behalf, or the state will decide.
If you have loved ones or thoughts as to how your affairs should be conducted if you become incapacitated or pass away, then estate planning is for you.
In reality, everyone’s “estate” will be planned at some point, either by the individual or by the state. Unfortunately, you make not like what the state has planned for you.
If you become mentally incapacitated, and you own assets in your name alone, the court, and not your family, will control how your assets are used for your care through a guardianship. It can become quite expensive and time-consuming for your family to deal with, it is a matter of public record, and it can be difficult to end, even if you recover.
If you pass away without an intentional estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to Florida’s probate laws. This may not be the way you would have intended.
Who is going to keep your prized record collection? What about that special family heirloom watch? Do you want your family fighting over this stuff?
More importantly, who is going to take care of your minor children if both of you and your spouse pass away unexpectedly? Wouldn’t you like to have a say in who will take care of them and raise them? Do you want to let a judge decide without any knowledge of who you would have chosen if given the chance?
For many people, dictating who gets what and when, and handling matters privately amongst the family instead of in the courtroom, makes sense. You or your family can take the affirmative step of taking control of the process while living or allow the state to make choices for you, on much less favorable (and more expensive) terms, after your death or incapacity. The choice is always yours.
I offer comprehensive, tax-sensitive estate planning specifically tailored to meet the needs and goals of my clients. I utilize advanced estate and tax planning strategies to maximize my clients’ tax savings while accomplishing their desires and objectives. I can help you with the following:
At Mosley Estate Law PA, I help individuals and businesses handle a wide range of tax and estate planning matters, from the simple to the complex.