Many Americans do not yet have an estate plan in place. This is due primarily to the fact that the average person may not be familiar with the common concepts and documents used in an estate plan. Some people may also think this is only something they need to worry about when they are much older. However, every estate plan is tailored to the needs of the person creating the plan and can be used to prepare for unexpected illnesses or familial changes in the future. If you want to prepare for your future and that of your family, starting your estate plan with The Millman Law Group is essential. If you are unsure where to start, individuals crafting their unique estate plans most often utilize the following estate planning documents.
Your Last Will and Testament
Typically, your Will serves as a foundation of a basic state plan. Executing a Will ensures that you do not leave behind an intestate estate, which means dying without any Will. When you die intestate, the state decides what happens to your assets using the established state succession laws. This typically means only close relatives will inherit from your estate. You must create your Will if you want more say over who you can leave assets to, including friends, distant relatives, and charitable organizations. You can also appoint a personal representative to your estate within your Will. This person is responsible for overseeing the administration of your estate, along with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
You may believe that trusts are only used by the very wealthy to guard family fortunes. While that may be true for some, trusts are now one of the more common estate planning documents. A trust is created by the owner, called a Settlor or Grantor, who transfers their assets to a Trustee. The Trustee holds the property for the beneficiaries of the trust. Trusts are often divided into two broad categories: Testamentary and Living Trusts. Testamentary trusts do not activate until after the Grantor’s death, whereas a living trust goes into effect as soon as the agreement is in place and the trust is funded.
A living trust can be additionally divided into Revocable and Irrevocable Living Trusts. Your estate planning lawyer at The Millman Law Group can help you understand the many estate planning goals a trust can help you with, including:
- Asset protection
- Avoiding probate
- Incapacity planning
- Planning for parents with minor children
- Medicaid planning
- Pet planning
- Special needs planning
Your estate plan’s primary focus is ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your unique wishes. However, you should also ensure that your wishes for your own care are honored if you become incapacitated. An advance directive will help you plan for that possible scenario. There are different types of advance directives:
- Health Care Surrogate: This document lets you appoint a surrogate to make decisions when you cannot make them yourself. Your surrogate will have the authority to consent to care, refuse consent, or withdraw consent to medical treatment on your behalf.
- Living Will: This document lets you state your wishes regarding life-sustaining or life-prolonging procedures.
- Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney grants a person power over the financial matters of an incapacitated individual.
If you want to include these estate planning documents in your plan or want to learn more, consult your attorney at The Millman Law Group for informed, personalized guidance.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs Trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.