It can feel morbid to think about what you’d like to happen after you die, but estate planning is a very normal legal process that can make things much easier for your family once you’re gone.
Many families have been torn apart by family inheritance disputes that arise from poor estate planning on the part of their departed loved one. Our elder law attorneys have years of experience with estate planning and can make sure you’re on the right track.
Here are our 5 top tips to help you plan your estate.
Estate Planning Tips
Plan While Your Health is Good
Many inheritance disputes start when family members suspect you weren’t in sound mind while writing your estate plans. While we understand that unexpected health complications can prompt people to write a last will and testament or , we recommend that you do so before your health is compromised.
Hire an Objective Attorney
Avoid being swayed by your beneficiaries by hiring a neutral estate planning attorney. While there are many DIY options available to make your own estate plan, these often become contested in court for being too vague. The best way to protect assets and property is to hire an attorney that doesn’t have any ties to your family. For example, don’t hire an attorney that comes highly recommended by one of your beneficiaries.
Probate provides an opportunity for family members to contest your estate plans in court. A living trust allows you to avoid probate because you are placing your assets and property into the trust for distribution while you are still alive. Make sure you pick an honest trustee to manage your trust.
Explain the Reasoning for Your Beneficiaries
Nothing can stir up old resentments and jealousies more than giving special treatment to certain beneficiaries. This can especially be the case if the beneficiaries are all your children and expect equal treatment.
If you decide to leave significantly more or less to a beneficiary, it can help to explain your reasoning in your estate plan. For example, you might explain in your estate plan that your son will receive less than his siblings because you gave him an advance on his inheritance to buy a house. Taking the time to explain special treatment can help ease .
Describe How to Distribute Your Assets
Perhaps nothing will be more personal to your survivors than the possessions you leave behind. This is why it’s important to describe exactly how you want your personal effects to be distributed. The person responsible for distributing property and assets to beneficiaries will make sure your personal effects go to the right people.
Without this information in your estate planning documents, it becomes all too easy for family members to take what they want from your home with the justification of “they would want me to have it.” Any valuable possessions of yours should be documented in your estate plan, along with the names of their intended recipients.
If you’re wondering how you can get your estate in order, we can help. Our elder law attorneys are proud to serve clients in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples. To request a free consultation with one of our Florida estate planning lawyers, call Lusk, Drasites, & Tolisano P.A. at (800) 283-7442.