Estate planning may seem like a morbid activity, but it can actually bring you much peace of mind. No matter what your wealth or age is, executing an estate plan while you are still in good health can benefit you and your loved ones. The following are some estate planning steps a person in Stuart can take to get the process started.
1. Address your health care wishes
There are two main documents you will want to execute regarding your health care wishes. One is a medical power of attorney. The person named to this role will make health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated, for example, if you fall into a coma or develop dementia. The second is a living will. In this document you will specify what end-of-life care you wish to receive, such as CPR or tube feeding.
2. Assign an executor of your estate
Whether you have a will, a trust or both, you will have the opportunity to name an executor of your estate. This person will have the duties of carrying out the terms of your will or trust. This includes distributing estate assets to your heirs. If you do not specify an executor of your estate, the court will assign a person to this role, so it is important to document your wishes if you have a preference as to who this person should be.
3. Address financial issues
It is important to make sure you have finalized your will as according to Florida law. If you have a trust, you must fund it by transferring assets into the trust. And, you will want to select a person to act as financial power of attorney. This person has the duty of managing your financial activities and needs should you become incapacitated, not unlike a medical power of attorney.
4. Discuss your wishes with loved ones
Talking to your loved ones about your estate plan can be a difficult conversation, but it is one worth having. Knowing what to expect can bring your loved ones a sense of relief during a difficult time. You will also want to make sure your loved ones know where to find your estate planning documents. In addition, you will want to share contact information for your physician, attorney and other professionals involved in your medical care and financial affairs with your loved ones. Finally, you can create a document for your loved ones that list your user names and passwords for your online accounts.
As you can see, estate planning can be a complex process. However, officially documenting your wishes is important. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who are ready to begin the estate planning process may find our firm’s estate planning webpage useful.