In St. Petersburg, 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 encompass personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
Generally, the first thing a person thinks about when they think about estate planning is a will. A will dictates what happens 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.
Besides a will, a quality estate plan will include a living will, which gives your doctors and relatives instructions concerning your healthcare in the event that you become incapacitated, funeral arrangements, and instructions on organ donations.
Most importantly, 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 actually take on such responsibility.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in St. Petersburg, Florida?
The answer to this question depends largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
For instance, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most necessary thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you're not married in St. Petersburg, Florida, but have a life partner, estate planning is essential. If you want your partner to be treated as your spouse, your estate plan should make arrangements to give him or her power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated. Additionally, your will should clearly name your partner as a beneficiary, if you want them to inherit any of your assets.
Individuals who are elderly and/or have a large amount of money in St. Petersburg, Florida are probably more in need of an estate plan than almost anyone else. Most people place a lot of value in the peace of mind that comes when they know that the people they love, or the causes they care about, will be taken care of after their death. Of course, nobody likes to confront the facts that this process always involves, but it's necessary.
Do I Need a St. Petersburg, Florida Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in St. Petersburg, Florida is not always simple, the assistance of a good attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how important the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.