Estate planning can best be described as a process. When you plan your estate, you take the necessary legal steps to make sure that your loved ones are provided for in accordance with your wishes after you are gone.
If you do not make plans in advance for what happens after your death, you are said to have died intestate. When someone in Fort Myers dies intestate, Florida law determines what happens to the person’s assets and the court determines who manages property and oversees the settling of the estate.
The assets of a person who dies intestate are distributed in accordance with intestate succession laws, which means assets go to close relatives but not necessarily to the people you have chosen. If you have not made plans in advance, your own true wishes will not come into play when determining what happens to your property, and people that you love could be disinherited.
Because of the downsides of dying intestate, everyone in Fort Myers should create an estate plan. You don’t have to be wealthy to need a plan, and you also don’t have to wait until you are a senior. Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. can provide the assistance you need to make your plan. Contact us today to get started.
Estate Planning is Important for All Adults
Many people do not think about estate planning at all. Those who do consider estate planning often feel as though they will always have time to put a plan in place when they get older. The reality is, however, that you never know when something could happen and you could become incapacitated or pass away.
If something happens to you and you don’t have a plan, it will be too late for you to take steps to provide for your loved ones and to protect your legacy. To make sure you have control over your destiny, every responsible, self-supporting adult in Fort Myers should have an estate plan in place.
Important Estate Planning Tools
Once you know how important estate planning is, it becomes essential to understand the process of estate planning and to learn about the tools that you can use. There are different options in Florida for transferring your assets and for taking control of your future. For example:
- A last will is a widely utilized estate planning tool by people in Fort Myers, but it is not always the best choice. A last will provides you with little control over what happens to property after you are gone. The will could be contested, which would mean your wishes could end up not being respected if the contest is successful. Making a will also does nothing to reduce estate taxes, and a will does not allow you to make detailed provisions for how money should be managed if children under 18 inherit.
- A trust is another option for estate planning, and may be a better choice. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be extraordinarily wealthy to benefit from the creation of a trust. There are different kinds of trusts, so you will need to select the right trust to accomplish your goals. Trusts can allow you to specify that money is to be used for a certain purpose and can allow you to set conditions on an inheritance. Trusts are also useful for incapacity planning, and can be a method of protecting assets and reducing estate taxes.
An estate planning attorney can help you to make use of these and other legal tools that you can use. You must understand all of your options in the estate planning process so you can be certain that everyone that you love will be provided for appropriately after you are gone.
End-of-life planning is often a part of a comprehensive estate plan. Many seniors become unable to communicate medical decisions or manage their assets as they get older. You can make advanced plans to make your preferences known and to determine who will act for you. Including incapacity planning in your estate planning process allows you the maximum protection in case of serious illness or injury that leaves you unable to control your own future.
Our Firm Can Help
Estate planning is not something that you should try to do on your own. Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. provides comprehensive assistance to people in Fort Myers with the estate planning process. To find out more about estate planning, you can click here to register for an upcoming seminar. You can also call us at (239) 225-7911 to get personalized advice on how to make your own estate plan to achieve a more secure future.