Estate Planning Strategy

Often when people hear the phrase “estate planning” they think “I am not extremely wealthy so I don’t need an estate plan” or “I know I should probably get going on my estate plan, but I am not sick or old, so I don’t need to worry about it right now.” Unfortunately, neither of those statements are accurate.

Everyone needs an estate plan if they want to make sure that their possessions and assets go to their loved ones as they intend. While every estate plan is different, most estate plans involve a number of important legal documents.

The Five Most Important Documents for Your Estate Plan:

Advanced Directive (or Advanced Health Care Directive) – An advanced directive is a document or series of documents that explain how you want medical decisions to be handled if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. An advanced directive also allows you to provide instructions as to whether or not you would like to be an organ or tissue donor and to what extent you would like to donate your tissues after death. In Florida an advanced directive may contain:

  • A Living Will
  • A Health Care Surrogate Designation
  • An Anatomical Donation Form

HIPAA Release Form – Your medical information is extremely sensitive and private but there may be certain decisions where you want one or more of your loved ones to be able to access your medical history and insurance information. This can be especially helpful if you are incapacitated and are unable to share your recent medical history with the doctors who are providing your care. Deciding who you would like to have access to this information and completing the paperwork ahead of time will make things much easier on your loved ones in the long run.

Power of Attorney – The power of attorney form allows you to designate one or more individuals to act as your agent to handle your financial affairs if you are no longer able to make financial decisions on your own. Many people will designate their spouse as their power of attorney. However, it is important to remember that if you divorce or separate, the power of attorney may not automatically terminate. You always want to be sure to update your estate planning documents when you are facing a legal separation or divorce.

Last Will – A last will is the legal document that details how you want your personal property, real property and other assets to be distributed when you die. Wills can allow you to give special gifts to your friends and family members and allow you to give in any way you please. When someone dies without a will, the courts are forced to follow strict inheritance laws, which often do not conform with how most people would like their assets to be distributed.

Trust – Trusts allow property and financial assets to be transferred between individuals with a high level of control and privacy. Trusts also allow the person placing the assets to control certain aspects of how the heirs can use the assets within the trust. Trusts may also offer tax advantages for the creator of the trust as well as the heirs receiving the assets.

As an entrepreneur, this is particularly important for your business.

Think of the countless hours and resources you have spent building your brand – finances, time and technology. What would happen to that business if you were incapacitated or passed away? It isn’t a fun question to answer but it is an important one.

Without the proper succession planning and estate planning documents your family members and business partners may be left guessing about what they should be doing if you are no longer able to work or have passed away. Without the proper succession plan, others may not know of your intent to sell your business in order to retire into the sunset. Without the proper succession plan, your business may be sold for far less than it’s worth or be dissolved because something happened to the owner and no one knew how to keep the business running. Therefore, it is imperative that business leaders protect their hard work, their business partners, their clients, their employees and their family by making sure the business can run in their absence or can be sold when they are ready.

Estate and Succession Planning protects ALL of the assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire.

Making these transitions can take time. The only way to ensure that business and life goals are accomplished is to make a plan accordingly and implement that plan. With a Personal Protection Strategy, you can have complete CONTROL of WHAT happens to your personal and business assets and WHEN it happens. Contact us to customize your Personal Protection Strategy.



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