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Do You Need a Florida Estate Planning Attorney?

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), more than half of Americans die without a will or estate plan in place. Without a will or estate plan in place, the laws of the State of Florida dictate the transfer of assets to the deceased’s closest relatives and will decide who gets what. Working with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney ensures your wishes are honored from the time you are no longer able to manage your assets or health and after you are gone.

What is an Estate Plan?

Simply put, an Estate Plan is a set of directions that express how you, not your relatives and certainly not the State of Florida, want your health care managed and your assets distributed. These directions are expressed in writing by you in an assortment of Florida specific legal documents. Documents such as a Will, a Trust, Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Care Surrogate.

Who Needs a Florida Estate Planning Attorney?

Everyone! Whether you own a home or rent an apartment. Whether you are retired or years away from retirement. Whether you are single or married.
If you have children, especially minors, you should absolutely have a legal plan, set out in writing as to who takes care of the children and the assets upon a tragic circumstance of being left parentless.
You want to make sure your finances are handled properly, make healthcare decisions in advance and that your assets go to who you want them to go to. It you do not have the correct legal Florida documents in place, someone else could make your healthcare decisions if you no longer can and your assets are distributed in ways you may never had imagined.
Since the federal estate tax exemption, more commonly known as “The Death Tax” reached $5.45 million in 2017, it does not affect the majority of people. Anyone who has an estate worth more than that must pay federal estate taxes of up to 40%. The reality is, Estate Planning consists of much more than simply tax debt on the estate.

The Dangers of Doing It Yourself

There are many bad options for do-it-yourself estate planning with the Internet, books, and other resources. You can find Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Living Trusts, Last Will and Testament along with many other documents that could be used without hiring an Estate Planning Attorney. However, properly prepared documents require conforming to Florida Law. There are hundreds of Florida Laws and Rules that govern Estate Planning. .
Having a qualified Florida Attorney can ensure that these vital documents are correct, legal and binding and give you peace of mind. The ABA warns that in some cases a do-it-yourself estate plan may actually make matters worse for your loved ones.

The Bottom Line on Estate Planning

Unfortunately, estate planning is often neglected in our busy lives.. Not realizing the importance of estate planning or doing it improperly can be costly and negligent. To avoid problems and ensure the security of your loved ones, everyone should speak to an experienced Florida Estate Planning Attorney.
Steven M. Fishman is an experienced Florida Probate and Estate Planning Attorney who can guide you through the whole process. He can help you decide whether you need a will or living trust depending on your situation and make sure that your wishes are respected. Call his office today at 727-724-9044 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation about Florida Trusts, Wills and Probate.

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