Nearly everyone, regardless of age, has an estate. Some are quiet modest while others are large and complex. Your individual estate is comprised of property you own; your home, personal possessions, bank accounts, investment accounts, cars, boats, and other real estate assets. An estate plan protects your assets while you are alive and distributes your assets, according to your instructions, when you die. As the saying goes “Only two things in life are certain, death and taxes.” St. Petersburg Estate Planning Attorney, Adam Rauman, believes a proper estate plan can address both of life’s certainties, but it should start by protecting you and your estate while you are alive.
There are four basic documents that are essential components of your estate plan: 1. A Will, 2. Power of Attorney, 3. Health Care Surrogate, & 4. Living Will. A fifth optional component is a Trust or Living Revocable Trust. A Trust can provide asset protection, it can reduce individual tax liability, and it will avoid Probate. At Boss, Arrighi, & Hoag, we examine each client’s individual needs so we can custom design their estate plan.
Most Americans put off estate planning because they mistakenly think they don’t have a need for a plan, estate planning is too complicated, or they don’t want to face their own mortality. Dying without a Will, called intestate, causes undue stress on your family. The loss of a loved one is difficult enough don’t make their suffering worse because you didn’t have an estate plan.
Consider these questions when deciding why you should have an estate plan:
- If you have minor children, who will care for them if you are incapacitated or deceased?
- How will you ensure your assets transfer to your children or are properly used for your children’s care?
- Do you have stepchildren? Do you want them to inherit from your estate?
- Is there someone you do not want to inherit from your estate?
- Do you want some or all of your assets to go to a charity?
- Who will pay your bills and handle your finances if you become temporally or permanently incapacitated?
- Who will run your business if you become temporally or permanently incapacitated?
- Who will pay the companies bills if you become temporally or permanently incapacitated? Most business owners are the only ones authorized on the business account.
- Who do you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself?
- Who have you authorized, in writing, to speak with your Health Insurance Company and doctors?
- What steps have you taken to protect your family members from being held personally liable for your medial treatment?
- What have you done to protect your family from the guilt associated with end of life decision
- Do you want to be kept alive by artificial means if death is imminent?
- Have you made you wishes known in writing?
Other Estate Planning Topics:
Life is ever changing and accidents happen every day. Having an estate plan helps to protect you and your family from unexpected or unanticipated life events. Contact Adam Rauman to schedule your free consultation. You’ll feel better knowing you and your family is protected.