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Protecting Your Legacy
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Estate plans can protect family members and assets

Florida residents who hve saved carefully for the future should also consider how those savings will be managed in the event of medical issues or their death. Planning may minimize these problems, but without sound counsel, it is possible to overlook some important areas. An understanding of the areas that can be difficult without proper planning is important, and legal completion of some documents can be a key to ensuring that one's plans are implemented as desired.

Experts indicate that an estate plan is important for anyone who has belongings and loved ones. Estate planning documents can provide a formal designation of how property will be distributed to heirs after one's death. A will indicates how one's property will be distributed and to whom. A trust may be appropriate if there are high-value assets that could create tax burdens for the recipients. Additionally, an individual who has children from a previous marriage might find that a trust allows for more freedom and clarity in distributing assets.

A will should indicate one's decisions about the raising of minor children as a guardian is appointed. Additional estate planning documents include an advance directive for handling medical decisions and a durable power of attorney for the management of financial affairs if the grantor becomes incapacitated. Insurance policies and retirement plans typically allow for a beneficiary to be selected and take precedence over related references in estate documents. Each estate planning area should be kept up to date, and annual evaluation is recommended for addressing potential changes.

When an individual dies or becomes incapacitated, it can be difficult for family members to track down the appropriate documentation. It may be helpful to maintain these documents with an attorney to ensure that important actions can be handled in a timely fashion.

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