What are the main steps in estate planning?

Posted On Thursday, 17 June 2021 13:48

There is nothing more frightening than thinking about your own mortality. It is hard for any of us to imagine a world where we do not exist. However, we are all going to go someday, so it is a good idea to decide who will get your money and property when you are no longer around. There are a few basic steps to estate planning that you should know before you make your initial visit to your attorney’s office.

Make a Will

It is never too early to create a will. If you are in your early twenties, and the only things you own are some vintage record albums, furniture, and an old beater of a car, you can use online software to create your will. Otherwise, you should go to a trained estate planning attorney. 

According to Miami estate planning lawyer Goldberg, the will should not only detail how you want your assets to be distributed but who you would like to be the executor of your estate and who you would like to be the guardian of your children. In the State of Florida, you will need a witness to your will in order for it to be valid.

The will should be in writing and typed. Wills that are videotaped or tape-recorded are not valid in the Sunshine State.

Think About Taxes

Under the current law, if your estate is worth over $11.7 million, it will be subject to a federal estate tax. You may want to think about creating irrevocable trusts for any individuals to whom you would like to give money. Although you cannot change an irrevocable trust, once you put money into it, the funds are no longer considered the property of your estate. If you put enough money into irrevocable trusts so that the value of your estate falls below $11.7 million, you will not have to pay a federal estate tax.

The Biden administration has proposed harsh new increases in capital gains taxes. Gains taxes are imposed when a person makes a profit off of property that they have inherited. If you are planning to leave stocks, bonds, and real estate to your loved ones when you die, it is a good idea to talk to your attorney about how you can shield your heirs from this potential tax increase.

Create a Living Will

An important part of estate planning should be the creation of a living will. A living will includes the appointment of an individual who will have a power of attorney in the event that you should become mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself. It will also detail a plan for your end-of-life medical care. 

A medical care directive will let your relatives know what kind of medical treatments are and are not acceptable to you. It will also let you state under what circumstances you do not want to be resuscitated. 

You may also want to write a letter to your family members with instructions for your funeral. It is not an entirely bad idea to pre-plan your funeral so that your loved ones are not taken advantage of by greedy morticians who will charge maximum rates for a last-minute funeral. 

Proper estate planning can give you peace of mind and make things much easier for your relatives after you pass. You should hire an attorney with years of experience in wealth management and estate planning in Florida.

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