Estate planning is the legal process a person engages in to maintain control and manage activities surrounding their estate during their lifetime (if they become incapacitated), or at and after their death.  This process can be extensive in the case where someone has many assets and less complex, if they do not.  A Florida estate planning attorney can help with the completion of these very important documents.

Documents.

An estate plan usually includes: 1) last will and testament with guardianship if there are minor children, 2) an advanced healthcare directive and a 3) durable power of attorney.

  1. A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined. An experienced probate attorney can make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so that a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death. A Florida will must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed and notarized. Florida recognizes different types of wills including:
    • A Florida Pour over will is used when there is a revocable trust and instead of making the distributions to a single beneficiary or beneficiaries, the will generally make one distribution into the Trust.
    • A Florida Medicaid willbe used to create a supplemental trust fund in order to allow a spouse who is receiving Medicaid benefits for long-term medical care to continue eligibility after a spouse passes away.
    • A Florida will that includes a testamentary trust is a last will and testament in Florida that adds a trust fund for children or other beneficiaries.  This type of Florida last will and testament creates a trust that becomes effective upon the death of the testator which is different from a Florida revocable living trust.
  1. An Advance Healthcare Directive is the document that details the type of care you want administered in the event you become disabled and cannot speak for yourself. In Florida this essential documentation is sometimes called a medical directive or advance directive.
  2. A Durable Power of Attorney designates another person to conduct business on your behalf when you cannot. In the event of disability all other powers of attorney become ineffective except for this one document, the durability of this document allows it to survive disability and is fundamental to estate planning.

Distribution of assets.

Within the will or trust, distribution of assets may be discussed and completed through per capita distribution,  or per stirpes distribution.  In per capita distribution, all members of a particular group receive an equal share of the distribution. That group can be your children, all your combined descendants, or named individuals. Under per capita, the share of any beneficiary that precedes you in death is shared equally among the remaining beneficiaries. Within a beneficiary designation, per capita typically means an equal distribution among your children.  Per stirpes distribution uses a generational approach. If a named beneficiary precedes you in death, then the benefits would pass on to that person’s children in equal parts. Spouses are generally not part of a per stirpes distribution.

Hire an attorney.

Estate planning is important to secure your assets, and keep loved ones from further undue hardship after a death.  The documents reveal end of life wishes, and direction on asset disbursements.  Contacting an experienced attorney to help with this legal process in Coral Springs can leave you with a sense of calm, knowing that your affairs are in order.

 

Express Law at Festival Marketplace

2900 West Sample Rd. #K2003

Pompano Beach, FL 33073

Phone: (561) 449-2076

 

Sources:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2018/731.201