Did you know that 50-60% of Americans do not have wills? Even though the COVID-19 pandemic prompted more people to create estate plans, many Americans still haven’t done it. Ignorance and the taboo nature of the topic are the biggest cause of the problem. If you have any assets, you need to create an estate plan. It doesn’t matter how wealthy or young you may be.
Florida estate planning attorneys, also known as probate attorneys, are professionals. They are licensed and have a deep understanding of state laws. At Loughlin Law, PA, we are happy to handle your estate planning needs in West Boca Beach. We understand how federal and state laws could influence the way your estate is taxed, inventoried, valued, or dispersed.
In addition to explaining the probate process, we can also provide you with the following services:
- Designating beneficiaries
- Creating your will
- Establishing ways to prevent probate court processes
- Setting up medical durable POA or durable POA
- Determining ways to avoid or reduce estate tax
- Setting up trusts that may be helpful for protecting your assets. This is beneficial in case of incapacity during your lifetime, or after your death
- Establishing tips to avoid lengthy probate court processes.
A West Boca Beach estate planning attorney may also help you with the estate of a recently deceased loved one. A good estate planning attorney could help avoid probate court. However, it mostly relies on the estate being transferred and the desires of the deceased.
The Key Elements of an Estate Plan
A good estate plan has five main elements. Power of Attorney, Will, Beneficiary Designation, Trusts, and Health Care or Medical Directive. Our team covers all of them, ensuring that your loved ones don’t struggle when you are incapacitated or deceased.
Wills are legally binding documents. They specify who will receive your assets and properties upon your death. Your will is meant to give your heirs an idea of your wishes when you are not around anymore.
One thing the will does is name an executor. This is the person responsible for carrying out your wishes. It can also names guardians who will be responsible for the care of any minor children and dependents when you are incapacitated or dead.
The biggest benefit of having a will is that it helps you control your legacy. You are able to make changes throughout your lifetime. In fact, you would be wise to update it after major life events.
2. Power of Attorney (POA)
A Power of Attorney is a document that designates an individual to help manage your affairs in case you are incapacitated or ill. The person you designate as POA steps in for you. They can make important financial decisions on your behalf. A general POA is authorized to conduct all kinds of business on your behalf. However, a specific POA has limited authorization. Their power is limited to outlined transactions.
Having a POA is critical when you are single, as the role would usually fall to a spouse. If you don’t have a POA, the court could appoint someone to act as a guardian.
Trusts are legal arrangements through which trustees hold legal title to property. They do so on behalf of the specified beneficiaries. When setting up a trust, you can determine when and how the beneficiaries get the assets in their trust. While there are various types of trusts, here are the basic ones;
This type of trust gives you control over all assets in the trust. It gives you the freedom to change or revoke the specified terms whenever necessary.
When you set up this type of trust, the assets aren’t yours anymore. Usually, you cannot make changes without consent from the beneficiaries. The best thing about this trust is that appreciated assets are not liable to estate taxes.
4. Healthcare Directive/Medical Directive
A healthcare directive is like a power of attorney in the sense that someone is designated to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. A healthcare directive involves two main documents.
A Health Care Proxy
This document designates someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated.
A Living Will
This is a statement with instructions regarding your healthcare in case you are terminally ill.
Many times, family members will have different opinions as to what should be done when caring for you. With a good healthcare directive, they know what you want. Our team will help you come up with a detailed document that specifies your wishes.
5. Beneficiary Designations
After creating an estate plan, you need to ensure that your retirement plan beneficiary designations are up to date. They determine who will get benefits upon your passing. The designations override what is specified in your will. Therefore, we advise that you review your beneficiary designations regularly.
By incorporating these elements in your estate plan, we help ensure that your wishes are being implemented when you are no longer around. Life happens, and you never know when disaster may strike. Being prepared is good for you and your family.
Reasons to Choose Us for Your Boca Beach Estate Planning Needs
There are plenty of reasons to consider choosing us for your Boca Beach estate planning needs. The task may be overwhelming, but we take care of it on your behalf. We realize that the grieving process can be difficult, and our goal is to make things easier. Here are a few reasons to consider working with us.
Our services are non-traditional and tailored to suit specific needs. We realize that every estate is unique, and it demands special attention. Instead of trying to use one-size-fits-all solutions, we offer personalized services. We try to understand your endgame and tailor our approaches to meet it from the start.
Estate Planning Advice
In addition to our estate planning services, we are happy to offer advice as well. We realize that legal processes can be complicated, and we are happy to simplify them for you and your family. Good estate planning advice protects you. It brings you the comfort of knowing that your loved ones are protected in case of any eventualities.
If you are interested in a West Boca Beach estate planning attorney, contact us today to schedule a virtual appointment.