In Florida, we are all very familiar with hurricane season and the occasional need to prioritize preparation for the oncoming storm. We anticipate there will be dangers, difficulties, and various types of damage to address after the event—and we prepare accordingly. Estate planning in Florida shares many similarities with hurricane season, except the storm is inevitable, the season is all year long, and it can hit at any time.
At the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A., we are here to help you and your loved ones prepare to weather the oncoming yet unpredictable storms that life and aging throw at us. Your well-being, your assets, and your family legacy are at stake, but there are several concrete steps you can take to prepare for these challenges and prevent financial disasters. Below we’ll address some essential steps to prepare your Disaster Prevention Kit for Estate Planning. Contact us to schedule a consultation and take preventive action.
Prepare an Estate Planning Kit Detailing Your Financial and Legal Wishes
What are your preferences and intentions for your assets? Who should gain ownership of your belongings, and who should make the important decisions in the case of your incapacity or death? Listing your wishes can help to identify your needs and goals that may not already be addressed in your estate plan.
Do you have loved ones who need to ask or be asked the same questions? We’re not growing any younger, and there are steps we all need to take to prepare for what the future will bring. Our personal approach involves listening carefully to your wishes, and in these matters, your loved ones and your family are all connected. We care about helping you secure your legacy.
Take an Inventory of the Financial Assets You Own
How are your financial assets titled? Do they have beneficiary designations? This is an area where you can often take actions to determine what will happen in an unforeseen contingency scenario.
During this step, you’ll prepare a list of your financial assets, and then you will identify outstanding tasks for each to ensure they are titled appropriately, with appropriate beneficiaries designated where applicable. We can review your list to verify these components of your estate are prepared for any unforeseen or unfortunate circumstances.
Review Your Insurance Coverages with Long-Term Care In Mind
The majority of people underestimate the cost of aging. If you lack long-term care insurance, you will either end up self-funding an illness or relying on a broken Medicaid system. Under your current coverage, how would you afford treatment if you would require assistance with basic activities through either at-home treatment, an assisted-care living facility, or a full-time nursing facility?
If you don’t have an answer or a plan, then this is one area we will need to address before you need it. You should be intentional about your strategy for covering the costs of aging, dealing with unexpected illnesses, and managing retirement expenses. Your lack of preparation can lead to intense frustration for yourself and your loved ones. An experienced estate planning attorney can discuss your options with you and guide you to start planning appropriately.
Keep Your Documents in a Safe Place
Your important legal documents need to be in a place where they will not be lost, damaged, or stolen. The people closest to you should also know where to find them. For example, you may have a particular dresser drawer where you file your Will.
Similarly, you may use a similar method to store your important account information, beneficiary details, medical documentation, contact information for your attorney, and info on contacts you may have designated as your agent or backup agent in a Power of Attorney. While it may be wise to keep this information in a locked drawer or safe, you should be sure to communicate this location to a select group of trusted people.
Regularly Review Your Estate Planning Documents
One of the biggest disasters you can face is not having an estate plan at all, or having one that is out-of-date and doesn’t work when you need it to. Risks can include family fighting, financial devastation, and becoming a “ward of the state” whereby someone you don’t know is managing your affairs.
Changes happen constantly in life. Close relationships change, and loved ones divorce or pass away unexpectedly. The implications of your estate planning documents may change accordingly, and your own situation and priorities may be different than when these documents were drafted. With all of these considerations in mind, we can discuss what may need to be updated.
Identify Where Your Preparation is Lacking
Much like a hurricane in Florida can lead to issues involving property management, the possibility of incapacitation or death, and various implications for your children and your extended family, inevitable events in each of our lives threaten disasters that pose risks to our loved ones and our legacies. The good news is that we can take preparatory actions to limit or control the effects of these powerful forces.
Is your Last Will and Testament current? Do you have the appropriate trusts drafted and funded? Have you prepared an Advance Health Care Directive? Let’s discuss your questions so you can be prepared for the storms life throws your way.
The Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson Can Help You Address Your Florida Estate Planning Needs
Would your estate plan be ready tomorrow? Do you know what would happen? This is a good mental exercise to take, which can help you better prepare for and even direct the real-life consequences. Your next step is to work with a qualified and experienced Florida estate planning attorney.
Being prepared for life’s challenges means having your estate plan updated and ready for action. We are your family’s resource for estate planning in Florida. Call today to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson in Palm Harbor, FL at (727) 351-7057, or fill out our online form.
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