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The importance of estate planning for everyone

Some people in Florida might think they do not need an estate plan because they are single and do not have any children. However, estate planning is important for all adults.

If a person dies without a will, that person's assets will be distributed according to state law. Even if the law matches a person's intentions, having a will can make the process go more smoothly.

There are two other estate planning documents that are potentially even more important for a person who has no dependents. One is a durable power of attorney. This document appoints someone to handle a person's financial matters if the person is unable to do so. An advance medical directive outlines a person's wishes for medical care, including end-of-life care. Either the medical directive or another document also names someone to make medical decisions on the person's behalf if the person is incapacitated. A person who falls into a vegetative state who has not been clear with medical instructions or appointed someone to make decisions may simply be kept alive by default.

People should discuss their wishes with the family members they have appointed to manage finances and medical care. If no paperwork is left and a person becomes incapacitated, family members might have to go through a lengthy court process to have someone appointed as guardian. In all, an estate plan puts some precautions in place that may take some of the stress off family members during a trying time. Over time, as a person's assets and family situation change, the person may want to update the estate plan.

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  • It is difficult enough to cope with the emotional challenges of closing a parent's estate, and when you are also faced with the issue of your parents having insufficient documentation, and being remote from your siblings… - Zara L.
  • Austin Frye provided legal services to my father while alive and to his estate after his death; when showing the EP docs his firm prepared to other professionals (lawyers, financial advisors, accountants)… - Mark S
  • I've been a client of Austin Frye's for over 10 years. In that time, he's handled my estate/trust planning and asset protection as well as complicated business deals. - Leslie
  • Mr. Frye recently set up a complicated special needs trust for my son and, as usual, did a great job explaining it and in putting our minds at ease about our son's future well-being. - Dr. Howard
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