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What is will planning vs. estate planning?

| Feb 25, 2021 | Estate Planning

People who take the initiative to create an estate plan typically make probate much easier for their beneficiaries. Writing a will is one standard step in the estate planning process, but it is not necessarily the only one. Estate planning in Florida could involve much more than will planning.

Planning a will is an important step

A will remains a vital document that allows a testator to direct assets to designated beneficiaries. A will could also require an executor to carry out other directives, such as making sure a preferred charity receives funds.

Not everyone feels that a will is the appropriate document to craft for their estate. Some may prefer to set up a trust. A trust lets beneficiaries avoid probate while giving the person establishing the trust more options. Perhaps the person establishing the trust feels that a competent trustee could better manage the assets.

Careful estate planning may cover several other responsibilities and concerns beyond a will. While valuable, a will comes with limitations.

Other aspects of estate planning

A will only focuses on what happens after someone passes away. However, concerns and responsibilities related to an estate may require attention while someone is still alive. Someone may wish to turn financial representation to a trusted person by signing a power of attorney form. Perhaps a young person came into great wealth, and giving a trusted parent power of attorney could allow the parent to handle taxes, investments and more.

A will has nothing to do with health care directives, either. When someone becomes incapacitated or unable to communicate, a living will or a health care proxy might help family members assist the person. A living will details a person’s directives and wishes regarding medical care. A health care proxy allows the person named as the proxy to make health care decisions.

Extensive estate planning may cover a great deal of ground in helping a person make arrangements for their affairs. An attorney may assist a client with thorough planning.