Estate planning is a matter of practical necessity. A comprehensive, well-considered estate plan helps Floridians make critical inheritance decisions, protect their children from uncertainty, and safeguard their financial wealth and physical health from incapacity. Here’s a definitive guide to estate planning in Sun City Center.
What is Estate Planning?
While the term “estate” may suggest unfathomable wealth, everyone in Florida has an estate. It’s simply the totality of an individual’s possessions: their car, home, insurance policy, and even furniture and personal possessions.
A conventional estate plan makes arrangements for the distribution of these assets. However, modern estate plans typically account for more than inheritances. A comprehensive estate plan should include—at minimum—the designation of a guardian for any minor children, powers of attorney, and an advance health care directive.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
A prudent yet strategic estate plan seeks to mitigate the following:
- Probate-related obstacles to beneficiaries receiving the inheritance you’ve allotted them
- Incapacity-related challenges to financial planning and medical independence
- Tax- and creditor-related liabilities
Without an estate plan, any Sun City Center resident could find their health, wealth, and legacy at the mercy of a Sunshine State court. When courts are forced to adjudicate probate disputes and custodial arrangements, they must abide by a strict legal formula that doesn’t account for a deceased or incapacitated person’s wishes and often leaves intended beneficiaries without recourse.
Who Needs Estate Planning in Sun City Center?
Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of their income and the overall value of their assets. Even college students and young adults should make arrangements to prepare for unexpected accidents and other incapacitating events.
However, while everyone should have an estate plan, no two should be identical. Older adults and families may benefit from a revocable living trust, while younger people may only need the barebones protection afforded by a will.
Estate plans can, and should, be revised regularly, with updates, alterations, and additions made in accordance with significant life events.
When to Start Estate Planning
Estate planning is proactive, and it’s never too early or too late to begin creating an effective estate plan. However, any of the following life events could indicate that an estate plan is necessary:
- Opening a savings account
- Establishing an IRA or other retirement fund
- Purchasing a home or other real property
- Marrying, divorcing, or re-marrying
- Having children
- Receiving an inheritance of your own
While any significant life event should, at the very least, prompt residents in Sun City Center, FL, to consider creating an estate plan, far too many Americans put off estate planning until the last possible minute, exposing their estate—and their loved ones—to the travails of probate and potential estate challenges.
What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need?
An estate plan should include the following estate planning documents:
- A last will and testament
- A revocable living trust
- Beneficiary designations
- An advance healthcare directive
- Powers of attorney
- Funeral instructions
At first glance, some estate planning documents—such as a last will and revocable living trust—may sound redundant. However, while a will affords a testator (the person making the will) the right to make inheritance-related decisions, it can’t protect an estate from probate-related challenges. Conversely, a revocable living trust offers Floridians an opportunity to establish financial protections while keeping inheritances out of court.
How Are Survivorship Life Insurance Policies Helpful in Estate Planning?
Survivorship life insurance covers two principals, typically a married couple. When both principals pass away, a death benefit is paid to their named beneficiaries.
Since survivorship policies often provide tax-free death benefits, they may be supplemental inheritance to heirs. This inheritance can be used to cover funeral costs or pay probate-related costs and trust administration fees.
What is the Role of an Executor in Estate Planning?
An executor is an individual you delegate to handle the legal responsibility to secure an estate’s assets, pay off its creditors, and distribute inheritances. Executors play a critical role in probate administration.
The Importance of Finding the Right Sun City Center Estate Planning Attorney
In this video, Sun City Center estate planning attorney D. Rep DeLoach III explains the importance of finding the right lawyer for your legal issues.
How to Start Estate Planning in Sun City Center?
Starting the process of estate planning in Sun City Center, FL, can be as simple as scheduling an initial, no-obligation consultation with an experienced and skilled attorney. Our legal specialists, attorneys D. Rep DeLoach III and Michelle Lianzo, will help you assess your estate, identify solutions that complement your family’s unique characteristics, and prepare a contingency plan if you’re ever incapacitated and unable to make decisions independently.