Regardless of your age, marital status or the amount of wealth you currently possess, establishing an estate plan is not only important, but downright crucial.
Why? Because as FindLaw explains, if you do not have at least a last will and testament when you die, the law of the State of Florida declares that you died intestate. State law consequently will decide which of your relatives receives what percentage of your estate, whether or not that distribution is what you would have wanted.
Generally your Last Will and Testament will serve as your foundation estate planning document. In it you can specify your heirs and what you want each of them to receive when you die. Keep in mind that you can name your alma mater, your favorite charity or any other entity you desire as one of your heirs.
Another very important aspect of your will is that you can designate the person or people you want to raise your children in the event you and your spouse did together in a car crash or other catastrophe while they are minors.
Additional estate planning documents
Depending on your personal situation, you may wish to add one or more of the following to your estate plan:
- A special needs trust for the benefit of your special needs child
- One or move living trusts naming yourself and/or others – even your pet – as the beneficiary or beneficiaries
- A health care directive, a/k/a medical power of attorney, delineating the types of medical care and treatment you want and do not want at the end of your life or if your illness, injury or other incapacity makes it impossible for you to make these choices when they become necessary
All in all, astute estate planning can not only give you enormous peace of mind, it can also ensure that the people you designate in your various documents will carry out your wishes.