VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How to create a comprehensive estate plan

While Florida residents and others who have a will should be commended for taking that step, an estate plan is more than just that one component. Ideally, it should be considered a comprehensive strategy to protect assets in retirement and beyond. For example, a possible component of an estate plan is to pay for a funeral well before it happens. This may include buying a coffin and a tombstone.

As part of an estate plan, multiple family members should be named to a committee to carry out the terms of a revocable trust if an individual becomes mentally incapacitated. Doing so may avoid the need to spend time in court to name a guardian. To maintain good relationships with a spouse and other close family members, it may be worthwhile to have separate lawyers creating the estate plans for each spouse.

Separating the planning will help ensure that each partner has a legal representative looking out solely for their interests. In addition to preserving relationships, it may reduce a person's anxiety by taking away as many unknowns as possible in such a plan. Finally, individuals should overestimate how long they will live as a means of preserving assets. A 65-year-old man can expect to live until 84 while a woman can expect to live until 87. However, some people who are 65 today may live to see 90 or even 95.

The loss of a loved one may be a difficult event from a financial and emotional standpoint. However, there are ways that individuals can reduce the burden of their passing on family and friends. By creating a will, creating a trust or using beneficiary designations, it may be possible for final expenses to be paid and assets to be transferred to beneficiaries in a timely manner.

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