The process of preparing and planning for a persons financial, health care and personal affairs. It includes documents to designate an agent in the event of a future disability such as a Living Willl or health care surrogate to assist with health care matters if one is unable to do so, a power of attorney to help with financial matters, and wills and trusts to pass financial property to family, friends and possibly other organizations. Estate Planning can ensure that a person is able to pass their property exactly as they desire instead of how Florida law or their home state would dictate it pass and then if trusts are prepared they can direct how the property will be handled long after the grantor is dead. Estate Planning is critical for all people and not merely those with a large estate. It determines who the guardian of minor children would be, who the personal representative/trustee (if there was also a trust) would be that handles the affairs and a guardianship from having to be imposed where the court would take control. Florida probate could be avoided as well through the use of trusts and or proper designations for the way that property is held saving time and money. Also if it is a large estate money could be saved that would otherwise have to be paid for estate taxes. Once all the persons assets exceed a certain exemption amount the estate is taxed at over 40%. With proper planning substantial amounts of money can be saved.
April 2006 Archives
Domicile: The place that a person presently lives with the intent to remain. This is usually a persons permanent residence but if they are merely away on military service, to receive medical care or go to college for example but intend to return home to another place that they intend to return to will be the domicile. The law governing the state and county of domicile will control the disposition of the person's property upon their death. One's Domicile is important in figuring out which county a Florida Probate case is filed.