Thanksgiving dinner is full of estate planning tips. The turkey reminds us that life is often shorter than we expect and putting off that estate plan until tomorrow could prove disastrous if you end up stuffed and roasted or even deep fried. The candied yams show us that even something that looks boring can be incredibly important when prepared correctly. The vegetables on our plates are a good analogy for the necessity of a legally valid Living Will… well, for obvious reasons. The pecan pie doesn’t remind me of anything but I really like pecan pie so I thought I should mention it anyway. This Thanksgiving let’s learn from our delicious dinner. Don’t just be thankful for your family and all that you have, protect it!
Estate Planning is appropriate for everyone no matter what stage of life they are in. Protecting your wealth and preparing for unforeseen accidents remain equally important whether you are older and have accumulated a great deal of wealth or are young in years. Without the proper planning, your assets will be distributed by statute and in a manner that may be undesirable. By creating an estate plan, you have control over where your assets go and in what manner they get there. A proper estate plan will eliminate the probate process, may reduce taxes and will protect the assets against possible litigation, divorce or other troubles your beneficiaries may face. To protect your assets, yourself and your family, consider the following documents:
- Living Trust – The Trust will keep the assets it hold segregated from your estate which will allow the assets to avoid probate (the legal process of determining whether a will is valid). By avoiding probate you remain in control and can choose who receives what and how they will receive it.
- Assignment of Property – This Assignment of Property does just that: assigns your property to your trust. This includes both real & personal property. This document is important because a Trust without property is ineffective and useless.
- Last Will & Testament – The traditional will that is used upon death to distribute property to beneficiaries, specify last wishes, and name guardians for minor children.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Designate and authorize someone to legally act on your behalf, in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise incapable.
- Combination Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate – Outlines important healthcare decisions in advance, and allows for you to appoint a healthcare surrogate to make healthcare decisions for you when you become unable to do so yourself.
Don’t be a Turkey this November, get your estate plan today! Schedule your free consultation by contacting the South Florida office Wild, Felice & Partners, P.A. at (954) 944-2855. To learn more about Estate Planning and Asset Protection visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
It’s Wild World. Are You Protected? SM