Estate planning is the process of deciding what will happen to your property when you die. Wills are the cornerstone of many estate plans, but tools like trusts can also be used to ensure your final wishes are carried out.
While many Floridians think estate planning is a project for older people, the truth is that any adult the state can benefit from an estate plan. People with children younger than age 18 should especially consider creating an estate plan to ensure their children are protected.
At Farah & Farah, our Jacksonville estate attorneys can help you create an estate plan that protects your loved ones, honors your wishes, and manages your property wisely – no matter how much or how little you own. To learn more about the benefits of creating an estate plan, consult our legal team for free at 855-797-9899.
A will is a written document that specifies what you want to happen to your property when you die. In order to be recognized as your legal will, this document must meet specific requirements in state law. It’s wise, then, to have an attorney help you create your will and meet these requirements.
In your will, you can name a “personal representative” for your estate. This person is responsible for paying your estate’s debts and making sure the instructions in your will are carried out. You can also name a legal guardian for your children. If you want specific people or charities to receive certain items or assets you own, you can name them in your will.
A trust relies on a person called the “trustee” to manage assets on behalf of one or more other people, called “beneficiaries.” Trusts are often used to manage estates because, for some people, they offer tax benefits.
Trusts also give you additional tools to manage how the assets you distribute are used by those who receive them. For instance, if you have children, you may want to put their portion of your estate in a trust to protect it until your children have reached a certain age.
Special Estate Rules
Assets that you co-own with another person will transfer directly into the ownership of that person upon your death, in most cases. For instance, a joint bank account will typically continue to be owned by the living person or persons whose names are on the account, even if one owner passes away. Some other types of investment tools, like life insurance, also follow different rules than wills and trusts.
Depending on your particular situation, some of these tools can become useful parts of your estate plan. They can be used not only to transfer your assets to those you want to have them, but also to protect them from taxes or seizure or to help your beneficiaries manage what they receive.
Insightful Aid for Jacksonville Estate Planning
Without an estate plan, Florida’s default rules for administering estates kick in. The court chooses your personal representative, who must follow the default rules and distribute your assets only to specific relatives. By creating an estate plan, you control who administers your estates and what happens to your property when you die. To learn more about your estate planning options, contact the Jacksonville estate planning attorneys at Farah & Farah today.