Three Pillars of Estate Planning

How to Protect Your Assets Now

You work hard to make a good life for yourself, so ensuring your assets are protected is a very important step in the financial planning process. It’s definitely not fun to start thinking about your death or incapacity, but estate planning is definitely a very important and essential thing to start to thinking about.

When you begin to discuss your future financial plans, you will likely discuss your own future and retirement. You cannot have that conversation without discussing what happens if you die or become incapacitated.  Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Planning for death and incapacity has a cost, but the cost to your estate and loved ones if you do not plan is much more burdensome.  You plan for your death or incapacity not only for yourself, but also for your loved one.

The truth is, creating a will and beginning your estate planning in Florida isn’t easy.

That’s why, at Grimaldi Law Firm, we are ready to tackle it all with you in a professional and timely manner.

Before that first step, however, there are three very important pillars of estate planning that we would like you to be aware of, and pillars we are happy to handle for you once you decide to take care of your estate planning needs.

LIVING WILL

A living will is a legal document that describes your end-of-life wishes and decisions. This is important to ensure that if there comes a time when you no longer can speak for yourself, that your wants and desires regarding your health are still carried out.  You can also use this document to designate a health care surrogate, a person given authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so.  This is extremely important for unmarried couples.

WILL

A will is the legal document that goes into detail about all your assets, and who will be named your beneficiaries once you pass away. Keep in mind that any retirement and brokerage accounts, if they have a pay on death clause, as well as life insurance policies will supersede your will, so make sure to review those beneficiaries on occasion to make sure that they are still appropriate.  

You may or may not need a trust, as well.

A trust falls more on the costly side and can be time consuming, so it really depends on how multifaceted your assets are. If you have a lot of assets that are subject to probate, like real estate, then a trust may be something to look into. If you have minor children, a trust can be a useful tool to have as well.  If your assets are in a trust they are automatically exempt from probate.  Also, a trust is a great tool to use to maintain privacy.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

A power of attorney gives a person the ability to act on your behalf when dealing with legal and financial matters. The person you choose should be a trusted family member or close friend who you can confide in and know with certainty that they will make sure your wants are executed accordingly, especially if you are ever mentally or physically unable to manage your own affairs.  There are different types of powers of attorney so you need to make sure you have the right type based on your given situation and goals.

If you’re ready to take action and get your financial future in order, Melinda Grimaldi, a leading south Florida wills and trusts attorney, is here to assist you.

About the Author:  Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law.  She can be reached at (954) 491-8707 or melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.