Summer Travel Season is Here! Are Your Estate Plans Ready to Go?May 24, 2021 | Category: Estate Planning in Florida
It is time to travel! Whether you are planning to dip your toes in the sand and surf or ride the newest attractions at your favorite amusement park, you are ready to hit the road and get out of town!
Although difficult to think about, it is important to ensure you have everything in place to protect your family no matter what happens. Here are five estate planning must-dos to take care of before you go so you can have a more worry-free summer vacation.
- Check your beneficiary designations - Each major financial account allows you to designate a beneficiary. Usually, you will designate the beneficiary on the spot and in a rush while setting up your account. Sometimes your snap decision will be the right one but other times, you might have made a hasty decision and forgotten about it. It's worth revisiting who your beneficiaries are in case something happens to you.
- Create a Will - One of the biggest excuses we hear for failure to make a will is that the state "makes a will for you" so it's not necessary. Although true these "wills" (actually the state intestacy statutes) are just the legislature’s best guess about where you would want your assets to go. Leaving your final wishes up to the state is dangerous. Everything you've worked so hard for could be distributed and managed in ways you don't want. Perhaps most important is the guardians to your children. Do you want the state to decide who will care for your children if something were to happen to you? The point is, making a will before you go will let you rest easier while you are on vacation knowing your final wishes will be granted.
- Assign a Guardian - Regardless of whether or not you make a will, you should always name a guardian(s) for your children. It is devastating to think about something happening to you before your children grow up, but it's a relief to know your kids will be well taken care of if catastrophe strikes. Although nominating guardians is typically done in a will, there are various ways to do so if you are not ready to make a will. Each state is different, so contact one of our Florida estate planning attorneys to make sure your nominations are done the right way if you reside in Florida.
- Create an Advance Directive - Sometimes, catastrophe doesn't mean death. Certain unfortunate events leave a person incapacitated and unable to make decisions about his/her healthcare. Who would make the decisions for you if you were incapacitated? Making an advance directive allows you to specify what type of medical treatment you want and do not want. Depending on your state, this document is either called a living will or an advanced healthcare directive.
- Make a Durable General Power of Attorney - Your health care power of attorney allows other people to help make medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated, in conjunction with the wishes you specifiedinanadvancehealthcare directive. A durable general power of attorney is equally important to have on your side. This person makes decisions about what happens with your assets and other interests when you cannot. The term "durable" is important here. Some powers of attorney are no longer effective if you are incapacitated, but a durable power of attorney is.
Call Douglas Law Firm today to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys! We can help you create new estate plans, update old ones, and create a "safety net" for you and your family's assets.