Getting Started on Estate Planning: Important Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Attorney
Planning your estate is one of the easiest tasks to avoid, even if you do not normally procrastinate. The reminders that one day, your family members will interact with your estate and not with you personally are often the flipside of joyous occasions, such as the birth of a grandchild, your retirement from a successful career, or the 50th anniversary of the release of an album or movie you loved when you were young. It can be intimidating to talk to your family about your own impending death; they want to think about it even less than you do. The best person with whom to have the first of many important conversations about planning your estate is a Florida estate planning attorney.
Important Question: A Will or a Trust?
A will is a document specifying what happens to your estate after you die. It assumes that your assets are entirely under control when you are alive. Upon a person’s death, the decedent’s will goes through a legal process called probate, whereby the person’s creditors receive the money that the person owed them at the time of his or her death, and then the heirs named in the will receive their share of what is left.
With a trust, your estate effectively comes into existence even while you are alive. The estate can financially support your family or the religious or charitable organizations you value, and you can live to see it do that. Establishing a trust can also save you and your heirs money on taxes.
Important Question: Advance Health Directives
If you cared for your parents at the end of their lives, you know how much of a difference it makes when people plan for their own care. If parents do not make plans for their own care, all the difficult decisions become their children’s responsibility. This can lead to high levels of conflict among siblings; you do not want your children to have to deal with all that stress, especially if they are dealing at the same time with the stress of helping their own children grow up and become financially independent.
An advance health directive is a plan, made while you are healthy, about your care in the event that you become temporarily or permanently disabled. It can include your choices about under which circumstances to enter an assisted living facility or nursing home and which facility you choose, as well as which medical treatments you do and do not want to receive if you are too ill to speak for yourself. If you foresee your family trying to change your mind about your decisions, it is best to work with an elder law attorney and fine tune your plan before you talk to your relatives about it.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
Working with an elder law attorney from the beginning can ease the stress of estate planning. Contact Clearwater estate planning attorney William Rambaum to discuss your questions.