The Complete Guide to Estate Planning

The Complete Guide to Estate Planning

November 8, 2019

Estate planning in Miami, FL is a very detail-oriented process that is best done with the guidance of an attorney. Many people scoff at the imagined cost, or believe it is unnecessary because they do not believe they have enough assets. However, planning for the guardianship of any children, incapacity and asset distribution is relevant for most people. Here is a complete guide to estate planning and the essential scenarios you must consider:

  • Guardianship: If you have minor children, you must invest in estate planning to ensure they receive care should you pass on before they reach majority. However, clients often fail to consider other dependents, including adult dependents, disabled relatives and even pets. Estate planning allows you to choose their guardians, but also to set aside funds for their care in a trust or conservatorship. If this is not planned, the court will choose a guardian and make asset distributions that may not work in your children’s best interest.
  • Incapacity planning: You may be lucky and never face incapacity until you grow old. However, if an accident renders you unable to communicate and disability enters your life, you need to have plans in place. Living wills, health care directives and durable powers of attorney all contain care instructions, any desires regarding life support and who acts as your agent should you be incapacitated and unable to communicate your needs.
  • Asset transfers: When deciding who receives your property after death, you have options. A will distributes funds and property in lump sums, which can be a dangerous venture if your children are young adults or your spouse is a spendthrift. In these cases, especially if a dependent requires long-term care, you can look into a living trust. This option allows for payouts over time and a vehicle to pay for any bills a dependent may incur. Trusts are also a way to avoid probate, although a will makes probate a much quicker process. It depends on the best way to utilize your assets for your family situation.
  • Long-term care: If you require long-term care, it is likely that your assets may be liquidated to finance that care. This often results in your family members never benefiting from your assets, and anything you want to leave behind to support your dependents will be gone. Medicare does not pay for nursing homes, so it is a good idea to plan for that possibility. Your options include making lifetime gifts or moving assets into a trust. All options can be discussed in an estate planning appointment.

Estate planning options are as unique as the clients entering our offices. What may work well for your best friend may likely not be the best solution for you. That is why it is important to make your estate plan now and discuss your options with an attorney.

Ruben J. Padron, PA is an estate planning attorney in Miami, FL. To see what your options are for wills, trusts and other estate planning vehicles, call us today to schedule a free consultation and find the best way to provide for your loved ones.

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