Stuart, FL – There are many benefits to having a complete estate plan rather than just creating a standard will with no other testamentary documentation. As with any important financial decisions, it is best to consult with a local professional before committing to any serious decisions. Ideally, the estate plan should accomplish financial goals efficiently, and with as little delay as possible. 

What kinds of individuals need an estate plan? 

Many families think that a complete estate plan is only necessary for those who are very wealthy, and have lots of real property, investments, and other forms of assets. However, even a basic estate plan can be more beneficial than creating a will for some people, as the plan can start to distribute money and assets immediately if necessary. 

Trusts and wills

A will or trust is usually the main document that starts the estate plan. These documents can outline what should happen with a deceased person’s money, investments, property, and list other intentions that can be carried out after death. The main difference between these two instruments is that the trust can begin to take effect immediately or at any chosen date. A will has to go through a probate court after the testator dies, and it is easier for outsiders to contest the terms of the will due to the public nature of the probate court proceedings. The conditions in the will must be able to be immediately executed at the time of the person’s death. They are ignored by the court if they are contingent on some kind of future event.  

Giving assets to beneficiaries through accounts and insurance

There are various kinds of retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and brokerage accounts that can be given to a family member or paid out upon death. Anyone who has these items should check their beneficiary designations, as the language in these items will supersede anything that is written within the terms of a will. In some cases, it can be beneficial to divide assets in these accounts between multiple people, or name additional beneficiaries in case one is no longer alive or available.  

Power of attorney

Granting another individual power of attorney can be an option for when the testator is very old or ill and cannot handle their affairs on their own. This power should only be given to trusted family members, as it gives them the power to dispose of property and handle the person’s money and accounts. 

Attorneys who handle trusts, wills, and estates

It is recommended to talk with a licensed legal professional when preparing to create a formal estate plan, or other documents such as wills and trusts. The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm focuses on all of these transactions in the Stuart area. 

Firm contact info:

The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm

850 NW Federal Highway, #1004, Stuart, FL 34994

772-261-8556

www.etelf.com

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