Estate Planning in South Florida
How Does Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney Work?
When you need an estate planning attorney, it is important that you first understand what these legal professionals do, and how estate planning in South Florida works. Every court and jurisdiction is different, so finding the right legal professional for your need is crucial.
Estate planning lawyers specialize in assisting their clients in their plans for the end of their life. This can include planning for events that may occur prior to their death, as well as events after their death. Legal provisions might focus on what you want to do if you cannot care and act for yourself, and extend to funeral preparations, guardianship, and distribution of property or wealth.
Although some estate planning people utilize DIY methods online and through other resources, many situations necessitate expert intervention from a qualified legal professional.
Working with an Attorney | Estate Planning in South Florida
Once an attorney begins helping you plan your estate, they will need to understand the ins and outs of your situation comprehensively. This starts with scheduling a consultation at the attorney’s firm.
They will ask questions concerning your life, as well as your property. The purpose of this phase is to help the legal professional find your personal information and your wishes in the estate plan.
When the legal professional attains the information they need, they can begin preparing the estate planning documents. Some core estate planning documents that South Florida firms utilize include:
- Last Will and Testament – A document that outlines your wishes for your property and any minor children after you pass away. This is what most people commonly refer to as a “will”.
- Living Will – This document describes any of your preferences in regards to care in the event of a medical emergency. It additionally names someone to carry out your healthcare wishes. Some commonly refer to this as a medical power of attorney.
- Living Trust – A living trust determines who should manage and receive your property after you pass away without the hassle of going through the court system to approve your will.
Signing Documents | South Florida Estate Planning Attorneys
Finally, the estate planning lawyer must file the documents in a South Florida court for execution according to state law. The attorney will oversee the document execution with all applicable witnesses, etc. for proper notarization.
It will remain up to you to store these documents in a safe, secure location where the right people can access them at an appropriate time. No central registry exists for storing estate planning documents.
Many documents may not take effect automatically. If no one can discover or follow the information the documentation contains, it will be as if they never existed at all.
Estate planning is serious business. A single wrong word or missing signature can change the entire intent and even invalidate the power a will or trust imposes. Florida law remains very specific about what can and can’t reside within a will or trust, as well as a medical or financial power of attorney.
These restrictions extend to limiting who can serve as a personal representative, trustee, healthcare surrogate, and even an estate planning attorney. For example, the State of Florida requires that a personal representative reflects an individual related to you by blood or marriage.
If neither one of these remains available, then the person must be a resident of the state. Non-resident, non-relatives simply cannot serve, and Florida law will not allow them to serve. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney for estate planning in South Florida is the ideal method to help you avoid these potential mistakes and pitfalls.
Estate Planning in South Florida | Schweitzer-Ramras & Diaz, P.A.
At the end of your estate planning relationship with a lawyer, you will possess a packet of documents and some instructions explaining how to finish some final steps. This might include outlined guidance on adding beneficiaries to your bank accounts, etc.
It is vital to have a plan, regardless if your goals revolve around how to provide for someone’s needs or your own care in the event that you cannot do so yourself. Our estate planning attorneys at Schweitzer-Ramras & Diaz, P.A. commit to helping in-need individuals within the South Florida community plan their estates and ensure their wishes are carried out once they cannot do so for themselves.
To learn more about what our firm can do to help you and estate planning in South Florida, contact our dedicated and professional attorneys today!
- “Power of Attorney Requirements in Florida – LegalZoom.” https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/power-of-attorney-requirements-in-florida. Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.
- “Florida Estate Planning Laws – State Laws – FindLaw.” https://statelaws.findlaw.com/florida-law/florida-estate-planning-laws.html. Accessed 11 Jun. 2020.