My favorite part of my practice is educating clients about the estate planning process.
From a birds-eye view, estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities upon your death or incapacity.
I like to use the analogy that estate planning is like a puzzle. The puzzle consists of your financial assets, real estate, “stuff,” life insurance, retirement plans, businesses, and more.
My job is to make all of the puzzle pieces fit together into one cohesive plan that accomplishes your individual goals and meets the needs of your family and/or loved ones.
This is accomplished using common estate planning documents including trusts, wills, medical directives (also called advance directives), and financial powers of attorney. Each scenario is different and there may be additional documents that are appropriate for your particular situation.
Additionally, estate planning allows you the opportunity to name guardians for minors and establish trusts for future care if the need arises.
While it’s no secret that it’s uncomfortable for most of us to contemplate our own death, it is, unfortunately, inevitable for all of us. When your time comes, you’ve either planned, or you haven’t.
If you haven’t planned for yourself, state law will dictate the disposition of your assets. A judge who is unfamiliar with your family dynamic and wishes will apply Florida law and distribute your property accordingly.
If you have planned and have done so in a valid way, your wishes will be carried out.
It really is as simple as that.