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The Essentials for a Florida Estate Plan


While it may not be your favorite topic of conversation, preparing your estate prior to your passing is an essential part of being prepared for the inevitable. In making such plans, having a comprehensive estate plan is among the most vitally important things you can do to secure your wishes and assets and protect your loved ones. Every individual’s estate plan will look somewhat different because each individual requires their own strategy based on their individual needs, assets, and what they intend to do with them. In this article, the Dade City, FL estate planning attorneys at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane will discuss the basics of a comprehensive estate plan.

  • Wills – Essentially, a will is a legal document that specifies how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass and who will be responsible for distributing them. The will goes through a probate court and a judge will determine the validity of the will to ensure that your wishes are followed. It should be noted that probate is not a private process and the public can access records related to your asset distribution. To keep the matter private, you must use a trust.
  • Trusts – A trust is similar to a will insofar as it allows you to distribute assets to your loved ones. Trusts are, in many ways, better than wills because they keep your asset distribution private. You can create trusts during your lifetime and attach specific assets to the trust. You can manage these assets as you wish while you are living. Think of a trust as a legal container for assets. Once you pass, the contents of the trust will be distributed to your beneficiaries, and you can change, amend, or revoke a trust at any time. Other uses for trusts include nursing home care while other types of trust can help minimize taxes in some situations. All trusts have the added benefit of avoiding probate meaning the asset distribution is handled by an attorney and not the courts where it becomes a matter of public record.
  • Power of attorney – This document gives another individual the authority to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to handle your financial affairs. By assigning a power of attorney you can avoid the expense of a guardianship proceeding.
  • Healthcare proxy/medical power of attorney – This document gives another individual the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf.
  • Living will – This document details what medical services you would or would not want based on certain medical conditions. As an example, you could sign a DNR (do not resuscitate) if you choose. The living will acts as a guidepost for medical service providers to enact your wishes.

Talk to a Dade County, FL Estate Planning Attorney Today 

The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane represents the interests of individuals who are designing their estate plans. We can help you with all of the essentials mentioned above. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin addressing your needs right away.

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