Our estate planning FAQ list addresses many estate related questions concerning Florida trusts, wills, power of attorney, probate, and why you need an estate plan.
Why do I need a Will?
People who die without a Will may not have their property pass on as they intended.
- A Will essentially provides a set of instructions to the Court for a probate. Without a Will, your property will pass on according to state statute, which may not reflect your personal wishes.
- You should have a Will if you are uncomfortable with the idea of the government determining how your property will be distributed after you die.
- A Will may also help prevent fighting and additional litigation among your loved ones after you die, and a Will may save your family money.
Why do I need an attorney to write a Will?
- The laws relating to estate planning and probate are complex and vary from state to state.
- There are specific rules in Florida that govern how a Will should be drafted as well as how a Will should be executed.
- An attorney can assist you in preparing a Will that protects your rights and expresses your wishes.
- By preparing a Will yourself or using a "form" Will, you may save several hundred dollars initially, but cost your family thousands of dollars, as well as additional stress and heartache, later.
- With an estate plan prepared by an estate planning attorney you may sleep easy, knowing that you have planned to save in order to save your family time and money.
How often should I update my Will?
It is good idea to have your Will reviewed and updated every several years, in order to make sure that your Will is current, and in compliance with Florida Law. The laws relating to estate planning, including federal laws, change on a regular basis.
A Will also should be reviewed and updated anytime there is a major life change or event, such as the birth of a child, a divorce, a wedding, or death. Failing to update your Will may complicate matters after you die and cost your family additional money and stress.
Why is it important to have an estate plan?
An effective estate plan is designed to save your family time, money, and stress.
What is a Trust?
There are a variety of Trusts that may be utilized in estate planning. The most common Trusts used are Revocable Trusts, which are also known as "Living Trusts," and Irrevocable Trusts. Most families utilize a Trust in order to save money, time, maintain privacy, and maintain control over their personal affairs.
Prepared properly, a Trust may help your family avoid probate in the future. A Trust may also assist in preventing the need for a guardianship in the event that you are incapacitated during your lifetime. A Trust may also help save your family estate taxes.
What is Probate?
Probate is a Court proceeding, which governs how your money will be passed from you to your family. A Will is essentially is essentially a set of instructions for how the Court is to distribute your property in Probate.
Your estate will be brought before the Court, and after addressing all of your debts, liabilities, taxes, and other expenses, your estate will be distributed to your heirs.
Probate is a public process, in which your family will usually retain an attorney. Effective estate planning may prevent the need for probate, but will also almost always make sure that Probate runs more smoothly.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document which allows someone that you trust, usually a family member, to make decisions for you in your absence or in the event that you are incapacitated. A Power of Attorney may be limited to specific matters or may be generalized.
Most effective estate plans include a Power of Attorney for financial or general matters as well as a Power of Attorney for medical decisions. Without a Power of Attorney, in the event that you are incapacitate, you may lose power over your destiny. A Power of Attorney may also help you avoid a guardianship.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is an advance directive which allows you to determine how your life will end if you are in a terminal condition, an end state condition, or a vegetative state. Once you are incapacitated you will no longer be able to express those wishes, so it is generally a good idea to express them in writing, through a living will, ahead of time.
Often a living will works in concert with a Power of Attorney for healthcare, and your attorney-in-fact, will help carry out the wishes expressed in your living will.
Contact Kramer Law Today
If you need an estate planning lawyer who can help you in all your estate planning and probate administration needs in Orange or Seminole counties, contact Kramer Law in Orlando at 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).