When embarking on anything new, many people here in Florida and elsewhere do their homework first. They do some research and make plans on how they will proceed. Estate planning is no different. This area of law provides a large amount of options and choices and making the right ones for a particular family could prove stressful without preparation.
One of the first tasks is to figure out is just what a person has in the way of assets. An inventory will help determine what types of documentation will best fulfill the person’s goals and wishes. Some people will be able to stick with just a will, but many will gain other benefits from using a trust. It all depends on what a person’s final vision is of the plan and his or her assets.
Before adding certain assets to a will or trust, it would be beneficial to determine whether they will already pass to a beneficiary by operation of law. For instance, retirement plans, life insurance policies and other accounts require the owner to fill out a designation of beneficiary form when opened. These assets will pass to the person named without the need for probate. For this reason, adding them into a will or trust will only cause confusion and perhaps ill feelings among surviving family members.
These are just two of the tips that will help take the stress out of estate planning. Other decisions regarding the best documentation and tax implications will most likely require more knowledge. For this reason, many people turn to a Florida attorney with experience and knowledge in this area of law for help in creating the best possible plan for their families.