In Fort Myers, Florida, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also include personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
Typically, the first thing a person thinks about when they think about estate planning is a will. A will dictates what occurs to a person's property after they die. In general, you can leave your property to whomever you want, and attach almost any condition to such gifts. In the vast majority of estate plans, a will is the central component. It is rarely the only one, however.
A clear estate plan will also contain instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is recognized as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
Most especially, an estate plan should give instructions on the care of your minor children. It should lay out who is to take custody of them, and, if possible, leave them a large sum of money to assist with this care. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the people who you want to take custody of your children, to make sure they can really take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Fort Myers, Florida?
This normally depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
For instance, if you are in your 20's and unmarried, an estate plan likely does not need to be on your priorities, unless you are very ill, or independently wealthy.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in Fort Myers, Florida is absolutely essential: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take many steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
There is another massive group of people who would benefit from having a good Fort Myers, Florida estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily contains facing some uncomfortable realities, it is essential and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Fort Myers, Florida Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a difficult process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Fort Myers, Florida who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.