Have you given thought, in the New Year, to updating or creating your Florida estate plan? Why? Because in Florida there may be specific state laws that could seriously impact your estate planning. It is our goal in our Florida estate planning law office to assist our clients in reaching their estate planning goals. We have eight tips and strategies that we recommend being at the top of your Florida estate planning checklist. We know that by creating or updating your Florida estate plan, you will have the peace of mind that your Florida estate plan is comprehensive and up-to-date.
1. Know and understand the estate laws that are specific to Florida. It is important to understand the intricacies of Florida’s estate laws, like homestead regulations and probate procedures. By working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, they can help keep your estate plan in line with these unique legal requirements.
2. Know and understand that there needs to be planning for minor children. Do you have young children? If your answer is yes, then naming a guardian in your Florida estate plan is extremely important. You may also want to consider setting up a trust. By thinking ahead, you can safeguard the future welfare and financial needs of your children.
3. Know and understand that you need to plan now, not later, for long-term care needs. Have you started any long-term care planning? Why? Because planning ahead, before a crisis, for long-term care is an important aspect of Florida estate planning. It is crucial that you discuss this with your Florida estate planning attorney now, not later. This is so that options such as long-term care insurance and legal instruments like healthcare directives can be prepared for the possibility that you may need additional assistance with your activities of daily living in the future.
4. Know and understand that you should keep your beneficiary designations updated. As we all know, there are life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child, that require a review of your beneficiary designations on financial accounts to ensure they reflect your current intentions. In addition, and most importantly, you need to discuss this with your Florida estate planning attorney so that together you can decide what assets should proceed in the current way and which ones should be funded into a trust agreement.
5. Know and understand the impact of taxes. Federal estate taxes may affect your estate. With the guidance of your Florida estate planning attorney you may need to employ strategies like gifting or specific trusts for tax efficiency, despite Florida’s lack of a state estate tax.
6. Know and understand your need to have a plan for incapacity. Your Florida estate plan should have a durable power of attorney and living will to safeguard your wishes in case of incapacity.
7. Know and understand that you need to include your digital assets. Inventory all your digital assets, including online accounts and digital currencies. Make sure all are accounted for and accessible to your future decision makers.
8. Know and understand it is very important to regularly review and update your Florida estate plan. When there have been changes in your life, laws, or financial situation there may need to be updates which your Florida estate planning attorney will be able to help you take care of.
Finally, the New Year is an excellent time to make sure that your Florida estate plan is up-to-date and reflects your current circumstances. With these essential tips and strategies, your estate plan can effectively safeguard your legacy and provide peace of mind. Keep in mind that regular reviews and adjustments are vital in maintaining the effectiveness of your Florida estate plan. In addition, meeting regularly with your Florida estate planning attorney allows you to ask questions and share concerns and can then give you and your family the peace of mind that you are protected.
We know this article raises more questions than it answers. We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering. We encourage you to contact us to schedule a meeting.