There’s more that goes into estate planning in Florida than just a Last Will and Testament. Keep reading to learn about the nine most common documents in an estate plan.
The Documents and Their Purpose
1. Last Will and Testament
While your last will and testament isn’t the only document you’ll need, it is commonly the one people think of first. This document names the executor of your estate, your beneficiaries, final wishes, along with what assets and possessions you’d like to leave to family members, friends, or charities.
2. Preneed Guardian Designation
A preneed guardian designation appoints someone to act on your behalf if your durable power of attorney and healthcare surrogate should fail. At Hampton Law, we build this into the durable power of attorney, to save you from having separate documents.
3. Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is perhaps the most important document in an estate plan. Careful consideration should be made before naming your durable power of attorney. This is the person that would need to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them on your own. The duties of a power of attorney could include; paying your bills and mortgage, selling your homestead, and managing investments.
4. Advance Healthcare Directives
Advance healthcare directives provide your proxies and physicians with your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. Advance directives is an umbrella term for the following documents; HIPAA, living will and healthcare surrogate, which is sometimes called a healthcare proxy.
5. Revocable Living Trust
A living trust is an alternative to a last will and testament. A revocable trust is an agreement that is revocable and amendable while you are alive and have capacity. The document typically names you and/or your spouse as beneficiaries during your lifetime and then names beneficiaries upon your passing. Revocable Trusts are primarily used for income and estate tax planning, ease of administration, addressing assets in multiple states, and are helpful in avoiding probate.
6. Letter of Instructions
If it’s not already addressed in your last will and testament, the letter of instructions details your desires for your funeral arrangements. Even if you already have a pre-paid burial or cremation contract, you should provide some additional guidance to the person you nominate as executor/personal representative as to how you’d like your funeral service or celebration of life to play out.
7. List of Important Documents
Creating a list of the important documents that your executor or trustee needs to settle your affairs is ideal. This makes it easier for your loved ones to carry out your final wishes. At Hampton Law, we provide our clients with a binder of their original documents for safekeeping. In addition, we’re happy to email digital copies to all beneficiaries, trustees and/or the executor so that they also have copies of your estate plan.
8. Provision of Digital Assets
In this digital age, including a provision for your digital assets is essential. Such assets can include:
- Website domain names
- Photos and videos stored electronically
- Social media accounts
- Crypto currency wallets
Your Florida Estate Plan
Everyone, at some point in their life should have an estate plan in place. Although facing our own mortality isn’t always easy, having a plan in place gives peace of mind and confidence that your wishes will be carried out the way you want. If it’s time to put your affairs in order, Contact Hampton Law today to get started.