When it comes to estate planning in Florida, you may think that everything you include is written in stone. Although you can leave behind detailed instructions about how you want your loved ones to manage your estate, issues may come up that could result in your beneficiaries or the courts not following those directives.
Here are three ways you can strengthen your estate plan to protect your legacy.
1. Plan for longer life expectancy
With life expectancy rates increasing each year, you should plan your estate with the mindset that you may live longer than you expect. Take time to consider your living arrangements, medical care needs and financial situation. You should have backup instructions and documents in place, such as a healthcare and financial power of attorney in place to protect your interests and resources. You should also consider establishing a revocable trust that names family members you want to have to control over your estate if you no longer have the mental capacity to manage your affairs yourself.
2. Name beneficiaries on all accounts
Although you name the heirs in your will, they will not automatically inherit the proceeds from all of your financial holdings. Accounts that you have at financial institutions, such as your retirement, checking, savings and investments, pass directly to the named beneficiaries that are on file. If you do not name any beneficiaries, those proceeds will pass to your estate and become subject to intestate successions laws.
3. Plan your funeral
To ease your loved ones' grieving process and help them avoid the expensive and complicated task of making funeral arrangements, you should leave behind a letter with instructions. You also have the option of prepaying your funeral expenses. Leaving behind funeral instructions can help to prevent disputes and negative feelings that can fracture your loved ones' bonds with each other.
Finally, take time to review your estate plans and financial accounts periodically to keep them up to date. You do not overlook any aspects that could result in your final wishes not being honored.