Estate Planning Basics: Important Decisions to Discuss with Your Estate Planning Lawyer
The time to talk to an estate planning lawyer is now. The earlier you start making decisions about your estate plan, the better. Even if you are healthy and still working, your children are still young, and your assets are modest, it is not too soon. If circumstances change after you formulate your estate plan, you can always modify it. The worst thing you can do is not making any plans at all; you don’t want to leave all the responsibility to your family members after you are gone and cause conflict among your loved ones. The best way to get started is to have a consultation with a Tampa estate planning lawyer.
What Instructions Should You Provide in Your Will?
When someone dies without a will, the court will distribute your assets to your close family members after paying any outstanding debts and taxes you owed at the end of your life. If you don’t have a will, there is plenty of room for conflict, and the value of the assets that reaches your heirs will be less than if you had made a detailed estate plan. In a will, you have the opportunity to decide who gets each individual asset you own and how to divide your money; you can even leave property to non-family members or to charities. You can also specify who should serve as the personal representative of your estate during probate; it can be a family member or a lawyer. If your children are minors, your will should contain instructions about who will get custody of them.
Do You Need a Living Trust?
Estates in a trust do not go through probate, so creditors can’t reach them, and they are safe from estate taxes. With a living trust, the beneficiaries can start receiving money from it while you’re alive, which is a wise financial choice, to say nothing of how emotionally satisfying it is to be around to see your loved ones benefit from your generosity.
Who Will Look After Your Health in Your Old Age?
Elder care is expensive, and having to make decisions about your care in your old age is financially draining and emotionally exhausting. An important part of your estate plan should account for your long-term care if you need it. Set money aside to pay for home health aide services or nursing home care. Designate someone you trust to be a health surrogate to make decisions about your care when you are too ill to do so. Sign an advance directive about what kinds of end-of-life care you do and don’t want.
Who Will Manage Your Finances?
A power of attorney document gives another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Make plans now about whom you want to appoint to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Working on your estate plan now will give you peace of mind about the future. Contact Tampa estate planning attorney David Toback to set up a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.