National Estate Planning Awareness Week 2021 is October 18-24. It is a public campaign designed to help us understand why an Estate Plan is essential to our financial wellness. According to The National Association of Estate Planners, the top reasons people say they don’t need an Estate Plan are:
- I’m too young to need an estate plan.
- My property is in a joint tenancy with my spouse so I don’t need a will.
- Only rich people need to do Estate Planning.
- It’s too complicated/expensive to do Estate Planning.
- The government takes care of all of that.
- We set up our wills when we got married, it’s all taken care of.
Unfortunately, these reasons are all false. It’s never too early to begin your Estate Planning, and no matter how many or few assets you have, it’s smart to have a plan in place to protect your family and for what will happen when you’re gone.
FAQs About Estate Planning
1. What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is actually several different legal documents that lay out what you want to happen to your assets when you’re gone. It lays out who is responsible for taking care of everything, including disbursement of your property and payment of your debts.
2. What is the purpose of an Estate Plan?
Having an Estate Plan helps your loved ones avoid Probate after you’re gone. It also makes your wishes known so that they can be carried out when you’re gone.
3. How do I find the right Estate Planning Attorney to help me?
You want to choose an Estate Planning Attorney who has experience creating Florida Estate Plans, but also someone you feel comfortable with because you’ll be discussing all your assets, your heirs and your long-term goals with them.
4. Should I hire a lawyer to help me write a Will, or can I do it myself?
The short answer is that you can do it yourself, but it is safer to work with a lawyer who can protect the future of your loved ones. They will be able to make sure that your Will is legally enforceable and that it covers everything you want to do with your assets.
5. Will my heirs be taxed?
This will depend on the specific state you live in. Some states impose an inheritance tax, however most do not, and the federal government does not.
6. What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that your assets and estate will go through to determine who is in charge of distribution and what happens to all of those assets. The best case is to have a will that can easily be followed so that the probate process does not take too long.
7. What happens if I die without a Will?
If you don’t have a Will when you die your assets and your entire estate go into Probate and the courts will have to decide who is entitled to anything that you owned, which generally means distribution of your assets follows the line of succession to your living spouse, children, grandchildren, etc through Florida’s intestate laws.
8. What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of Attorney means that you give someone the authority to make legal or financial decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make them yourself.
9. What happens if the terms of my Will or Trust are disputed?
If someone decides to challenge the terms of your Will or Trust, and your Estate goes into litigation, a judge will determine whether your Estate Plan was properly prepared and is legally enforceable.
10. Can I leave my money to charity?
Absolutely. An Estate Planning Attorney can help you ensure that your Estate Plan is properly prepared so that your wishes are legally enforceable.
Nearly 60% of Americans don’t have a Will or Trust. The most important thing that National Estate Planning Awareness Week does is remind you of not only the importance of having an Estate Plan but also the importance of ensuring that it is up to date and all your beneficiaries, assets and gift plans are current.
Get peace of mind and plan your legacy to protect the people you love.
Florida Estate Planning Attorney
If you have any additional questions about Estate Planning or would like to consult an Estate Planning Attorney, please contact the Siegel Law Group for a complimentary consultation. Barry Siegel and the Estate Planning Professionals in our South Florida office can make sure you have a comprehensive plan that is tailored to your unique needs and goals.