Estate Planning FAQ’s
Florida Estate Planning Attorney | Wills & Trusts Lawyer
Estate Planning is the process by which a person arranges their affairs to accomplish their goals through various legal strategies which can include, but are not limited to, will preparation; establishment of trusts; structuring of business entities; gift, generation-skipping or death tax planning; durable power of attorney and health care directives (“living wills”). Any estate size can benefit from estate planning.
For more information regarding estate planning and the options available to you, contact estate planning attorney Craig F. Snyder today.
Attorney Craig F. Snyder can help prepare a will, trust, living will, durable power of attorney and health care directive and provide related estate planning services to clients in Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Jupiter and the entire Southeast Florida area.
Frequently asked Questions about Estate Planning
Q. Why do I need a will?
A. Remember, if you have no will, the State of Florida has one for you, and you may not be happy with what it says. Everyone should have a will.
Q. Why do I need an estate planning attorney?
A. An experienced estate planning attorney has the knowledge to ensure that your wishes are properly spelled out in your will. Even if you consider yourself to have a small estate, if the will is not properly worded, the people that you intend to receive your assets may not receive them, or may have to fight to inherit them.
Q. Can I do my own will?
A. Certainly, that is a possibility if you know what you are doing. Will it be valid or carry out your wishes as you intend? I do not know. Is it recommended? Absolutely not (not even with all of the computer software out there). The validity and effectiveness at controlling your wishes are only very few of the unknowns with a self-made will. While commercially available drafting software exists, it is unlikely that a software program will provide all the implications upon which a specific, informed and complete estate plan will be made.
Q. If I have a will, is my estate planning complete?
A. A will is only part of a complete estate plan. A will cannot give your family the power to make decisions about your health and property when you cannot speak for yourself. These documents, called durable powers of attorney, are a very important part of your overall estate plan. While wills are important, they do not control many types of assets. For example, a will has no legal affect on retirement accounts or other assets that have transfer clauses. In fact, a well-drafted will should coordinate with all other transfer methods effective at death.
Q. Do revocable (living) trusts avoid estate taxes after death?
A. No. It is a common misconception that these trusts save estate taxes. Instead, these trusts are a method to avoid some judicial involvement in controlling a person’s property during incapacity and after death. In some circumstances, provisions may be added to preserve what is known as the estate tax exemption amount in the same manner as may be done under a will.
Q. How do I know if I should have a will or revocable (living) trust?
A. Consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best approach, since certain assets may be inappropriate for tax and non-tax reasons. For example, a revocable trust should never own an IRA, while very specific language is required for post death subtrusts to qualify as IRA-designated beneficiaries.
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