Estate planning, especially the crafting of a legal will, is one of the most important financial decisions a person can make. A well-thought out will can help ensure that loved ones are protected after a person’s death. Do it now, no matter your age.
Estate planning involves laying out your assets and deciding who will receive them after you die. It also can involve financial, tax, medical and business planning.
In addition to asset distribution, a will can help you guide who will care for your minor children in the event you are killed, and you can dictate whether you want to be buried or cremated. That is one reason it’s important for parents with young children to have a will in place soon after a child is born. A will should be amended with each child who is added to the family.
It’s a myth that only wealthy people a will; anyone who owns property, including a house or car, should have an estate plan in place. If your estate is small, decide who should manage your estate, pay your last debts and handle the distribution of your assets. If you have a large estate, you should consider how to preserve your assets for loved ones and look at tax options to help your relatives avoid headaches while your estate is being settled.
No matter the size of your estate, your first steps should determine, among other things:
- Your assets and their approximate value
- Who will receive those assets and when
- Who should manage those assets if you die or become incapacitated
- Who should be responsible for guardianship of minor children
- If you want any assets donated to charity
- If you want the will to include a trust that can help care for children
In Florida, a person only needs to be 18 to have a will in place. When there is no will, Florida’s probate courts appoint someone who may or may not be known to you, to manage your estate. The subsequent cost of probate court might cause hardship for your loved ones.
Estate planning, including a will, is a must for people of all ages and incomes. Don’t wait. Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer today.
Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.