Why and how to create an estate plan

On Behalf of | May 1, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Many people in Florida may not have an estate plan. Without one, the state will decide what happens to a decedent’s assets. An estate plan can also make the time after a person’s death less difficult for family members.

An estate plan is not something that can be done once and then forgotten. People should review the plan periodically and whenever there are major changes in their family. Changes in assets or tax laws can also mean the plan needs revision. It is usually best to try to discuss the plan with beneficiaries. This makes it less likely that surprises could lead to challenges to the estate plan.

Some people might want to use a trust as part of their estate plan. The trust could be revocable or irrevocable. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed, but they may offer benefits that a revocable trust cannot. A revocable trust can be changed or canceled. People may want to consider appointing a professional trustee instead of a family member. Managing a trust can be time-consuming and may require expertise that loved ones do not have. The trust could include a provision that allows family members to replace the trustee if they think it is necessary. People might also want to consider the role of lifetime gifting in their estate plan as well.

Trusts can have many different uses. For example, they can be used to give money to a charity or to protect a loved one with special needs. An estate plan may also have a number of other elements, such as plans in case individuals become incapacitated. For example, individuals may want to appoint someone to make health care decision on their behalf if they cannot while wills can be used to appoint a guardian for minor children.