If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you should have some sort of estate plan and Booth & Cook, P.A. can help! Call for your free estate planning consultation today!
Estate Planning helps clients obtain control over their assets and where they go upon their death. Florida has certain ‘default’ provisions in place dictating where you assets go upon your death in the event you do not have a Last Will & Testament (not to be confused with a Living Will). Estate planning also allows people to choose who will look after their minor children and even look after them if they are unable to do so themselves. By using estate planning techniques, we provide services to allow our clients to provide for their minor children without guardianship procedures, use tools to avoid probate, and ensure the preservation of their assets that they worked their whole life to save.
Some Estate Planning documents are wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care documents, deeds, life insurance policies, and living wills. Using these documents and with our help, we can help you create a unified estate plan to help provide for your family’s future.
Trusts are the most flexible and complex of the estate planning tools. They are recommended for people for tax preparation/preservation whom have larger estate assets and/or have multiple parcels of real property, sometimes in multiple states.
Wills are the basic tool for planning where your assets go upon your death. They are usually fairly simple and allow you to dictate who gets your assets and who will be in charge of your estate (who you name as your personal representative a/k/a executor). In the event you pass away without a will, Florida has default provisions in place dictating where your assets go. This can lead to unintended consequences in which a long lost relative or grandchild that you have never known gets your assets as opposed to a relative you actually like and see daily.
Powers of Attorney allow you to designate another person to deal with your assets while you are alive. This is often called the ‘finance’ document. A Power of Attorney can be useful if you are unavailable (travelling out of the country), or unable (disabled, ill, or unconscious) to make financial transactions or decisions on your own. This document is very powerful and can be useful to avoid guardianship procedures. However, Florida law is very strict on how these need to be executed in order to be valid.
Typical Health Care Documents are a Living Will and a Health Care Surrogate.
- Living Will is end of life document in which in the event two doctors and your agent that you designate determine that you are either in a (i) permanent vegetative state; (ii) have an end-stage condition; or (iii) have a terminal condition and there is no reasonable medical probability of recovery, that you direct that life-prolonging procedures be forgone.
- Health Care Surrogate allows your agent to make health care decisions in the event you are unable to. This allows them to speak with the doctor and specify what kind of treatment you desire. This is separate and distinct from withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures or machines such as in the Living Will.