David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Why do I need to make an estate plan?

There are many reasons to avoid creating an estate plan. It is time consuming. You may prefer to spend your money on other things. There is also the unavoidable need to think seriously about your last days and the eventualities that may accompany them. Nevertheless, an estate plan is critical for many reasons -- even if you believe your estate is not big enough to take the trouble.

You may be hearing people around you discussing their estate plans. Even TV commercials remind you of the importance of preparing your estate and your loved ones for the end of your life. No, it is not the most pleasant thing to talk about, but the topic keeps coming up, and you may be ready to explore the options.

Keeping the government out of it

Perhaps one of the most attractive reasons to plan your estate is to limit the amount of say the federal and local governments will have on your legacy. After your passing, your estate goes through the probate process. Florida probate court verifies your identity and the identities of your heirs as well as the value of your assets. The court will also calculate whether your estate will owe federal taxes.

If you have a will, probate may take less time because there will be no need to argue about your wishes with the court. Without a will, however, the courts will decide where your assets go. A more complete estate plan can include trusts, which allow your assets to skip the probate process and go directly to your heirs. Trusts can be constructed with specific instructions for the management of your wealth. They can also protect your estate from taxes.

Saving your loved ones the trouble

Without an estate plan, you may leave your loved ones with the tension and frustration of settling your estate without knowing your wishes. Having your potential heirs arguing over their inheritances and draining the estate of its assets to litigate their fortune is only one concern. If you should become ill or incapacitated before your passing, an estate plan can direct your loved ones in making medical and financial decisions in your name. This alone can bring more peace of mind to your family than you imagine.

Other ways an estate plan can help your loved ones include these:

  • Assigning a guardian for minor children
  • Protecting adult children from their own bad decisions
  • Safeguarding your assets from potential lawsuits
  • Providing your spouse with an income
  • Planning for the care of your pets

Many people can benefit from your estate plan, and you are certain to leave behind a legacy of love and protection that your loved ones will appreciate. You may find it is worth the brief feelings of awkwardness and inconvenience.

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David Howard Goldberg, P.L.
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Miami, FL 33131

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