What to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney in Naples, FL

When it comes to estate planning, we recognize that this can be a sensitive and very personal endeavor. You want to make sure your assets are protected for future generations. It’s important to note that estate planning is more than simply drafting and revising wills. Having a skilled attorney to help with your estate planning can serve to minimize taxes associated with the assets as well as streamline the process for the loved ones you leave behind. Our skilled Naples estate planning attorneys also can distribute your assets and estate to your heirs while setting up plans to ensure your healthcare treatment instructions are followed. Here are five questions to ask your estate planning attorney in Naples, FL.

Estate Planning Attorney | CKB Law | Naples, FL

What will happen to my assets?

Perhaps the most important question and main reason you seek an estate planning attorney is to find out what will happen to your assets. Because you have worked hard for your assets including retirement accounts and life insurance, as well as real estate and other business holdings, you want to make sure everything is accounted for.  Your estate planning lawyer should plan for all of your earnings so that you can be confident nothing is going to waste and that your assets are going to the individual(s) or organization(s) you have selected.

When is a good time to start planning?

Any good estate planning attorney will tell you “now’s the time!” Here is why. Most financial advisors and lawyers would encourage you to start when you turn 18.  Your plans should be updated every three to five years to make sure any newly added assets are protected. Key life events like a marriage, remarriage, children, new job, and major purchases all should trigger an update to your plans. By utilizing the skills of the same lawyer throughout the process, it will make it easier on yourself when updating your will.

According to a 2021 study, two out of every three adults do not have a will or any legal documentation for protecting their assets. The most common excuse to not having a will is “I haven’t gotten around to it yet.” There is no predicting the future.  It is better to plan now than to be left scrambling to protect your hard-earned money.

What should I protect?

The second most common reason for not having a will is “I don’t have enough assets to leave anyone.” This is not true, and an experienced estate planning attorney can help you with this. Here are some assets to take into consideration when estate planning:

  • Valuable items: Cars, heirlooms, even trinkets, that you want to go to certain people must be specifically laid out in your estate plan. Be sure to include the make, model, descriptions, and other distinguishing factors so that a court would not have a hard time distributing your valuables.
  • Money: Many people set up their bank accounts so that they will be transferred to a loved one upon their passing. Be sure to include benefits, 401(k)s, retirement accounts, stocks and more.
  •  Real Estate: Any property that you own can be added to your will so that it stays in the hands of the people you love.
Estate Planning Attorney | CKB Law | Naples, FL

What documentation should I set up?

  • Wills: Wills are the most common form of estate planning and are a good way to protect your valuables after your passing.
  • Trusts: Trusts are used in situations with major assets such as companies, large amounts of property and major finances.
  • Power of Attorney: A power of attorney allows for a designated person to be able to handle your finances if you are unable to.
  • Healthcare Surrogate: A healthcare surrogate allows for a designated person to make healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated and cannot make those decisions for yourself. 
  • Pre-Need Guardian:  A pre-need guardian allows a designated person to automatically step in as a guardian for you if you become incapacitated, without the need for court intervention and/or approval.
  • Living Will: A living will, is a type of advance directive that allows for you to make end of life decisions. 

How long have you been practicing?

When it comes to estate planning attorneys in Naples, Florida you need to trust the experience of a lawyer. Make sure to ask around to find out if your attorney has experience in creating estate planning documents. They will be able to think outside the box ensuring that you are taken care off. At Cardillo Keith Bonaquist, our Naples estate planning lawyers have been providing legal services to clients throughout Southwest Florida for over 45 years. To learn more about how our estate lawyers can help you, contact us at 239-774-2229.