How You Can Prepare for Your Estate Planning Meeting

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A meeting with a lawyer who specializes in estate planning may not be on your to-do list during your lifetime or your New Year's resolutions, but you should not postpone it. Many people are intimidated by the prospect of planning their succession. However, in most cases, it is much easier to come prepared.

A typical Florida estate plan includes the following important documents: wills; Revocable trust (for several people); Proxy; Alternative health care; Living will; and the tutor's statement. The Revocable Trust (if any), the Power of Attorney, the Will Substitution Statement, the Living Will and the Probationary Statement are all designed to work while you are alive and guide you in managing your personal and financial affairs. financial. . On the other hand, the revocable trust and the last wishes and the will control the distribution of your property after your death.

When you meet with your estate planning lawyer, he will guide you through the different choices and planning options available to you, so that your legal documents reflect your intentions. To make your time with your lawyer as productive as possible, here is a list of things to discuss and prepare before the meeting:

Create a list of your assets and liabilities. This list should include the value of your home (including your mortgage), bank accounts, investment accounts, business interests, personal effects (such as artwork or jewelery), insurance and retirement and pension accounts. For each asset on the list, include an estimate of its current value or balance, as well as whether you own the asset on your own behalf or in association with another person, such as your spouse or your children. This information will help your lawyer guide you through the planning process.

Agents during your life

Alternative medical care: Who will make the medical decisions for you in case of disability. The person you appoint as a substitute for health care will be empowered to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to do so. You have to think about who should be appointed for this position, as well as to his successor.

Proxy: Who will take care of your financial affairs if you become unfit. The person you appoint to act as agent will act as your agent with respect to your financial matters during your lifetime. The power of attorney will come into effect immediately after its signature. You have to think about who should be appointed for this position, as well as to his successor.

Living will: End of life decisions. The person you name as a surrogate will act as an agent for your financial matters during your lifetime. The power of attorney will come into effect immediately after its signature. You have to think about who should be appointed for this position, as well as to his successor.

Administration at your death

Who has the ability and ability to serve as your personal representative. The person or professional entity that you have chosen as the personal representative of your estate will be responsible for settling your estate after your death. Their tasks will include the collection of your assets, the payment of your debts, your expenses and any taxes due, then the distribution of the remaining assets of the estate to your beneficiaries. With married couples, each spouse usually appoints the other as a personal representative. The next consideration is who or what entity will serve as a successor if they do not survive you or are unable to serve. You can name more than one person to fill this role, but under Florida law, this person must be a family member or a resident of the state. More importantly, it is important that the person or entity selected is trustworthy.

Who has the capacity and skills to serve as trustee. The person or professional entity that you have chosen to serve as trustee of your trust, in the event of death or inability to serve, will be responsible for managing your finances, while you are alive, and the settlement of your finances after your death. Similar to a personal representative, his duties include collecting your assets, paying off your debts, expenses, and any other taxes you may owe, then distributing the remaining estate assets to your beneficiaries. In married couples, both spouses generally perform the duties of trustee, as long as they are capable of doing so. The next consideration is who or what entity will serve as a successor if they do not survive or are unable to serve. You can appoint more than one person to fill this role, without any restrictions of belonging to a family or resident of the state. More importantly, it is important that the person or entity selected is trustworthy.

Objects of personal property and to whom they must be handed over at the time of your death. Create a written document stating how you want to dispose of your personal belongings (wedding ring, jewelry, automobile (s), baseball card collection, etc.) upon your death, even if you do not think that they have any value monetary. Without a separate written declaration, your personal effects will be passed on to a surviving spouse or will be shared equally between your children or beneficiaries. The detailed list can potentially avoid family conflicts over items with sentimental value but no monetary value.

Plan the distribution of your estate. How, to whom and how much do you want the remaining estate of your estate to be the next important decision to make? Your assets can be distributed to any person (family member, friend, acquaintance, etc.) or to a charity of your choice. Assets can be distributed directly or over an extended period (they reach a certain age, until the beneficiary needs or wants funds, etc.). There is no wrong decision because you are free to allocate your assets as you please.


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