As Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys, we provide guidance to clients in the estate planning process by:
- Determining the best way for the client to own assets during his or her lifetime;
- Determining how and when to transfer those assets to designated beneficiaries;
- Maximizing exemptions from creditors and minimizing transfer taxes;
- Planning for incapacity with respect to financial or personal and medical decisions; and
- Planning for the final stages of life.
What is an Estate Plan?
A person makes an estate plan to provide for his or her lifetime physical and financial needs, as well as the distribution of his or her estate upon death.
An estate plan may include a will and/or a trust, a living will, a designation of health care surrogate, and a power of attorney, as well as other documents.
Components of an Estate Plan
A comprehensive estate plan does more than just distribute your assets upon your death. Ideally, an estate plan should prepare for every contingency with respect to one’s person and one’s property both during life and after death.
A durable power of attorney and advance directives, such as a living will and designation of health care surrogate are only effective during the signer’s lifetime. These are legal documents that authorize another person to act on their behalf.
Advance directives are documents used to inform family, friends, and medical personnel about the kind of medical care and treatment a person desires if he or she becomes incapacitated and appoints a person to make sure those wishes are carried out. The person appointed is also authorized to make medical decisions on the person’s behalf.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another person to manage the grantor’s financial affairs. The most common use of the power of attorney is to allow the appointed individual to write checks for the payment of bills for the grantor. A living trust, also called a revocable trust, is a trust that is created and becomes effective during the grantor’s lifetime. A revocable trust provides the grantors with the benefits of the trust during their lifetime. Upon the grantor’s passing, the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
These documents are important components of an estate plan. In the event of incapacity, they can avoid the need for a guardianship, preserve assets, and provide peace of mind for family members when faced with end-of-life decisions.
A client can direct how to dispose of their assets following their death through the execution of a trust or Last Will and Testament. Regardless of the value of your assets, these documents are important for every one. They allow you to direct how you want your assets to be distributed, and in some cases provide a mechanism to protect assets after your death. Parents can also appoint a guardian for their minor children and provide protection for children with special needs.
Each client is unique and has special needs and considerations. As Tampa Estate Planning Attorneys, we can assist in tailoring an estate plan for your needs.