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When is the Right Time for Estate Planning?

Thu, May 18, 2017 at 12:00AM

It may be an overused cliche, but there truly is no time like the present when it comes getting necessary estate planning documents in place.  So often the typical client that seeks out an attorney for a Will, Trust, or other commonly utilized document is elderly or in the midst of a health crisis.  This is partially understandable as most of us do not like to confront issues such as our own mortality, or what our family will do if we are not around.  Despite the potential for discomfort, it is imperative that you not wait until it is too late to plan.

 
Because the future is uncertain, it is very rare that one knows the exact date or time they will become incapacitated.  In order to make a Will or a Trust in Florida one must be of "sound mind".  This means they must have the ability to understand, in a general way, the nature and extent of the property to be disposed of, and their relation to those who would naturally claim a substantial benefit from the document, as well as a general understanding of the practical effect of the document as executed.  No attorney wants to turn away a client in need, but one cannot ethically allow someone to sign a power of attorney, health care surrogate, or other key document when it is clear they are facing an affliction such as Alzheimers or advanced dementia.  At that point the time to plan has already passed and the client may be looking at more drastic measures such as property division according to Florida statutory law, or a guardian being appointed to take care of them while they are living.
 
Even for those who are relatively young, estate planning can be crucial.  One example would be a young couple who have just recently had a child.  What is going to happen to their son or daughter if they are not around? A will is a fantastic tool that can also be utilized to designate a guardian for a minor should one become necessary.  In addition, whenever a child is left more than $15,000.00 it must be held by a guardian appointed by the Court.  When a guardian is put in place the use of the funds can become very limited and the process itself can be very expensive. With proper estate planning, a Trust can be set up for the benefit of the child so as to avoid a guardianship while also making the money more accessible for legitimate expenses
 
Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please call 257-1222.  

Posted May 19, 2017
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