If you die without a will in Florida, not all assets will automatically pass to your closest relatives. Furthermore, intestate laws can get very complex quickly in the case of blended families. Often, a judge must decide what happens to assets, even though they never met the person who passed. Creating an estate plan can stop the confusion. During your lifetime, you may enjoy tax benefits through estate planning.
Estate planning definition
Estate planning allows you to determine how your assets will be preserved, managed and distributed after your death or if you become incapacitated. Many steps can be included in an estate plan.
Make a will
The first step in estate planning is often to set up a will. This legal document must be written while you are competent and signed by two witnesses. In most cases, you can revoke or change your will anytime. It should list all your assets. If you have minor children, it should name their guardian. The will should also list your executor.
While creating your estate plan, you can set up trusts. You will need to make many choices since there are many types of trusts to consider, including revocable and irrevocable options. You can also create trusts funded at the time of your death. Consider leaving all your assets in a trust listed in your will so that there are no unaccounted assets at your death.
Ponder tax implications
When planning your estate, ensure you consider the tax implications of your decisions. Sometimes, you may want to use the gift tax laws to give assets to heirs while alive.
While writing your will should be one of the foundation stones of estate planning, there are many other decisions you will need to make. Consider the long-term implications of all decisions.