Protect Your Family By Creating An Estate Plan

If you are about to or have just gotten married, if you are having a child or welcoming a grandchild or if you are buying a home — these happy times are also good times to protect your family's future through estate planning.

Other major life events like divorce or relocating to Florida also tend to bring up issues that need to be managed. Unfortunately, many people overlook their estate plans as they sort through the legal paperwork and take care of other details.

Whenever your life and family change, it is important to take some time to review your will, trust, advance directives and other estate documents to ensure that they are still accurate and reflect your wishes. Your will is not automatically updated just because you were divorced and, in some cases, your will may have become invalid when your divorce is finalized.

Now is the time to start the process, and we offer initial consultation with a lawyer to do this. Contact us online or call 407-622-4529 today.

Do I Need A Will?

Many people wonder whether or not they need a will if they live in Florida. There are basic state laws that will control how your property is distributed if you die without a will, so the technical answer is, "No." However, there are many benefits of a having a will, including:

  • Reducing potential taxes
  • Providing you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed
  • Distributing property with minimum administrative costs
  • Parents of minor children indicating their pre-need choice for guardian of their children

It can be tempting to use a do-it-yourself will or an online service, but these forms or services have no way of knowing your unique situation. A standard form may not even accomplish your goals. In fact, an improperly completed estate document can cause more problems down the road.

Working with attorney Michelle A. Barry, you will be able to customize your specific testamentary document by creating a list of tangible goods, referenced within the will, in which you can list your personal property and identify who should receive each item.

Do I Need To Establish A Trust?

The answer to this question really depends on your situation. A testamentary trust, for example, is just one type of trust that you can use your life insurance proceeds to fund. Another example is a special needs trust that provides a minor or adult child who has special needs with financial support that will not interfere with federal benefits like Social Security Disability.

As with a will, this type of trust does not "live" until you die. Ms. Barry is an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your choices regarding trust documents so that you can make informed estate planning decisions.

What Other Documents Do I Need In My Estate Plan?

In addition to a will and possibly a trust, it is also recommended that your planning documents include:

  • Health care proxy or advance directive — You can use this document to designate who will make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to communicate with health care providers.
  • Living will This document can help you decide in advance what type of treatment or care you want to receive in the end stages of an illness.
  • Durable power of attorney — This document states who will handle money decisions for you in the event you are unable to make financial decisions for yourself.

It is important to remember that these documents are valid while you are alive, but a will only becomes effective when you pass. As long as you are competent and able to make your own decisions, any of these documents (except for an irrevocable trust) can be changed at any time.

Get Help — Talk To Our Firm

At the law firm of Michelle A. Barry, P.A., in Longwood, we dedicate our entire practice to helping people and families with their important legal matters. We understand that these situations are stressful, and we know what is at stake. You can rely on us to take the time to work with you, understand your goals, help develop estate documents that reflect your wishes and even walk your loved ones through probate if necessary.

Ms. Barry prides herself on the personalized attention she offers every client and handles every aspect of your case herself. Call our office in Longwood today at 407-622-4529 or contact us online.

We are available during regular business hours and by appointment. A free 15-minute initial telephone consultation is available to discuss your case. Email documents to us prior to a call for the most beneficial use of your time. In-person consultations are available at a reduced rate that will be put toward a retainer. We accept all major credit cards for your convenience.