STRUCTURING AN EFFECTIVE ESTATE PLAN

Many Florida residents are interested in setting up a viable estate plan. Doing this by taking all the necessary steps may avoid confusion about the decedent’s wishes. However, failing to discuss the plan with adult children may lead to family squabbles and disappointment.

Adult children, or in some cases grandchildren, may feel that their inheritance was shortsighted. This happens most often when one child inherits more than the other. Parents may have justifiable reasons for this, but discussing it ahead of time with the children is advised. It might be misinterpreted, and the child who inherits less may feel they were loved less. Structuring the estate plan with all aspects covered in detail is important. For instance, a newlywed who has children by a first marriage may make it clear that he or she wants their estate to go to the children, and a prenuptial may be written mentioning this. If the will is not appropriately updated, upon the individual’s death the assets may go to another unintended beneficiary.

Another common mistake occurs when an individual does prepare proper estate planningdocuments, and another person provided care towards the end of his or her life. Without a will saying the caregiver should inherit all or some of the estate, the assets will be distributed in accordance with the state law of intestacy.

Extended families are becoming more common. Sometimes a parent wishes to leave money to their biological child and not stepchildren. Putting this in a will assures this will happen. Leaving assets to beneficiaries requires a detailed estate plan which can be prepared with the assistance of an attorney who has experience in these matters.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.