No matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in, everyone should have an estate plan. Documenting your wishes can provide peace of mind for your family if something happens to you.
You only need three documents for a basic estate plan. Together they will answer your family’s questions if a tragedy should occur.
1. A Will
A will covers three major issues for your family in the event of your death. You can add more as needed, but these three elements are necessary:
A will transfers your assets to whomever you wish. Without a will, the Florida probate court will distribute your assets per the law, even though this may not represent your wishes.
If you have minor children, a will allows you to appoint a guardian in the event of your death. Appointing the right people as guardians is a primary reason parents plan their estate at all.
You can appoint an executor (called personal representative in some states) you trust instead of allowing the court to make the choice.
A will is only enacted after you die. If you are not able to make decisions but still alive, the next two documents are critical for your family.
2. Health Care Advance Directive
This document informs healthcare workers and your family about your wishes regarding life-supporting medical interventions like feeding tubes and ventilators.
3. Durable Power of Attorney
This document appoints an agent to act on your behalf if you are incapable of making decisions on your own.
By executing these three documents and putting a basic estate plan in place you can provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.