Estate planning could establish a logical map for beneficiaries to follow after a loved one passes away. Do all Florida estate planning steps and documents center on a deceased’s assets? Estate planning may involve far more than drawing a will, and other critical documents might prove helpful to relatives long before the planner passes away.
Wills and trusts
A “last will and testament” likely stands as the one estate planning document most people understand. When someone with a written will passes away, the will names an executor who handles the divisions of assets and the payment of debts. The testator’s wishes appear in the will, which might not be the case if Florida intestate laws guide probate.
A trust serves as an alternative to a will, and a trust provides the grantor with more powers than would be the case with a will. Trusts also help beneficiaries avoid probate, a result also possible when setting up “transfer on death” designations.
Not every estate planning decision focuses on someone’s death. Several contracts come into play during the planner’s life.
Estate planning could involve many documents
Besides wills and trusts, estate planning documents could include power of attorney forms. A financial power of attorney contract hands over many agent/representative authority to a named attorney-in-fact. The agent may then handle business and financial affairs on behalf of the grantor.
For health care decisions, the grantor would need to draw up a health care proxy when wishing to hand such authority over to someone else. A living will becomes another option, and this document specifies the testator’s medical care wishes in advance. Those concerned about suffering from an incapacitating accident or illness may find such health-related documents valuable.
An attorney could work with a client to devise a thorough estate plan. The attorney may review all documents to determine their legality under Florida law.