Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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The truth about estate planning

It is critical for Florida residents and others to have an estate plan regardless of how old they are or how much money they have. Many people believe that estate planning is only something that they have to do if they have a high net worth. However, the truth is that anyone who owns property can benefit from having a plan that determines what happens to those assets after passing.

Key assets that may be transferred to beneficiaries include bank accounts, investment accounts and homes. Cars and other assets may also be handed down to family members through a will or trust. While many assets can be distributed through a will, it is not the only way to transfer property. A beneficiary designation can generally be attached to a retirement or bank account. Such as designation trumps any language in a will, so it is important to review those designations regularly.

It is also a good idea to review all other aspects of an estate plan once it is put into place. This is because a person’s goals may change as life events take place. These events may include the birth of a child, a death in the family or a divorce. Changes to the tax code may also make it worthwhile to review an estate plan.

Wills, trusts and other documents may help a person meet his or her estate plan goals while alive and after passing. An attorney may provide more insight into what a will or a trust can do and how to construct one. Legal counsel may also help a person determine who may be the best person to serve as an executor or trustee. If necessary, an attorney might serve in that role.