What Does Estate Planning Protect?
Estate planning is a legal roadmap with legal documents created specifically to protect you, your estate and your needs by an estate planning attorney.
Clients generally understand what estate planning is and why it’s important. But what does estate planning protect?
Healthcare Wishes, Assets, Futures
Estate planning protects your healthcare wishes, your assets, and your loved ones’ futures.
A Florida estate planning attorney can legally protect your estate, establish your health directives, and control the distribution of your estate to beneficiaries for you.
Estate planning documents tell Florida judges and your heirs exactly how your estate, and — if you are a parent or a caregiver — how your children or your ward should be taken care of after your death, or if you become physically, or mentally incapacitated.
An estate plan involves legal documents to determine your healthcare decisions and wishes to be followed at the end of your life should you be unable to make these decisions on your own.
What Else Can Estate Planning Protect?
It’s your estate planning attorney’s role to draft and implement documents to protect you and your estate, for your beneficiaries, and to avoid or to mitigate estate taxes and formalize the eventual distribution of your assets upon your death.
Your Florida estate is affected by state and federal taxes because an estate tax is placed on the transfer of property after your death. It’s called a death tax or an inheritance tax. Minimizing taxation is a function of estate planning to protect you from what may be charged.
A Florida will is the legal “instruction sheet” for the probate court. A will must be deemed “admissible” to be allowed.
If you have a will, the document states and defines who will inherit your estate. However, if you die intestate — without having a legal Florida will, then the Florida probate court decides how and if the estate distributes any assets. State law determines who will inherit the estate.
In both situations — with or without a legal will — if the value of your estate is worth more than a certain amount, a Florida probate court must supervise the settling of the estate. The remainder of the estate may go through the probate process.
What Is The Probate Process?
During probate, the executor of the estate pays off any outstanding debts and gives the remaining assets to any beneficiaries.
There is a Summary Administration and a Formal Administration in probate.
Bloodworth Law handles formal administration, which takes normally about a year to a year and a half, or summary administration, which can be relatively short.
Formal Administration in probate is for an estate valued above $75,000. And a Summary Administration in probate is going to be an estate with assets under $75,000 in value.
Should You Have A Trust?
There are many types of trusts and manners in which assets may be held for others until a grantor’s death.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement and a legal agreement that holds a third party legally responsible for managing and holding assets and to execute wishes created by a grantor on behalf of one or multiple beneficiaries.
The most common type of trust is called a revocable living trust, but there are many others. A person may set up a living trust to hold certain assets (for example, a home) during their lifetime, and then give those assets to others at their death.
Do Assets In Trust Go Through Probate?
Assets held in a living trust do not go through probate which is a reason to have an attorney establish a trust. Based on the estate planning decided by a grantor, some assets may pass directly from the estate to the beneficiaries.
Trusts may also be used to protect property from creditors, or simply to provide for someone else to manage and invest property.
It’s important to be prepared for the challenges that impact our lives, our families and our health. Your estate plan should reflect your life’s changes to remain current and effective for the goals that you’ve established.
About Bloodworth Law Estate Planning
Florida attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is a 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Lawyer® in Trusts & Estates Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation.
Reed is Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law, PLLC, a 2022 U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firm,” with offices in Orlando and Winter Haven.
Talk with Reed and the Bloodworth Law Estate Planning team about how to ensure that your loved ones are cared for, and that your legacy is protected.Consider sharing this post