What is an Estate Plan..?

We all know that one day will be our last day. When that day finally comes, an Estate Plan can help your family avoid or minimize the legal complexities and expense of your incapacity or death. 

An estate planning is the act by which you plan for your death or incapacity. More specifically, it’s the process by which you establish your wishes for your assets and care as you age, become incapacitated, or die.

A Properly Prepared
Estate Plan Will Establish:

  • Who will care for you and manage your financial affairs if you become ill or incapacitated
  • Who will care for your children and protect their future, your legacy, when you are no longer able to do so.
  • How will your assets be distributed upon your passing.

These are just a few of the inevitable questions that a properly prepared Estate Plan can answer. Every Estate plan in Florida should be reviewed by a licensed Florida estate planning attorney.

Many documents you find online may not comply with Florida law or anticipate some issues that an experience estate planning attorney can plan for. 

Last Will & Testament

A Last Will & Testament will provide all the essential and necessary details of who will inherit your property when you die.

It will explain when and how they will inherit, and it will name who you wish to serve as your Personal Representative, sometimes called an Executor. This is the individual who will be put in charge of settling your final affairs and guiding your estate through the probate process.

A well drafted Last Will & Testament will cover those points and also state what powers you want your Personal Representative to have. A Last Will & Testament will also address a fifth important point if you have minor children. Who will serve as their guardian until they become adults if their other parent predeceases you or dies with you in a common event?

It is important to understand that a Last Will & Testament will not allow your assets to avoid Probate. To avoid that time consuming and costly process, additional planning is necessary. EFL LAW will be able to advise you on how to avoid Probate and to create documents to accomplish that goal. 

It is important to understand that a Last Will & Testament will not allow your assets to avoid Probate. To avoid that time consuming and costly process, additional planning is necessary.

EFL LAW will be able to advise you on how to avoid Probate and to create documents to accomplish that goal. 

The term “living trust” is generally used to describe a trust (a) which you can create during your lifetime, and (b) which you can revoke or amend whenever you wish to do so. You can also create an “irrevocable” living trust, but that is permanent and unchangeable and is almost exclusively done to produce certain tax results beyond the scope of this summary.
Miami Real Estate Attorneys – Protecting your Assets – EFL Law

Revocable Trust

A "living trust" is legally in existence during your life, has a trustee who is currently serving, and owns property which (generally) you have transferred to it during your life.

While you are living, the trustee (who may be you) is generally responsible for managing the property as you direct for your benefit.

Upon your death, the trustee is generally directed to either distribute the trust property to your beneficiaries, or to continue to hold it and manage it for the benefit of your beneficiaries. Like a will, a living trust can provide for the distribution of property upon your death.

Unlike a will, it can also (a) provide you with a vehicle for managing your property during your life, and (b) authorize the trustee to manage the property and use it for your benefit (and your family) if you should become incapacitated, thereby avoiding the appointment of a guardian for that purpose.

Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney ("POA") is a powerful estate planning tool. A POA names the individual(s) you wish to authorize to make financial and healthcare decisions for you and on your behalf.

If you become incapacitated, your loved ones will quickly discover that they may not have legal authority to withdraw money from your bank account to pay your mortgage or pay for your healthcare. They may not have the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. They will soon discover that their only option is to hire a lawyer and create a Guardianship for you, which is costly and time consuming.

These are just some of the benefits that a POA can provide you and your loved ones.

However, this is a powerful document and you must name someone you absolutely trust as your Agent in Fact.

You should speak with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to figure out how a POA can help you and your loved ones, but also, to discuss the dangers of the POA as well.

Miami Power of Attorney – Protecting your Estate – EFL Law
Miami Healthcare Surrogate Lawyer – EFL Law

Living Wills & Health Care Surrogates

A Living Will sets forth your wishes for certain advanced healthcare measures if you become terminally ill or incapacitated.

For example, you may want all life saving measures to keep you alive, even if you are completely incapacitated. You could also decide that if you lose brain function and two doctors find there is no chance of recovery that you don’t want any advanced life saving measures.

A Health Care Surrogate sets forth the person you wish to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to communicate or make decisions on your own. You should express your wishes to the person ahead of time and make sure it is someone you trust to act on your behalf.

Lady Bird Deeds

This type of deed is an excellent estate planning tool that will allow your beneficiaries to inherit your real property automatically upon your passing, without the expense and stress of a Probate Administration.

Miami Real Estate & Trust Attorney – EFL Law

Miami Real Estate and Estate Planning Attorneys.