When people here in Florida think about preparing for the end of their lives, they may first think of how to handle their estate. While that is certainly of vital importance, one thing many people may not consider is how to manage more personal matters and possessions that an estate plan wouldn't normally cover. Experts say that while every person needs to be sure to have a will and other provisions as part of estate planning, it makes sense to also think of how to ensure that family traditions or heirlooms are passed on to the next generation.
Many people realize how important it is to ensure that they have a plan in place for the end of their lives. They know to designate who will own their house, inherit their finances or other property. One thing many Florida families neglect to consider is what will happen to their pets when they pass away. Experts say there are several ways for people to ensure that their furry loved ones will receive proper care if they should unexpectedly pass away and include them as part of estate planning.
Thinking about planning for one's estate can be difficult for some people. They may not want to consider the end of their lives or other unpleasant thoughts such as them becoming incapacitated. However, it is important to have a will and other end-of-life documentation created so that a person can ensure that his or her wishes are carried out. For those here in Florida who have taken the necessary estate planning measures, they might wonder where the best place is to keep their documents safe. Experts have some recommendations.
As people age, their health care needs often increase, through no fault of their own. Some of those people must move into a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Some states around the country are attempting to create programs that would allow senior citizens to continue to live in their own homes. The thought is that by doing so, states will save money in the long term, by reducing claims made on Medicaid. Florida seniors may want to pay attention to these efforts as a similar program here could have a significant impact on estate planning.
Though most people here in Florida prefer not to consider what the end of their lives might look like, it is an important conversation to have. That doesn't mean that it is a comfortable situation to navigate, particularly when one has to explain final wishes to family members who may not approve of one's choices. These potentially-volatile family relationships can be a serious obstacle to proper estate planning, as recent research indicates.
Those who create an estate plan here in Florida do so generally in good faith. There is an assumption that beneficiaries will use any inheritance to care for themselves and anyone or anything else designated by the person who created the plan. Unfortunately, some potential beneficiaries may have difficulty handling such a responsibility, especially if the beneficiary suffers from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Yet, leaving such a person out of a will may not be an option either -- it could result in the addicted person spiraling further into turmoil. Experts do have some recommendations for those considering estate planning who find themselves in such a situation.
Not many people enjoy thinking about the end of their life. Besides being an unpleasant thing to consider, it can bring up difficult decisions that may need to be made. Many people would prefer not to think about it at all, but that could be a mistake. Families here in Florida and around the nation can use the new year as a reason to update or create a new estate plan, to ensure that their assets are handled the way they want and that their final wishes are honored.
For those Florida residents who have jumped out ahead of the curve and have an estate plan in place, all of the work is not permanently wrapped up. Estate planning is an organic process, and it will be necessary to review the plan with the attorney approximately every three years. When a tax law changes, its impact must be compared to the existing terms of one's plan so that updates can be made if necessary. In addition, there are several other reasons to review periodically the continuing accuracy and efficacy of one's plan.
Younger adults with children are prime candidates for developing an estate plan under Florida law. The adult parents will be concerned about what can happen to the children if the parents die before the children reach adulthood. This may be even more pressing where one or more of the children may have special estate planning needs to provide for.
In Florida, it is generally easy and convenient to leave funds or other assets to charitable organizations. Many people believe that they cannot afford to give to their favorite charity without upsetting the other bequests to their family and friends. That is generally a false presumption because there are various tax benefits for charitable gifts that may possibly make up for any loss in one's corpus. The best way to see what can be afforded and how to set it up is to meet with one's estate planning attorney and, if needed, a qualified financial planning expert.