Everything has a cost, including peace of mind. So, what is an estate plan, and how much does it cost in Florida? Keep reading to find out!
All Estate Plans Are Different
Before putting a price on their estate plan, it’s important to understand that not all estate plans are created equal. All estates are different, and you may need more or less insurance for the future, depending on the number and value of your assets.
There are also no set fees for estate plans, and in most cases, the final amount is based on your attorney’s rates and additional services you may require. Law firms have different programs and services to offer, so it’s important to research attorneys to find out which firm is right for you.
Thankfully, estate plans are for everyone – not just older people. Young families, single people, and high asset holders may have different needs and require a unique plan tailored to their goals. For example, a young couple with small children may need a plan that includes a guardianship clause, while an older single person may want to establish a trust for their grandchildren.
Estate Planning Basics
The purpose of an estate plan is to preserve your wishes and protect your assets after death. A basic estate plan includes a will, durable power of attorney, a living will, and a designation of health care surrogate. Depending on your unique needs, you may want to include a trust or designate specific beneficiaries to inherit your assets.
A will is a document detailing how and to whom your assets will be granted, in addition to naming the executor. An executor is a person selected by you who will carry out the will and act on your behalf after death. However, executors are not necessarily the same as a durable power of attorney.
Executor and Power of Attorney
While executors handle affairs after death, the durable power of attorney handles the estate while you are alive. A power of attorney can act on behalf of the person if they cannot make decisions independently. For example, a power of attorney may make deposits or withdrawals from your bank account and make other financial decisions.
Designation of a Health Care Surrogate
Florida also requires the designation of a health care surrogate. Essentially, a health care surrogate is the person you authorize to make medical decisions on your behalf. This individual can step into their role if you are no longer physically able to make crucial decisions on your own.
A health care surrogate may be anyone 18 or older who is willing and able to make medical decisions for you. You must get their consent before designating them as the health care surrogate in your will. In most cases, individuals select their spouse or children as the surrogate, but parents, relatives, siblings, and close friends may also qualify for the position.
Tips for Creating an Estate Plan in Florida
If you are considering an estate plan, there are some important points to keep in mind.
- Tip #1: Before you get started, ask yourself, “what do I want my legacy to be?” This question can guide the entirety of your plan and provide a clear picture of your goals to your attorney.
- Tip #2: Select a person you trust as an executor/power of attorney/health care surrogate. It’s crucial that you choose a person capable of making rational and ethical decisions on your behalf. Whether you choose a spouse, child, parent, friend, or social worker (in some cases), never pick a person at random or because you feel obligated to choose them.
- Tip #3: Provide documentation of all assets. You must provide extensive documentation of your assets to ensure that your plan covers the entirety of your estate. The more detailed the estate plan, the more efficient it will be to execute after death. Additionally, it is more difficult to argue with an estate plan that is watertight and extremely detailed.
- Tip #4: Ask questions! Estate plans are complex, so it’s important to ask big questions at the start to avoid confusion down the road. Plus, your attorney can make adjustments to your plan if things change.
- Tip #5: Don’t wait to make a plan. Most people consider estate plans to be targeted towards older adults, but the earlier you make a plan, the more tailored it can become over time. Most estate plans are relatively flexible and can be edited as you grow older, start a family, or relocate. An estate plan that grows with you is a more accurate representation of your wishes.
Never attempt to make an estate plan on your own. Wills, designations, trusts, power of attorney, and health care surrogate selections are legally binding documents that require careful oversight and knowledge of the law. Need an estate plan? Our attorneys can help.
Put Your Legacy in Good Hands
At Dorcey Law Firm, we believe that you shouldn’t have to be afraid of the future. We work with you to create an estate plan that incorporates what matters most and the necessities so your plan can be custom fit to your needs. Our firm also offers an Auto-Pilot Planning Program so you can put your legacy on cruise control. The Auto-Pilot Planning Program is a guiding, planning, and monitoring solution to your estate planning needs.
When you join, you gain access to:
- Our team
- Educational opportunities
- Asset review and tracking
- Continuous funding
- Collaboration with financial advisors and insurance professionals
- Family care meetings
- Estate planning document updates
Your estate plan should be an accurate representation of your wishes. With our team on your side, you can protect your legacy and provide for your loved ones even after death. Our compassionate legal team provides thorough legal counsel and guidance so you can face the future with confidence.
Ready to put your future in good hands? Schedule a FREE consultation with Dorcey Law Firm today!