36444292_mIn life we are often faced with some tough questions like “should I quit my job” or “does this dress make me look fat?” Navigating the answers to such questions can be challenging but at Wild Felice and Partners, we have realized that not all questions are created equal. While we may not have answers for your wife as she twirls around in a dress from circa 1989, we do have the answers to the most common estate planning questions.

Why do I need an estate plan?

It is often believed that only the old and wealthy need an estate plan. This is far from the truth. In fact, anyone who is mortal needs an estate plan. Even Moses died eventually so you definitely need a plan. In most cases, wealth is not the driving factor behind setting up an estate plan, it’s the control over who gets all of your assets and when they get your assets after you are gone.

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

A will is a document that describes one’s preference about how they wish to distribute their assets after their death. A living trust on the other hand, allows a person to entrust his/her assets to a grantor or trustee. The grantor has the responsibility of transferring the assets of the trust to the person’s beneficiaries, or managing those assets on behalf of those beneficiaries.

The main difference between the two estate planning options is probate. By having a trust, a person avoids probate. Probate requires the family members of the deceased to attend court and hear arguments from those who may contest the will. Probate also allows creditors to attack the estate and ties up the assets for years. The cost of probate ranges from 3 to 10 percent, depending on the assets. With a living trust, because the assets were transferred prior to his/her death, the family does not have to go through probate.

When should I get an estate plan? When should I make updates?

It is never too early to start. Sit down and take stock of all of your assets, including investments, retirement accounts, insurance polices, real estate, business venture and valuables. Next, decide what you want to achieve with those assets and who you wish to inherit them.

Once you do have an estate plan, it is very important to update it. Things change, we get married, divorced, lose money, gain money, have children or relocate. Anytime you have a big change in your life, we want to know about it. It’s not because we’re nosy, but simply, because we want to make sure you are taken care of.

Have more questions? Wow, you ask a lot of questions! All joking aside, the attorneys at Wild Felice and Partners are more than happy to answer all of your questions. We also provide free consultations. Call us at 954.944.2855 or contact us here.

Wild Felice and Partners provide estate planning and asset protection in Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Weston and Miami.