Offering The Tools And Resources To Help You Plan For The Future
Estate planning is an important process to undertake to protect your assets and the best interests of your loved ones. However, it’s a process that only few people are eager to begin. At Mara Law, P.A., we understand this but encourage you to set up a will, trust and other estate planning documents so you can create the peace of mind you need and deserve. Our skilled Ormond Beach attorney gives you the tools, resources and advice to protect your assets, minimize costly taxes and avoid a difficult probate process for your beneficiaries after you pass away.
What Are The Key Components Of Estate Planning?
No two estate plans are exactly the same, as they depend on your wishes and the assets involved. The following are the most common issues to address during this process:
- Wills — These documents dictate how assets will be distributed once the testators pass away. Setting up a will helps your beneficiaries avoid the stress and expense of probate litigation by clearly outlining your wishes.
- Advance directives (living wills) — It’s important to state your wishes to family, friends and health care professionals in writing about your end-of-life care and the specific treatments you wish to permit depending on your medical condition. An advance directive typically appoints someone to make these decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so.
- Trusts — A trust allows assets to be managed by a trustee, which may be an individual, group or organization, for the benefit of the designated beneficiaries. In many situations, trusts do not need to go through the probate process, saving a great deal of time and money for heirs. If you set up an irrevocable trust, you may be able to avoid certain estate taxes, as well.
- Durable powers of attorney — These arrangements allow you to appoint someone you trust to handle your financial and business affairs and health care decisions in case you become incapacitated and are unable to make these types of decisions yourself. You may stipulate the types of decisions your appointed power of attorney can make.
- Health care surrogate — This person has the ability to make key choices regarding your medical care when you cannot. These decisions could be related to surgical treatments, psychiatric care, nursing home care, life-prolonging treatments, organ donation and hospitalization.
- Business succession plans — If you own a business, you need to establish a plan for how it will continue to operate once you pass away. You may order that the business be sold or that one of your beneficiaries, such as a spouse or child, assumes ownership. There are special tax considerations to factor into these plans, so it’s important to work with an experienced attorney to protect the future of your company.
Estate planning is an important way to protect the assets you spent a lifetime accruing so your loved ones can continue to benefit from them. It can also help you plan for long-term care and the additional costs associated with this potential future.