The coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot of things that we might not have quite realized as a culture. In a lot of ways, the pandemic revealed how fragile our health care system is in the U.S. It has revealed how much we depend on schools to help give our children structure as they develop. It has revealed how a virus can devastate the world economy. And, it has revealed how important it is to plan for the unexpected when it comes to your, and your family’s, financial future.
It is never too soon to begin doing your estate planning, and it is also never too late, even though the pandemic is still here. Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss the 6 estate planning tools that any family should consider.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about your own circumstances, then we welcome you to give our Palm Beach Gardens attorneys a call at Doane & Doane, PA. Our firm focuses on probate, estate, and tax matters. We care deeply about our clients and want to make sure that they have the best, most up-to-date, information available.
At Doane & Doane, PA, we strive to give our clients the personalized legal counsel they need to appropriately take care of their taxes and other estate matters. Contact the Palm Beach Gardens attorneys at Doane & Doane, PA for probate, and estate planning advice and services. You can contact us today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.
Now on to the 6 essential estate planning tools.
1. Last Will and Testament
You, most likely, know precisely what a last will and testament are, and it is the beginning of any estate planning process. Of course, it allows you to designate, upon your death, what assets and property go to which beneficiaries. You will want to make sure that your last will and testament not only states which beneficiaries will receive which assets but your will should also (i) name an executor; and (ii) name a guardian for your minor children if you have any.
It is advisable to have an experienced estate planning attorney help you with your last will and testament to ensure that you properly execute the will with the appropriate witnesses. Florida has rather specific rules related to the execution of a will. Thus, you want to make sure that it is properly executed so that a probate judge will accept its validity when the time comes.
2. Financial Power of Attorney
Not only do you want to plan your estate for when you pass away, but you also want to make sure that your financial affairs are properly handled while you are still alive in the event you become incapacitated. For example, if you are quarantined due to the pandemic, yet you need to pay bills, file taxes, or complete other important transactions. You can do so with a financial power of attorney, which gives the person you designate the legal authority to manage your financial affairs.
3. Bank and Investment Accounts
While you are typically able to designate beneficiaries for your assets in your last will and testament, your IRA and other bank accounts allow you to name a beneficiary, without the need to include such things in your will. Thus, when you pass away, the remaining money in your various bank and investment accounts will automatically go to the named beneficiary without having those assets go through probate.
4. Advance Health Care Directive
They often go under different names – like health care proxy or health care power of attorney – but the documents that authorize someone to make health care decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself are typically referred to as “advance health care directives.”
5. Life and Disability Insurance
As an integral part of your estate planning, you want to be sure that you have updated your beneficiaries in connection with any insurance you have. If you do not have insurance, then good estate planning suggests that you might consider getting life insurance for your family’s welfare. Of course, the younger you are the cheaper such insurance will be, but it is worth considering at any age.
6. Digital Assets
This is still a relatively new concept for estate planners, but in our world where our devices hold our most sensitive information, you should consider how to deal with “digital assets” upon your death. In other words, if you pass away or become incapacitated, you want to be sure that you have already indicated who can access your digital account information, and how they can do so.
Look to the Palm Beach Gardens Attorneys at Doane & Doane for Help
Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.
Estate planning is about much more than just giving away property. It is an act of love and kindness, with the ultimate goal of providing for the future financial security of your loved ones. At Doane & Doane, our Wills and Trusts Attorneys West Palm Beach help people plan for retirement, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability. Experienced wills and trusts attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients. Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.
When it comes to probate matters, such as the formal administration of an estate, Florida fiduciaries seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates. Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys. With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trust and estates.