The New Year is here, but some things may never change. The gym membership is already beginning to look old and your other resolutions have fallen by the wayside. However, one resolution that should be kept is the resolution to keep your estate plan up to date. Don’t have an estate plan? Then it is time to create one.
Updating Your Estate Plan
You may already have an estate plan that has been in place for years now. That’s great news! But there are a few important considerations to take into account. Have you acquired any new assets, such as a new property or a new life insurance plan? Then your estate plan warrants an update. Or you may have already disposed of assets, and the inclusion of those assets in your estate plan is no longer relevant. Including the change in assets will help keep your intentions protected.
Have there been any changes in your personal life that would entail a need for an update? Have you recently been divorced? You may want to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary of your estate. Or maybe you have recently wed. Including your spouse in your estate plan will help avoid some headache (and heartache) in the future.
Additions of other estate tools are important in the event of incapacity. For example, you may not have a health care directive in place. A health care directive is an instrument that allows a person to specify what actions are to be taken with regard to their health in the event of an illness or incapacity. Other important instruments to consider (if you haven’t already) are instruments such as a health care proxy, in which a person authorizes someone to make decisions on their behalf when they are incapacitated. A durable power of attorney allows for a person to make decisions regarding your assets and affairs and it does not stop in the event of your incompetence and incapacity.
Creating an Estate Plan
Perhaps you have never created a plan. Unless you want to let the state dictate how your assets will be disposed and to whom, an estate plan is essential. There is a variety of estate tools that exist to best fit your needs, ranging from wills to trusts. A will is an instrument executed by a person which disposes of the person’s property on or after his death. A trust is another estate tool in which property is legally owned and managed by an individual as trustee for the benefit of another, called a beneficiary, who is the equitable owner of the property.
An experienced probate attorney will ensure that you have the necessary information to make decisions regarding creating an estate plan, preparing a will or trust, or updating your current estate plan. If you are looking for an experienced and qualified Florida attorney, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Chepenik Trushin LLP, who are ready, willing, and able to assist you with all of your estate planning needs.