Estate planning allows individuals to determine what will happen to their assets when they die. Because this legal process can be challenging to understand, it’s important to seek guidance from an experienced elder law attorney. Here are the realities behind common estate planning myths.
Myth #1: Only the elderly need to worry about estate planning.
While estate planning technically falls under elder law, it’s smart for those of all ages to consider questions about mortality. In the event of a catastrophe, estate planning goes beyond the creation of a will and testament. Adults of all ages should designate a durable power of attorney to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.
Myth #2: Unless there is a large estate involved, estate planning is not required.
Although the estate tax doesn’t go into effect until assets exceed $5 million, even those who expect to leave much less to their beneficiaries should develop a will that designates the recipients of money and property. This is especially important for those who are dividing assets between several beneficiaries, such as children from more than one marriage. Those who plan to leave money to charitable organizations must also put these wishes in writing.
Myth #3: The state seizes assets of those who pass away without a will.
Each state’s law determines how an estate is divided if the person in question died without creating a will. Florida’s intestate succession laws determine who gets property in this case, depending on surviving relatives. Assets first go to a surviving spouse; if there is no spouse, they are divided among children. Other states have different laws, though, so it’s important to be aware of the laws of one’s state of residence.
Consulting an elder law attorney can help clear up these and other common questions about the critical estate planning process.
Mortellaro Law, is a family-owned Florida law firm. Let our family help your family with estate planning, probate and elder law legal needs. We have assisted clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County and throughout the adjoining counties. Since founding the firm, our VA Accredited elder law attorneys have focused on educating clients.