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The Law Offices of Keane Thomas & Pinnacoli - Stuart, Florida Estate Planning Attorney

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Stephen A. Pinnacoli
Stephen A. Pinnacoli

What Are the Essential Parts of an Estate Plan?

July 10, 2023
While legal documents may seem obtuse and difficult to understand, they are crucial for estate purposes.

Suppose you plan to give away property or assets. In that case, you’ll need to create a will, trust document, or other estate planning document, advises KHTS’s recent article, “Common Documents An Estate Planning Attorney Can Draft.” Let’s look at the essential components of a comprehensive estate plan:

Will. An experienced estate planning attorney will create a will to ensure that your property is distributed the way you want in the event of death or incapacity. An attorney will draft a will based on your wishes.

Living Trust. This document differs from a will. You can set up a living trust while alive. This lets you change it at any time without court administration. A living trust also doesn’t require probate or court approval, and money passes through a trust by its terms.

Designation for Health Care Surrogate. This legal document allows individuals to delegate specific health care decisions, if incapacitated. It doesn’t take priority over a living will or any other form of advance directive. However, it gives a person more flexibility. A medical power of attorney allows the individual to name a healthcare proxy and appoint someone who can make medical decisions.

Durable Power of Attorney. This legal document permits a person to delegate specific authority over financial and legal affairs. A durable power of attorney also permits the individual to appoint someone as guardian, who can make financial decisions for the individual when they are unable to do so. A guardian cannot make decisions for the incapacitated person in all cases. For example, he may be unable to protect the individual’s assets from creditors. However, a guardian can make financial decisions and has the authority to access the creator’s bank account, even if they are incapacitated.

It’s never too soon to start planning for your future and estate, especially if you have a family.

Without the proper legal documents, your property may not be distributed as you’d like, and other necessary steps may not be taken.

An experienced estate planning attorney will give you options that aren’t available to those who try to do it themselves. For example, a trust can ensure that your personal information is kept private during its administration and that it’s not public information in the court system.

Reference: KHTS (December 15, 2022) “Common Documents An Estate Planning Attorney Can Draft”

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