He was not old by any stretch. He was only 55 years old. Yet, because of a rare condition, he passed away unexpectedly. When it came to estate planning, he was always going to “get around to it,” but he never actually sat down to create a last will and testament, or to speak with an estate planning firm about the best way to deal with his assets. So, what happened? His estate was handled in probate court under Florida’s laws of intestacy, which are the rules that are triggered when someone dies without a will.
He was unmarried, so the Florida laws did not allow his long-time girlfriend to be an heir to his assets. Rather, a large portion of his assets when to an estranged sister with whom he had not had a relationship in years. In fact, when he was alive, he was fairly clear that he did not want his substantial fortune from his IT career to go to his sister. That, however, could not be avoided because he did not do his estate planning before his passing.
While that gentleman’s failure to put his estate plans in order before he suddenly passed is unfortunate, it should serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us. Without an estate plan, we lose control over how we would like our assets – our legacy – to continue. Don’t make that mistake.
In this article, we are going take advantage of the fact that we are moving into a New Year, so we can talk about the things you can resolve to do for yourself and your family with some solid estate planning.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions on getting your own estate planning started, then we welcome you to contact the Palm Beach County estate planning firm at Doane & Doane, PA. Call today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.
Estate Planning on Your Resolutions List
Have you ever put estate planning on your New Year’s resolution list? If not, it is something worth considering. Think about it: losing 20 pounds and making a career move are common resolutions that are about making your life better. You can also make your life better by having the peace of mind that your family and friends will know what to do in the event that something happens to you.
In that spirit, here are 4 New Year’s resolutions that you can gear towards your goal of good estate planning.
1. Don’t Shy Away from Some Tough Conversations
It is never enjoyable to talk about the fact that everyone will eventually pass away. It is much easier to avoid having a talk about financial, legal, and emotionally charged matters. But, having a candid conversation about who should make legal and financial decisions for you will pay off in the long run. So, consider making a resolution to discuss with your likely surviving family members your intentions when it comes to a durable power of attorney, the executor of your estate, and who should make healthcare decisions for you.
2. Make Decisions Now as Much as Possible
The key to estate planning is making as many decisions now, so your heirs know what to do later. To that end, there are four main documents that you will want to create in your estate planning, in addition to a last will and testament. Those four documents are:
1. A living will, which are instructions on what kind of medical care you do, and do not, want if you are in a condition such that you may not recover.
2. A durable power of attorney, which permits you to pick the person who will make financial and legal decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
3. A healthcare release, which gives your doctors permission to share your medical records with the people you choose.
4. Medical power of attorney, which allows you to choose the person who will make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
3. Update Your Estate Plan
If you have already done an estate plan, then you may want to resolve to update your plan. Consider what changes have happened in your life since you last did your estate plan. Married? Divorced? Children? Your estate plan should reflect the current state of your life.
4. What About Life Insurance?
Finally, you may want to consider whether your level of life insurance is appropriate. If you have a family with young children, then perhaps increasing your life insurance would make a lot of sense. Conversely, if your children are out of the house, perhaps less life insurance is required.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Firm – Call Doane & Doane
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 one. At Doane & Doane, our tax and estate professionals help people plan for retirement, consider various types of wills and trusts, 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’ trusts and estates.
Since the day we opened our doors, we have worked hard to earn a reputation as one of the region’s most prominent tax and estate planning law firms in Palm Beach County, Florida. Our dynamic team includes the firm’s founding partners, experienced associate attorneys, and an outstanding team of paralegals, legal assistants, and support
Call the Palm Beach County estate planning firm at Doane & Doane, P.A. You can reach us at 561-656-0200. Call us today.