Estate planning is the practice of officially and legally arranging what will happen to an individual’s estate (the person’s net worth) during their life and upon their passing. Estate planning differs slightly from a will, as it can apply to extra items that are not addressed by the later – for example bank accounts and retirement plans. This process also plans for incapacity, assists in the clarity and certainty over future probate procedure and finally endeavors to ensure the amount of the individual’s estate is fully maximized. This is done by attempting to reduce taxes and other such expenses; in some situations a trust may be used to do this.
One of the overall aims of estate planning is to help lessen the amount of decisions in later life, avoiding undue stress in what can possibly be an already emotionally demanding situation. It basically sets out a route for your family to follow, dealing with not only financial disposition, but also with end of life and care decisions. After an individual’s passing all estate must go through a probate period, which is a time during which the court deals with all aspects of the estate, assets and distribution. By having a thorough plan any discrepancies that could end with your family going through a lengthy probate period can be avoided. One thing Florida does practice is summary administrations, which mean that if a person’s estate is valued as less than $75,000, an heir may be able to cut out the probate procedure altogether.
It is important to note that estate planning laws do vary state to state. This is why it is essential to get yours evaluated under Florida law in order to ensure its validity if, for instance, you have recently moved into the area. The same rule applies to former residents who had their estate planning organized in Florida – the document will need to be examined by a legal expert in their new state so as to guarantee its legitimacy.
There are many paths to take when it comes to estate planning, and they are based on the person’s individual assets, unique situation and goals. It is best to discuss estate planning with a legal representative who is an expert in this type of law to make sure you and your family will have a thorough and detailed plan, thus avoiding any additional emotional and financial stress in the future.