Only 45 percent of Americans today have a will. So many Americans and folks in Florida lack estate planning because many people put off estate planning and because many people overcomplicate estate planning decisions to the point where a plan is not created. While estate planning can be complicated, it does not have to be. This post will discuss a few points to encourage thought about estate planning and the appropriate choices to make for your plan.
If you have children under the age of 18, a will is important because a will can name a guardian in the case that you or your partner passes away. While naming a guardian may sound intimidating, the point is to name a trustworthy person. As circumstances change, the will can be updated to name a different guardian.
If you own a home, vacation property or other investment property, then a trust may be a good estate planning tool. If your home or property is jointly owned with your spouse or partner, the property will go through probate upon the second death of the owning individuals. If you are single and own property, the property will go through probate upon your death. If you want to avoid probate, a trust may be the right choice.
If you have a fairly modest estate and are able to name a beneficiary to all of your assets, then you may not need a trust or will. If you do not own property, have less than $5 million in assets and all of your assets are held in banks accounts, retirement accounts and brokerage accounts, you can name a beneficiary for each account and likely bypass probate. Remember to name at least one beneficiary to each applicable account and to update the names of beneficiaries regularly.
Just because your assets can be named to a beneficiary does not mean you do not need any estate planning. For the most part, everyone should think about a financial and medical power of attorney, so that a representative can make financial and medical decisions for your estate when you are not able.