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February 18, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

A Lithia, FL estate planning lawyer knows that estate planning is one of those issues that many people would rather not deal with. After all, who wants to think about the day that we will no longer be here with our loved ones? Although it’s not a popular subject, it is a very important one. If you don’t have an estate plan in place when you die, then Florida intestate laws will dictate how your estate will be distributed – and that distribution may be very different than how you would have chosen. The following are some of the more common questions that the clients who work with Morton Law have.

Every adult over the age of 18 should have an estate plan in place, no matter what their income level. Having an estate plan in place will ensure that your wishes about your assets will be carried out.

  • Some of the more common estate planning documents that a Lithia estate planning lawyer may recommend include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives. A will is a legal document that specifies how assets will be distributed after an individual’s death. A trust is a legal entity that can hold and manage assets for the benefit of beneficiaries. Powers of attorney give someone the authority to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of another person, and advance directives – also referred to as living wills – provide instructions for medical treatment in the event that an individual is unable to make their own healthcare decisions.

  • Probate is the legal process of administering an individual’s estate after their death. This involves verifying the validity of the will, identifying and appraising assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process, and assets are typically frozen during this time.

  • There are several different types of trusts your estate planning lawyer may recommend. One of the most common is a living trust. An important benefit of a trust is that the assets in the trust are not required to go through the probate process so the beneficiary of the trust owns and has access to those assets upon your death. However, you can also specify certain stipulations for those assets and when the beneficiary can access them if you feel it would be in their best interest to have some controls in place. A trust can also provide protection for assets against creditors or lawsuits.

  • Estate plans should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that they reflect any changes in an individual’s personal or financial circumstances. This can include changes in marital status, the birth or adoption of children, the acquisition or sale of assets, or changes in tax laws.

  • While it is possible to create a basic estate plan without an attorney, it is generally recommended to work with an experienced Lithia estate planning lawyer. A lawyer can provide guidance on the most effective estate planning strategies, ensure that all documents are legally valid and enforceable, and help to avoid any potential legal or tax issues.

To learn more, contact Morton Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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