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Key considerations for successful estate planning

When people in Florida think about planning for the future, there are a number of concerns that people may have in mind. Estate planning is an important process that allows people to pass on their assets to their beneficiaries, and there are a number of key legal documents, including wills, trusts and powers of attorney, that can set the plan in process. People should be sure that they understand the contents of these documents so that they can explain them to their beneficiaries, trustees and others. While professional advice is critical to ensure that people develop a workable plan, each person should understand the costs and benefits associated with a particular estate planning strategy.

Many people create trusts to handle the vast majority of their assets. They provide greater privacy and flexibility, and trust property does not have to go through the probate process. People can also exercise a higher level of control over the distribution of their assets. It is important for people to think about the successor trustees they wish to manage the trust after they pass away. While some people may want to ask their children or one child to serve as a trustee, others may prefer a neutral party like a corporate trustee or attorney.

Many people have a springing power of attorney that goes into effect if they become incapacitated, and the person named can handle medical matters, financial issues or both. It is important to review these periodically to ensure that the named person is still close and trustworthy, given the level of authority a person with power of attorney has.

Individuals thinking about the future might benefit from reviewing their estate plans, including updating beneficiaries and reviewing asset distribution. An estate planning attorney may help people draft and update their wills, trusts and other documents to reflect changes.

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