Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the management and disposal of a person’s estate, either during that person’s life or after their death. While the process can be complicated, a well-informed plan will make all the difference when it comes to what is left for your loved ones. Here are five key things to know about estate planning that will help ensure a sound future for your family.
1) Know the basics
With a general understanding of what estate planning is, it’s also important to understand its benefits and the usual documents associated with the process. The following are helpful definitions from the American Bar Association to help you become familiar with the basic forms and plans for estate planning:
Living Will – A type of advance directive in which you state your wishes about the care and treatment you want or don’t want if you are no longer able to speak for yourself. According to the American Bar Association, living wills address one’s preferences about end-of-life medical treatments, but they can also communicate one’s wishes, values, or goals about any other aspect of care and treatment
Trust – an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust (and often holding title on behalf of the trust)
Health Care Surrogate – A type of advance directive in which you appoint someone else to make all medical treatment decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. The person you name is called your agent, proxy, representative, or surrogate. You can also include instructions or guidelines for decision-making
2) Make final arrangements
Some final arrangements that people forget to communicate when planning their estate include what to actually do with their body upon their demise. You should make your end-of-life wishes known in regard to organ or body donation and the disposition of your body (burial or cremation).
3) Protect your business
If you’re a business owner, you’re going to want to make sure your business has a plan in the event of your death. If you’re the sole owner, create a succession plan. If you own your business with other partners, you should have a buyout agreement. Creating a plan will ensure your business is protected after your death.
4) Cover funeral expenses
Did you know that in Florida the average funeral costs nearly $6,000? This could be a financial burden to your family. When estate planning, it’s important to cover these costs before your death to leave your family without the added worry of footing the bill for a funeral. Options include setting up a payable-upon-death account at your bank whereby you deposit funds into it to pay for your funeral and other related expenses.
5) Work with an attorney
Everyone should have a plan for their estate upon their death. However, not everyone has the expertise to do so. This blog only covers the very basics for estate planning, this complicated area of law is best managed by an estate attorney. They have the knowledge and experience to effectively manage your estate, minimize your costs, and carry out your wishes upon your death.
For trusted estate planning, contact the attorneys at Cardillo Keith Bonaquist. The firm has provided trusted and thorough legal advice including wills, trusts, and estate planning for Southwest Floridians for over 45 years. Founded in 1975, Cardillo Keith Bonaquist is the longest continuously serving legal partnership in the greater Naples area. For more information on preparing your estate, contact Cardillo Keith Bonaquist today by calling 239-774-2229 or visit ckblaw.com.