Update your will, advanced directives, and trust by calling Palm Harbor, FL estate attorney at (727) 361-9302.
So, you’re ahead of the pack and already have an estate plan in place with your estate planning attorney. Nice work! Now, you can rest easy, knowing that you’ve already named your beneficiaries, planned for late-life care, and established a trust for your assets.
Oh, but wait—did you say that you developed your estate plan fifteen years ago and haven’t looked at it since? Did you live in another state fifteen years ago? Was your primary beneficiary your now ex-partner? (Oops—that must have slipped through the cracks during the breakup.) Do you have new beneficiaries? Have you been considering a green, eco-friendly funeral?
Well, it’s high time to visit your estate planning attorney to review your estate plan. It’s likely that some of your information needs updating! If it’s been a while since you looked at your estate plan, you also may need a new estate planning lawyer. Before you search for “estate attorney near me” on your favorite web browser, consider which documents may require revisions. Did you write a will or establish a trust?
What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust in Florida?
A last will and testament is a document that names beneficiaries of specific assets at the time of your death, as well as naming guardians of minor children or adults who require additional care. A will requires probate, and as such, it can take much longer for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance.
A trust is an instrument that provides legal protection for your assets and can help you avoid probate. When you create a trust, you can transfer assets such as your home or money into the trust. You would designate an individual to manage the trust in the event of your passing or incapacity. A trust also offers additional privacy regarding the total value of your assets, which a will does not provide.
Do I Need to Assign Power of Attorney?
Have you ever had a family member affected by a stroke, dementia, or brain damage due to physical trauma? Did they have a named power of attorney (POA) as part of their estate plan? If you’ve experienced the stress of trying to provide care for an incapacitated family member without a durable power of attorney, you may well understand the need to name a POA for yourself.
A durable power of attorney allows for your named POA to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Your representative can determine your medical care, living arrangements if you require advanced care in an assisted living facility, sale of your home or car if necessary, and use of your insurance or Social Security benefits to pay for your care.
What Are Advance Directives?
As we age, we realize that we’re not as capable of doing everything that we once were able to do (or at least thought we were). Advanced directives in your estate plan can help you maintain your autonomy and continue to live the life you want, safely, without burdening your family.
Advanced directives allow you to decide now what kind of health or medical care you want should you become incapacitated in the future. You can also name a health care surrogate to make additional medical decisions about your care if you require more involved planning for long-term care.
How Often Should I Review My Estate Plan?
You should review your estate plan at least once per year. Additionally, review your estate plan any time you encounter any significant life changes, such as moving to another state, getting married or divorced, having a child, or when you have a death in the family.
Ensure that your state of residence and domicile are correct. For example, in this case argued in 1992, a Pennsylvania man who had lived in Florida for six years with a Florida driver’s license, voter’s registration, home, and homestead tax passed away in 1990. The State of Pennsylvania determined that he was eligible for Pennsylvania estate taxes because Pennsylvania was still listed as his domicile in his last will and testament.
Additionally, update your estate plan if you enter into a new marriage or dissolve a marriage. You may need to add or remove a spouse as a beneficiary. You may also need to name new guardians for children after a divorce, or if you or your new spouse will be a stepparent to minor children after marriage.
How Do I Find an Estate Planning Attorney Near Me in Florida?
Before you search for an “estate lawyer near me,” consider the qualities you want in a caring and comforting estate law professional. If you live in Florida, Sherri M. Stinson, P.A., wants to hear about the legacy you want to leave to give your family peace of mind.
Contact us at the Law Offices of Sherri M. Stinson, P.A., when you’re looking for an experienced and caring estate planning attorney to help you make arrangements for your family. Call our office in Palm Harbor at (727) 361-9302 or fill out our contact form.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.