As attorneys specializing in estate planning in Miami, FL, we receive a wide variety of questions from our clients about a range of estate planning issues. While many people have a general understanding of what a will is and why it’s important to create one, there are a lot of more specific issues that people tend to have questions about when they begin thinking about creating an estate plan of their own.
With this in mind, here are a few examples of some of the most common questions we receive about estate planning and the answers that go with them.
What happens if I die and do not have an estate plan?
When you pass away without any type of estate plan, your assets are distributed according to your state’s intestate succession laws. The court would appoint a personal representative to handle your estate (rather than you naming your own), and the estate administration process would then proceed as normal, with bills and debts being paid off before assets can be distributed. Then, rather than you getting to choose how your assets are distributed, people will inherit in order of priority according to intestate succession laws.
Obviously, you’re going to want to have as much control as possible over what happens to your estate and assets, so it’s crucial to avoid intestacy.
Are trusts only for rich people?
There is a misconception that trusts are only really beneficial for people who have accrued a lot of wealth. However, trusts are beneficial to people of all financial backgrounds, because they help you avoid having your assets pass through probate.
You would use a revocable living trust, in which you place assets that would be transferred to your trust at the time of your death. Your named trustee would follow the instructions you leave behind in your estate plan, and any assets placed in the trust would not be subject to probate.
How should I plan for possible incapacity?
There are a number of estate planning tools available to plan for a possible severe illness or injury that results in your incapacitation. Durable powers of attorney allow you to grant power of attorney to another person so they would be able to manage your finances during your incapacity. Healthcare power of attorney allows your chosen agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. Other various advance directives can help you leave behind more specific instructions about the kind of care you do and do not want to receive if you are incapacitated or in an end-of-life scenario.
Will I be able to afford estate planning?
There is an initial cost associated with the will, and you’ll need to pay your attorneys for any revisions you make over the course of your lifetime. But in general, the costs are reasonable and more than worth it considering the peace of mind you get and the control you maintain over your assets.
Categorised in: Estate Planning