Estate Planning Is Both Easier And More Difficult Than You Think
Some people say that the hardest part of estate planning is admitting to yourself that you are mortal. While this may be an obstacle that leads many younger folks to get started on their estate plans, the truth is that simply saying out loud or typing in a Word document a statement to the effect that you know that you are not going to live forever is not enough to make the rest of your estate plan write itself. There is still a lot of paperwork after that. The easiest way to stay focused on the task of estate planning is to hire a Tampa estate planning attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that all of your estate planning documents meet the legal requirements so that they are enforceable.
Building Your Estate Plan Is a Lot of Work
Costly, time-consuming, and stressful debates can arise in probate court if there are any doubts about the validity of a will. To be legally valid, a will needs to bear the author’s signature and the signatures of witnesses who were present when the author signed it. Florida does not consider handwritten wills valid. You cannot even hand-write corrections on a will; you must sign a typewritten addendum called a codicil. If you change your mind about how you want to allocate your property, you must write a new will and clearly state that it invalidates all previous versions.
Likewise, if you set up a revocable trust, it is not simply a matter of signing some papers. You must fund the trust by transferring property to it, and there are as many different procedures for transferring property to a trust as there are types of property. Transferring real estate property to a trust is as complicated as any other transactions involving real estate property.
But You Do Not Have to Do All the Work by Yourself
Once you write your main estate planning documents, your work is not done. You must review and amend your estate plan every few years or whenever there is a change to your finances or your family situation, such as if you or your spouse suffers a serious illness or if you inherit money from a relative. The workload of estate planning may sound overwhelming, but you do not need to do it all by yourself; it is a good idea to entrust the most specialized work to estate planning lawyers.
The best news is that you do not need to delegate estate-related tasks to various family members. If you have three children, you don’t have to decide which is your health surrogate, which is the personal representative of your estate, and which is the dummy. You don’t even have to choose a family member to be the personal representative of your estate or the trustee of your trust; if you are worried about inciting family conflict, you can appoint professionals to those roles.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Leaving the Estate Planning to the Professionals
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you if you are feeling stuck when it comes to wills, trusts, or other aspects of your estate plan. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.