Estate planning is the anticipatory process, during your life, of preparing the distribution of your assets to family and loved ones or charity after your death. Estate distribution is a complicated process and many people update their estate plans throughout their life. Once everything is said and done, you’ll be laid to rest with your final wishes met.
However, if you’ve never made an estate plan, then it’s reasonable to believe you have tons of questions. Here are several you may have:
#1. What’s included in an estate plan?
An estate plan can include a power of attorney, an executor of the estate, a will and trust and funeral wishes, for starters. Most of these details are typical in any estate plan.
#2. Should you write your own estate plans?
While you can write your own estate plans, and many people do, several problems can occur. Mainly, writing a will or trust by hand may not be legally accurate or valid. Because of this, your family and loved ones may dispute your estate plan, making it so your final wishes are never met and leaving the state to distribute your assets.
#3. Why should you have a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a representative who can make decisions on your behalf. Most of the time this only happens when the testator is incapacitated, making it difficult for them to make financial and medical decisions. As such, a power of attorney may come into effect to ensure the testator’s best interests are met.
#4. Can anyone be your executor of the estate?
An executor of the estate ensures an estate is in order, which includes filing paperwork, gathering death certificates, and, eventually, distributing assets. Per Florida laws, an executor must be 18 years of age and in mental and physical capability to serve their role.
#5. Is probate necessary?
Probate ensures your estate plan is valid and gives the executor time to complete their duties. If you have a will, then your heirs should expect to wait until probate is over before they see their inheritance. However, you could make a trust that enables your beneficiaries to circumvent probate.
#6. Should you seek legal help?
When making a valid estate plan, you may need to consider reaching out for legal help.