A personalized estate plan can be used by individuals to help ensure that their wishes and objectives are honored should they become incapacitated or when they die. Even if they have no children or any other close living relatives, Florida residents should still strongly consider developing one.
It is important that adults have powers of attorney on file so that financial and health care decisions can be made on their behalf. It is also necessary to complete an advance directive for end-of-life care. Individuals can use these legal documents to designate a specific party to manage all of these affairs if the individuals unexpectedly become unable to handle them on their own.
If these documents are not in place, there are certain decisions regarding the welfare and finances of an incapacitated individual that could not even be made by the spouse. It is also very likely that it will be necessary for any close relatives of the individual to have to take part in a conservatorship or guardianship initiated by the court in order to have someone appointed to make the decisions on the behalf of the individual, possibly someone who is unknown by the incapacitated loved one.
Individuals can use a trust during their lifetime as a management tool for their assets. The legal device can also be used in place of a will when an individual dies. Trusts are ideal estate planning tools, as they eliminate the need for probate and provide a safe and discrete method for distributing an inheritance.
An estate planning attorney may assist clients by evaluating their assets and goals and by determining which legal devices should be included in their estate plan. Assistance may be provided with completing certain types of wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance directives.