There are many vital steps that go into the estate planning process in Fort Lauderdale. An estate plan is a useful tool that can allow you to provide for those you care about after your passing. Like with any tool, using the estate plan improperly could do more harm than good. An inadequate estate plan could not only result in your assets going to the wrong person, but also lead to severe tax consequences for your beneficiaries.
Given the complexity of the estate planning process, it is important you get help every step of the way. Marc Brown, P.A., our goal-oriented estate planning attorney can help you with developing a plan and carrying it out.
Inventory the Estate Assets
The first step in the process requires an estate planner to carefully evaluate all their assets. This should include everything they own, from bank accounts to real estate. It is also important to consider assets with future value like pensions.
An inventory is important, given that without it, there is no way to properly distribute the estate in the future. By creating an accurate inventory, you and your dedicated lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can plan for every part of your estate to go to the appropriate beneficiary.
Designate Estate Beneficiaries
After the inventory, the next step is to determine who should receive the assets held by the estate. These individuals are known as beneficiaries. The choice of beneficiaries is entirely up to the person creating the estate plan. While many people choose their spouse and children, there are no limitations under the law on who may become a beneficiary of an estate. A knowledgeable attorney in Fort Lauderdale can assist you in writing your beneficiaries into your estate plan
Consider Tax Implications of Your Fort Lauderdale Estate Plan
One of the areas that a well-versed lawyer can provide you with the most benefit during the estate planning process is helping with tax issues. Tax implications for the creator of the estate and their beneficiaries are prevalent during estate planning. Certain actions might need to be taken prior to creating a trust or estate, including transferring assets or giving gifts. This step is crucial, as an error can result in an unnecessary tax bill. In some cases, the estate tax penalties can be large enough that they result in a net negative for the beneficiary.
Choose the Right Tools when Planning Your Estate
Many tools and options are available in the estate planning process, and a motivated lawyer can help establish the right set. Most estate plans are based on a last will and testament, but that is only one of the important tools available. Many attorneys also recommend trusts that would hold the assets of the estate creator until their passing. These documents make it possible to bypass probate court entirely. Other important tools include living wills, advanced directives, and payable-on-death accounts.
Update the Estate Plan Over Time
A respected attorney in Fort Lauder understands that the estate planning process does not reach its end when the will is signed, or the trust is funded. It is vital to continually update the plan on a regular basis or after major life events like marriage or divorce. Updating beneficiary information is especially important as relationships change over time.
Hire an Attorney to Assist with the Estate Planning Method
It is never in your best interest to take on estate planning on your own. Even minor errors could upend your plan and do more harm than good. The guidance of an experienced legal professional can protect your final wishes and shield your beneficiaries from unwanted tax burdens. Reach out to our competent lawyer, Marc Brown, P.A., today to discuss the estate planning process in Fort Lauderdale.