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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

Top Reasons Why You Should Not Put Off Your Florida Estate Planning


Are you a resident of Florida? Do you have a Florida estate plan? Have you been putting off creating an estate plan for another day? Or, did you move from another state but now claim the state of Florida as your new residence? Have you created a Florida estate plan? Do you intend to just use your old out of state estate plan?

The reasons why people do not create a Florida estate plan are varied and depend on the person. Some people think they do not have enough assets to make it worthwhile or that they are too young to consider it.  Others, who are unmarried and have no immediate family, may feel there is no need to create an estate plan at all. And, new residents of Florida may feel that their out of state estate plan is just fine for Florida. However, these reasons are all based on common misconceptions about estate planning. Estate planning is important for everyone. We would like to share a few important reasons to stop putting off estate planning.

With your Florida estate plan you can provide peace of mind for yourself and your family. Have you thought about what would happen to you and your family if you were suddenly incapacitated due to an accident or illness? A comprehensive estate plan will allow you to document what you want for your care and are unable to express due to your incapacity. One of the documents in your Florida estate plan that does this is a health care surrogate. This document allows you to designate someone that you trust to be sure that your preferences regarding treatment are carried out if you cannot speak for yourself. Another important document in your estate plan is a living will. Your living will allows you to specify how much and which medical interventions you would want at the end of life. These two documents can give you and your family peace of mind knowing that your wishes are being carried out.

With your Florida estate plan you can address any practical concerns regarding the future care of your family. Each person’s immediate and long-term plans and concerns for the future are different and therefore his or her estate plan will be tailored to his or her needs. Most estate plans include a last will and testament and one or more trusts. These legal tools allow people to make certain provisions for their families. For example, if you were to pass away, a will allows you to designate someone as a guardian to care for your minor children. A will and trust may also allow you to allocate money for the needs of your children both now and in the future in the event of your death. Be mindful that without an estate plan in place the Florida courts will intervene, if necessary. The Florida courts may intervene to appoint a guardian for your minor children or determine the best use of your assets for them.

With your Florida estate plan you can create a legacy and determine how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Your Florida estate plan gives you the opportunity to control what happens to your assets after you die. This is because a Florida will and/or trust allows you to specify who receives your assets. You will also be able to name someone you trust as your personal representative in your will, to be sure your instructions for the distribution of your assets are carried out. If you do not have any estate planning documents, your property will be distributed according to Florida state laws.

Finally, in addressing out of state documents, once you have become a Florida resident it is recommended that you update your estate plan.  Each state has their own set of laws regarding the documents in an estate plan. Therefore, we encourage you to meet with an experienced Florida estate attorney who can advise you about your estate plan.

When your family or financial health is on the line or you need to create an estate plan, trust attorney Paul Riffel to help you protect your interests and achieve your goals. Attorney Paul Riffel has been practicing law in Florida for over 39 years, focusing in the areas of Tampa estate planning and  family law. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.

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