Must Haves of an Estate Plan in Naples, Florida
Estate planning in Naples, Florida, has a lot in common with estate planning in any other American city: a well-designed estate plan provides you with legal protection and guidance while you are alive as well as carries out your final wishes on how you want your assets to be distributed and to who. In Naples, Florida we have the added benefit of a beautiful climate and access to a happy healthy lifestyle. Many folks retire to Florida and a lucky few settle in Naples and the surrounding towns. Once here, you will want to find a trusted and experienced estate planning attorney like Jim Nici. There are some unique aspects to the state of Florida such as the Homestead Exemption and no state income tax, that may have an impact on your estate planning.
However remember life can change instantly, so it’s important not to think of estate planning as something that only begins when you’ve reached a later stage in life. Estate planning really means being prepared for what happens in life – every stage of life. From a new marriage and having children through divorces, second marriages, and grandchildren, you want your estate plan to keep up to date with all aspects of your journey. You want a plan that protects and provides for your loved ones including your aging parents, right through providing for your spouse when you pass and then if possible providing a financial legacy to your grandchildren. Jim Nici will help you consider all factors whenever you are creating or updating your plan. What made sense at 30 may certainly be different at 70!
Doesn’t matter if it’s family, a dear old friend from college, a charitable organization you support, or someone you met last week: anyone can be named as a beneficiary in an estate plan. The chief purpose of naming beneficiaries rests with asset distribution. More specifically, an estate plan allows you to name who you would like to receive some part of your accumulated wealth is it money, property or cherished heirlooms. It’s a bit like creating a to-do list; this person gets this, that person gets that, and everyone has a point of reference to prevent arguments or confusion. Your selection of beneficiaries can change over the years as well. You leave it all to your parents at 25 years old but maybe to the grandkids when you’re 75 years old.
The Naming of the Guardians
If you have children under the age of 18, an estate plan allows you to name the person or people you want to act as guardians to those children in the event something prevents you from continuing as a parent. This does not only apply in situations of death. If the parent suffers an accident that renders them incapable of caring for their children, such as a coma or accident resulting in any kind of handicap, naming a guardian will ensure your children will be cared for by your chosen candidates. A guardian will care for your children as if they were their own and a well-thought-out plan can also give your guardian some or all of your assets to help provide for your children. It can even set up a trust for each child so some funds will be accessible to them when they are adults for college, or a wedding, whatever. If you are a parent, selecting a guardian as part of a well-executed estate plan is the responsible thing to do.
Last Will and Testament
Your will is the legal document that communicates exactly how you want your assets to be distributed. It presents a clear blueprint for ensuring your final wishes get respected and understood.
No matter what state you live in, the asset distribution process has to adhere to the probate process. A last will and testament will help minimize the headaches of the probate process by providing a legal document clearly describing the terms listed in the will. Dying without a will creates additional hardship for your loved ones, especially at a time when they are grieving.
Also, a will can limit fighting among possible beneficiaries over the assets by providing a final, indisputable document on who gets what and how much.
Powers of Attorney and a Living Will
In the event that you are incapacitated and are unable to take care of things, a power of attorney (POA) is a legal document which names someone you trust to take care of your financial matters temporarily. Imagine if you were in an accident and in a coma, your mortgage can be paid, taxes filed, and bills paid if you have a POA. Your POA allows your designee to take care of such things when you cannot.
A Living Will is sometimes called an advanced directive. It is a legal document that allows your wishes to be known to your loved ones and medical professionals about what life-saving measures you may or may not want. Under Florida law, a Living Will must be signed by its maker in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is neither the spouse nor a blood relative of the maker. If the maker is physically unable to sign the Living Will, one of the witnesses can sign in the presence and at the direction of the maker.
To learn more about estate planning in Naples, Florida, contact the Nici Law Firm today. Jim Nici has the experience and understanding of Florida laws to help you create a plan that includes all the necessary items.