Many people do not have an estate plan in place because their need was never adequately described or understood, and the purpose of this blog post is to explain why most people need to meet with an attorney to put a plan in place.
There are some reasons why everybody, regardless of the value of assets owned, should have an estate plan.
Distributing Assets in the Intended Manner
Suppose you die without having an estate plan. All property you own is distributed under state law. A state’s distribution plan often conflicts with your intentions.
Minimizing Need for Probate
As discussed in a previous post, Probate is the legal process where a court ensures that all assets owned by you are distributed. This process usually requires that notice be given to all interested parties, including creditors, ensure that all debts are paid, and distribute all remaining assets by either your Will or, if none, applicable state law. Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney to put your documents in order will help minimize complications with the probate process if that is a goal of your plan.
A plan should address what will happen when and if you become incapacitated without the need for a court-appointed guardian, conservator, or other fiduciary. A Power of attorney should be appointed to manage your finances if you are unable. A Health Care Surrogate should be designated to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The same individual can also be named in a “living will” to work with doctors and determine whether to remove life support —or never administer it.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law, serves clients all over the state of Florida with Estate Planning and Probate. She has offices in Daytona Beach and Melbourne but can meet via phone or Zoom with clients statewide. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi at www.heidiwebb.com.