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Estate Plans Things to Know in Florida

Things to know about Estate Plans

4 Things You Need to Know About Estate Planning

What Is An Estate Plan?

An estate plan is a set of legal documents created by a lawyer for a client in which the individual designates who should inherit their assets, how, and when. A typical estate plan will include at least three documents. First, an advanced directive that includes a living will and a designation of health care surrogate. Second, a durable general power of attorney. Third, a will. Some individuals have two other documents as part of their state plan. First, a revocable living trust, and second a beneficiary designation.

Do I need to be wealthy to have an estate plan?

An individual does not need to be wealthy to have an estate plan. Everyone should have an estate plan because we never know when we might become incapacitated. So, it’s not just about when we die. For instance, if I became incapacitated, who would make business and financial decisions for me? Who would make medical decisions and speak to the doctors? Those are very important decisions that have nothing to do with how wealthy I am.

What is an advanced directive?

An advanced directive is a document in which an individual designates someone to make medical decisions for them if they're unable. Everyone needs an advanced directive. This includes 2 components; first a designation of a health care surrogate and second, a living will.

What is a durable power of attorney?

A durable general power of attorney is a document in which an individual designates someone to make business and financial decisions for them, everyone should have a durable general power of attorney.

Estate plans and estate planning developed into a distinct area of law over centuries, driven by changing societal, economic, and legal factors. It encompasses a wide range of legal tools and strategies aimed at managing an individual’s assets during their lifetime and ensuring the orderly distribution of assets upon death.  Local Florida estate planning lawyer James Nici offers some basics to know about estate plans in this brief video.

Historical Foundation of Estate Planning

The roots of estate planning can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, who recognized the importance of wills and inheritance laws. These early legal systems laid the foundation for modern principles.

In medieval Europe, feudal systems governed land ownership and inheritance, prompting the development of legal mechanisms to regulate the transfer of property. Landowners began creating written documents, which would eventually evolve into wills.

In England, the common law system gradually evolved to include legal doctrines related to wills and estates. The Statute of Wills in 1540 formalized the requirement for written wills and introduced the concept of probate.

As people amassed greater fortunes, the need for more sophisticated estate planning strategies increased. Trusts, another essential tool in estate planning, gained prominence during this period. The introduction of estate taxes in the United States in the early 20th century, along with evolving tax laws, further propelled the growth of estate planning. Attorneys began to specialize in helping clients minimize tax liabilities through careful estate planning.

Changes in Traditional Families Spurs Estate Planning Solutions

Changing family dynamics, such as blended families, divorces, and second marriages, led to more complex estate planning needs. Attorneys began to craft estate plans that address these unique family situations. The field had to evolve to provide individuals and families with the legal tools and expertise needed to safeguard their assets and ensure the orderly transfer of wealth across generations.

Contact Naples Estate Planning Lawyer James Nici

The field continues to evolve with the development of new legal instruments and strategies, including living trusts, healthcare directives, and powers of attorney, to address a broader range of client needs. James Nici, with almost 30 years in this field of law, has helped hundreds of clients throughout Southwest Florida with estate plans and he can help you too. With offices in Naples, he serves clients throughout the stae of Florida from Marco Island to Fort Myers,Sanibel and more.

Call 239-449-6150 to schedule time to talk about your plans or message us online.

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