Once you have taken the important step of making an appointment to meet with an estate and probate lawyer to discuss your estate plan, you should take a little time to prepare for your meeting.
Estate planning is the process of carefully planning, preparing, and putting in place, everything required to make sure that your estate is handled according to your wishes when you die.
Your estate is everything you own at the time of your death. For many people, that can include significant wealth. But you don’t have to be wealthy to need an estate plan. No matter how modest your accumulations may be, you still be the one to decide how you want them distributed at the time of your death. The more you understand what you have and what your goals are, the better you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of when you are gone.
So, what’s the best way to prepare to meet with your estate lawyer?
By asking yourself some tough questions.
Here are 3 difficult questions that we think you should think about.
What if when you die, you have children, and your spouse remarries after your death?
Not an easy or comfortable question to ask yourself, but a necessary one.
Because you need to think about the effects of Florida’s elective share statute.
The elective share allows a surviving spouse (i.e., your spouse’s new spouse) to claim
30% of everything decedent owns at the time of his/her death—rather than accept what is provided for in a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) or revocable living trust.
The elective share can result in a situation where your children could be cut out of their inheritance. If your spouse remarries and then dies, the elective share would allow the surviving spouse (i.e., a stepparent to your children) to claim the 30% elective share to keep that portion of the estate for his or her own children.
Who will take care of your minor children if you should die before they reach maturity?
Another difficult question to ask yourself if you have minor children right now is, who will take care of them if you should die before they reach maturity? If you have children, it is imperative that you decide who you would want to raise your children. If you do not decide this and appoint a guardian for them in your estate plan, then it will be left to a complete stranger to appoint…someone. Your child or children will become “wards” of the state and a judge will decide who will raise them.
When do you want minor children to receive their inheritance?
Because estate planning is all about preparing for the future, if you have minor children or other relatives (e.g., nieces, nephews, grandchildren) who may be minors, think about when you would want them to receive their inheritance if they are under 18 at the time of your death.
Consider whether you would want a child to inherit the entire amount all at once, if he or she is 18 at the time, or whether you would like to delay distributions until they reach age 21—or some other age.
Estate planning is designed to meet the individual goals and needs of your family.
These three questions are just a sample of some of the issues you should think about before you meet with your estate and probate lawyer. The more you know you’re your individual desires and goals are, the better your estate and probate attorney can help you achieve them.
Protecting Your Family is Just a Phone Call Away.
Don’t leave planning for your future and that of your loved ones to chance. All it takes is one phone call to the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. We expertly guide individuals through the complex probate process, and capably handle all aspects of the creation, administration, and settlement of trusts as well. When you work with the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. Call us at 954-580-3690 or email us at: [email protected] today.