It always seems like you have more time until you don’t. Your family depends on you to watch out for their best interests. If you don’t have a legally binding plan in place, they could suffer financial consequences.
Wills, trusts, and probate matters are among the more complex legal matters out there, but you don’t have to do this by yourself. A Titusville wills, trusts, and probate attorney can help you with estate planning. A lawyer can help you prepare for the future should you be unable to make decisions or in the event, you pass away.
Understanding Estate Planning in Florida
No one wants to think about his or her death, but it’s important to plan for it to protect your family from financial issues after you are gone. Planning your estate doesn’t mean you’re dying tomorrow, it just means your estate will be ready. Estate planning is for everyone—not just for the old or rich.
In addition, completing a last will and testament allows your final wishes to be adhered to; otherwise, everyone just has to guess as to what you want to be done. For example:
- Always wanted your daughter to have the heirloom necklace? You will need to document your wishes legally so they are binding.
- Want your children taken in by your brother in the event of your death? You will have to put this in writing or they could go to someone else in the family.
- Want your partner to get the business? It must be documented so your family knows what your wishes are.
To consult with an experienced wills, trusts and probate lawyer serving Titusville, call 855-780-9986
Benefits of Estate Planning
Estate planning benefits you and your family in many ways:
- Your wishes are documented and honored after your death.
- Prevents family arguments from occurring due to confusion over your financial plans, property distribution, or wishes for custody matters involving minor children.
- A well-planned estate means your family won’t have to deal with a lengthy probate process, wasting time and money, causing stress, and tying up financial resources.
- This is your chance to say goodbye at the end of your life and tie up loose ends.
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What Is a Last Will and Testament?
A last will and testament is a legal document that captures a person’s last wishes involving the distribution of their assets. For instance, you may want all of your assets to go to one family member, or you may want your assets split up in very specific ways amongst multiple family members. Some people leave assets to charity or their church.
This document allows you to have a final say in the distribution of your property and financial resources. It also allows you to document plans involving custody of any dependents or animals.
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What Is a Living Will?
A living will is different from a last will and testament in that it plans what is to be done when a person is in an end-of-life situation but still alive. This document plans for things like:
- Artificial resuscitation
- Mechanical respiration
- Artificial nutrition and hydration
- Pain relief
You may have heard of a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, a living will documents all of the requests for end-of-life care and treatment. A living will allows a person’s wishes to be followed when they are incapacitated and no longer capable of making decisions.
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What Is a Revocable Trust?
Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) allows for individuals to set up a revocable living trust, which is when a person allows a trustee to carry out the wishes of the trust maker. “Revocable” simply means the grantor can cancel the trust at any time. In many ways, a living trust is similar to a last will and testament.
A wills, trusts, and probate attorney can help you understand these legal documents so you can decide upon a plan for your estate.
Understanding Probate in Florida
After someone dies, their assets must be distributed according to their wishes if they have a will. Even when a person does not have a will, their assets will likely be distributed amongst family members and beneficiaries. Probate is the legal process of settling a person’s estate after they die.
When a person has a will, the probate process can be simpler. A judge can examine a person’s will to determine if it’s valid. They can then order asset distribution according to the will as well as resolve any other issues, such as custody of minor children.
When a person doesn’t have a will or has a large estate, the process can be more complex. In these cases, probate matters can drag on for months or even years. If family members have disputes over property or custody of children, probate can be a huge hassle.
There are ways to prevent assets from being tied up in probate:
- Have a detailed estate plan that allows your wishes to be carried out
- Clear documentation prevents disputes over property
- Outline a clear path forward after your death
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Estate Planning?
A wills, trusts, and probate lawyer will document all of your end-of-life wishes, which could include funeral and burial plans, healthcare directives, power of attorneys, custody of dependents arrangements, and asset distribution. They can also help with insurance matters, such as documenting life insurance beneficiaries.
Since this can be an intimidating legal situation to deal with on your own, a lawyer can guide you through the process of setting up your estate. They can file your legal documents with the appropriate court and keep records of legal documentation so that your wishes are not lost.
Seek Help From a Titusville Wills, Trusts, and Probate Lawyer
Many people put off completing their last will and testament because it seems overwhelming but you can make the process of estate planning easier by getting help. A lawyer can assist you with the entire estate planning process which will allow you to have your wishes documented and help dependents feel secure.
Bogin, Munns & Munns has 40+ years of serving central Florida and our team is here to help you with your legal needs. Contact us today to set up an estate planning appointment.
Call or text 855-780-9986 or complete our Request a Consultation form