Research shows that the percentage of Americans who do not have wills is over half. In fact, the percentage is higher for parents who have minor children and lack wills. However, estate planning is critical for protecting one's assets long term in Florida and elsewhere. Here is a brief rundown on what estate planning components are important for people in various stages of life this year.
Those who are single and under age 30 would be wise to draft wills if they have assets -- like money in the bank -- because, even though they are young, death may strike at any time. If they create wills, they can ensure that their significant others, parents or siblings will be taken care of financially in the event of their deaths. In the same way, those who are living with their boyfriends or girlfriends, but are not married, may want to put together wills to make sure that their significant others receive their assets when they die.
For those with young children, creating wills is also important because they can use these documents to name guardians to take care of their minor children if they pass away. In addition, those who are middle age and have accumulated quite a few assets over the years may want to consider setting up trusts. The benefit of trusts over wills is that trusts will allow them to pass their assets to their surviving family members without the hassle of dealing with the probate court. Finally, those who are elderly would be wise not only to set up trusts but also to create durable powers of attorney that spell out who will handle their financial matters and health care decisions should they become incapacitated.
Many individuals in Florida and elsewhere may shy away from estate planning because the process seems too complicated. However, an attorney can help asset owners to navigate this process with confidence. The attorney's ultimate goal when working with these individuals is to make sure that their best interests are protected long term.