The Five Keys to a Comprehensive Estate Plan

Leaving this world with a comprehensive estate plan in place is one important way you can care for your family. A comprehensive estate plan provides financially for your family when you pass away and can reduce their emotional burden load if you become incapacitated. While some situations call for additional specific estate planning tools, here are five keys to a comprehensive estate plan.

1. Will or Trust

A comprehensive estate plan is either will-based or trust-based. A trust typically costs more to prepare, but trust assets avoid the probate process. Instead of going through probate, at your death, the trustee manages your estate according to the instructions you’ve documented in the trust provisions. A will, on the other hand, must go through the probate process. But the court must follow the instructions and appointments you’ve made in the will. Your estate planning attorney will guide you to the best type of estate plan for your specific circumstances.

2. Additional Trusts

Your specific finances and family situation may require additional trusts. For example, a Special Needs Trust may be important if you have a child with a physical or mental disability. Your attorney may advise you to consider using an Irrevocable Living Trust for asset protection purposes (including a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust). Many additional specific trusts are available to handle specific assets and specific circumstances. Your experienced attorney will know which will be important to your comprehensive estate plan and how they will work together to achieve your goals.

3. Healthcare Directives

Together, these documents enable you to express your wishes and appoint your decisionmaker for your healthcare decisions during a period of incapacity. They are an important part of your comprehensive estate plan.

• Living Will
This document provides your guidance about your medical care decisions and end-of-life care.

• Health Care Power of Attorney
This document appoints someone (referred to as your healthcare surrogate) who will make medical care decisions on your behalf during a period of mental incapacity.

4. Financial Power of Attorney

Like the Health Care Power of Attorney, this document appoints someone to manage your finances for you during an incapacity.

5. Ongoing Review

It is important to note that things change over time: tax laws, your finances, your health status, healthcare wishes, and more. Periodic review of and update to your estate plan ensure that it will achieve your goals. This ongoing review is so critical that many estate planning attorneys offer maintenance plans.

Work with an Experienced Florida Estate Planning Attorney.

We will create a comprehensive estate plan for you. We offer a maintenance plan to ensure your plan remains up to date. Call our office at 321-804-2915 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.