Estate Planning Tips: Four Ways to Make a Will More Effective

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Sometimes, when notable figures with considerable wealth die, it takes years of legal work to sort out what they left behind. For the musical legend Prince Rogers Nelson (more commonly known as “Prince”), it took six years and at least 4,800 court filings to settle his estate. Indeed, we do not all have the legacy Prince has, but estate attorneys hope to instill a lesson in their clients.

Thus, estate attorneys in Florida and throughout the United States say every legal adult should have a will. While no one likes to prepare for what comes with their passing, a will is paramount – especially when you have children. This article, therefore, gives you four estate planning tips for organizing your assets and preparing an effective will.

Tip #1: Start by Organizing Your Assets

“The first step in estate planning is the organization of assets owned, including property, checking and savings accounts, and vehicles,” says estate planning attorney Samah T. Abukhodeir of The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm. The assets to be organized also include insurance policies, stocks and investments, and personal possessions like jewelry and furniture.

Getting everything in order can take a lot of work, so creating a list first might be a good idea. With a comprehensive list of your assets, you can calculate their value and distribute them to your loved ones.

Tip #2: Who Will Benefit From Your Assets? Name Them

After listing your assets, the following list you have to make is that of beneficiaries. First, determine who you want to leave your valuables to; then, create a list to determine who gets what.

For the will to be effective, attorneys in Florida say you must explicitly name beneficiaries in your will and what they get. Otherwise, the individual you intend to leave a portion of your assets to may not get it. Furthermore, if there is a member of your family you do not want getting any of your assets, you can indicate it.

Tip #3: Solidify the Will by Naming the Powers of Attorney

The next step is to solidify other estate documents, such as the powers of attorney for your estate and assets. Naming the powers of attorney designates the executor of your will, who will see to it that everyone gets what they should. Meanwhile, your power of attorney can be a trusted family member, a lawyer, or a bank.

Furthermore, if you are a parent with minor children, you should name guardians for them. Also, you can complete forms to designate healthcare and financial powers of attorney that can make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.

Tip #4: Legally Bind the Will

The last stage is legally binding the will by including your and the two witnesses’ signatures. This seems like something you can do yourself, but you probably should not, as you could miss critical steps. One crucial step in will creation is seeking professional help from estate attorneys; it can save your family and money from probate.

Seeking professional help is not about a piece of paper, which is something you can get yourself online or in the library. It is about being guided by a legal professional, saving your family and assets from potential confusion,

Conclusion

According to estate planning experts in Florida, one should keep one’s estate plan as a living document that is often updated. The best thing is to update the plan every five years or during a major life event – like a divorce. Meanwhile, if you reside in Florida, you should get a lawyer based in Florida who understands how things work in the state.

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