Although they know they shouldn't, many people put off estate planning. Some people may think their assets aren't significant enough to plan for, or that they're young and that an estate plan won't be needed for decades. Others may assume that their wealth will pass to their intended heirs under state law. Still others are put off by the thought that making an estate plan means that they're planning to die.
The reality is that almost every adult needs an estate plan. Even if your assets are modest, a properly prepared estate plan will help ensure that they go to the people you intend, with a minimum of estate taxes and probate fees. If you have minor children, a will may be the only way to designate a guardian for them in the event of your death. Bequests you intend to make to friends or to favorite charities may not be carried out unless they are specified in your estate plan.
Estate planning encompasses more than the distribution of assets. Advance medical directives are an essential part of every estate plan. These directives provide your family and medical care providers with information on your wishes for medical care in the event you are no longer able to express your own preferences.
Without a directive, family members may not know what you want in terms of medical care, or may disagree bitterly about it. Doctors may undertake measures you would prefer to avoid. Having your medical wishes documented allows you to maintain your dignity, and allows your loved ones to focus on you at a time when they most need to.
Creating an estate plan is one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones, because it allows them to have certainty about your wishes and avoid disputes regarding what you would have wanted.
Whether you need to create an estate plan for the first time, or simply to update a previous plan, the law office of Lisa Jo Spencer, P.A., can help. We will help you evaluate your goals and the estate-planning tools that are best for achieving them. These include:
With years of experience in probate and trust litigation, Lisa Jo Spencer is aware of the perils of ambiguous or incomplete estate plans, and how to avoid them. Working together with her, you can create an estate plan that will meet your needs and those of your loved ones, and provide you all with peace of mind.
The law office of Lisa Jo Spencer, P.A. serves clients in Okaloosa, Walton, Santa Rosa and Brevard Counties. To learn more about estate planning in Florida or the services we offer, please contact our office at (850) 226-4998 to schedule a consultation.