VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Estate planning basics everyone needs to think about

Most Florida residents do not like to think about growing older and eventually leaving loved ones behind, but estate planning is important and necessary since no one knows what the future holds. There are a few basic things that adults can do to start preparing regardless of their age or their means.

Even those who are relatively young likely need to consider creating a will when they have their first child. Selecting a guardian is typically done through a will, and this ensures that parents can choose who should look after their children if an unforeseen event unfortunately occurs. While not easy to think about, this is obviously an extremely important precaution. One can look into naming guardians and consult an attorney about this even when not making a will.

Estate planning does not just involve preparing for one's death. Under a power of attorney, a trusted person can be designated to make certain types of financial decisions in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated and is therefore unable to do so. An advanced directive could also be helpful when something happens suddenly that renders one unable to make health care decisions. Such a document details the treatments one would and would not accept.

Certain types of accounts can be distributed without the necessity of having a will, however. Assets such as life insurance policies and retirement plans are distributed in accordance with the attached beneficiary designations. As an owner's life circumstances change, such as a divorce, remarriage or the birth of a new child, a review should be made of those designations, and an attorney can often be helpful in this regard.

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