Everyone seems to know that estate planning something that you should do, but they are either unaware of what crafting a complete estate plan entails beyond just having a Will drafted, or they choose to put off having their estate planning documents prepared until it is too late. It can be uncomfortable to talk about what many people mistakenly believe estate planning is all about — dying and the resultant loss of control. Or you may think that estate planning is just for the wealthy or elderly.
For example, many young, single people who do not have a lot of money or any children often believe they do not need an estate plan because they do not have much to leave to anyone, thinking that because they do not have much, they do not have an “estate.” However, this is a misconception-everyone, which rich or poor, old or young; has an estate. Creating an estate plan would help your parents pay for your funeral and burial, as well as make sure that your parents can access your assets if something happens to you, which could include your bank account, personal possessions, or life insurance policies.
A comprehensive estate plan typically also includes health care directives such as a Living Will and a HIPAA Release, which can be a great gift to your parents or guardian in ensuring that you are cared for per your wishes and that they can receive all necessary medical information to make any important decisions on your behalf.
As uncomfortable as it may be, planning for the future after we pass away is something we and our family members or friends are all going to have to deal with at some time, especially if we have heirs or a spouse that we will leave behind. You do not have to be rich or elderly to plan for your belongings and money to go to whom you choose when you pass away. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you protect your family and your assets and can also help you protect your life and your legacy.
First, what is estate planning? Estate planning is the process of creating documents that legally determine how your prized possessions will be distributed after your death, including who inherits what assets and who controls the distribution of assets.
A typical estate plan will include, but is not limited to:
- a Last Will and Testament that is the primary document regulating your wishes as regards inheritance and guardianship;
- a Trust that relates to protecting assets for the benefit of yourself and/or specific persons;
- a Living Will (also called a healthcare directive and proxy or designation of healthcare surrogate) that specifies your intent as regards decisions on your physical well-being and end-of-life arrangements respectively;
- a HIPAA Release that allows the individuals you have named as surrogates or alternates to have your medical records released to them;
- a Power of Attorney that enables a trusted Agent to make financial decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated;
- a property deed, such as an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, to allow for the transfer of your property without the need for probate proceedings; and
- for parents with minor children, a temporary guardianship document that names a trusted adult to care for minor children in the event of your incapacity.
It is easy, and even natural, for the average person to think of estate planning as a somewhat melancholy area of law, which is not necessarily untrue. Estate planning deals with the often uncomfortable and sad topic of death, which is a topic that most people avoid dealing with until it is absolutely necessary. However, estate planning is more than just talking about death and what happens after death. Here is what estate planning attorneys really do:
- We make sure the right people care for our client when the client cannot do so themselves, such as when our clients are incapacitated or determined unable to make decisions on their own.
- We place our clients’ wishes and personal goals for their estate as our top priority.
- We ensure the right people care for our clients in the event that they become ill or incapacitated, and we ensure that their loved ones are cared for in the event of our client’s passing.
- We provide our clients and their families with the peace of mind that their assets and personal possessions will be taken care of and in the right hands after they pass away.
- We work to assure our clients that their wishes and personal goals for the administration of their estate will be followed.
- We safeguard and make certain that our client’s legacies — monetary and moral — are passed along to the client’s loved ones.
We believe it is important to reframe how the average person thinks about estate planning. It is not solely about death and administering assets – estate planning is about protecting the legacies of our clients for years to come, and ensuring the our clients’ wishes are followed and that their loved ones are properly cared for. It is an essential mission which we do not take lightly. We are proud to serve our clients each and every day in protecting their legacy by establishing an estate plan that is comprehensive and accounts for each of our clients’ wishes.
The attorneys at The Orlando Law Group represent and prepare estate planning documents for individuals throughout Orlando, Waterford Lakes, Altamonte Springs, Winter Garden, Lake Nona, St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and throughout central Florida.
If you are dealing with an estate planning issue or are looking to establish your own estate plan, please reach out to our office at 407-512-4394, fill out our online contact form.
If you have questions about anything discussed in this article or other legal matters, give our office a call at 407-512-4394 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 12301 Lake Underhill Rd, Suite 213, Orlando, FL 32828, as well as offices in Seminole, Osceola and West Orange counties to assist you.
Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by The Orlando Law Group