Believe it or not, 50 percent of the adult population in the United States has not finalized their estate plans and it seems like all of them have a valid excuse. In Florida, some individuals might say that it is because they are single. Others might say that it is because they are not wealthy. However, neither of these excuses is a valid one.
Indeed, everyone, no matter who they are or how much money they have can benefit from a well-planned estate. If an individual is both an adult and has some amount of financial assets to his or her name, then the relatives of that person can be saved a great deal of hardship and heartache if an estate plan has been prepared.
Many individuals believe that estate planning involves the creation of a special will and/or a special trust. However, a lot of estate plans are much simpler than that and just involve three basic estate planning documents: a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and a simple will.
A financial power of attorney document designates who will manage an individual’s financial affairs and pay his or her bills in the even that he or she has become incapacitated. A health care power of attorney will make health-related decisions on one’s behalf in the event of unconsciousness or mental incapacitation. Finally, a simple will will designate which heir is to receive what, even if one’s bank account only has $5,000 in it and one’s apartment has only a few pieces of furniture. Without a will in place, the state will decide who gets what. Those with children will also want to designate in their wills a legal guardian.
Florida residents engaged in the estate planning process may believe that they can simply use an online form to create their will. Individuals without a lot of assets might be able to get away with a form-created will; however, those with a larger amount of money to their names might want to consult with an attorney about the process. An estate planning attorney will know what questions to ask and which mistakes to avoid in order to prepare one’s estate in a suitable fashion that fits one’s unique financial situation and needs.
Source: ajc.com, “3 estate planning documents every adult needs” Nedra Rhone, Jul. 15, 2014