Senior citizens and estate planning

While all Florida adults can benefit from estate planning, it becomes more important as people grow older. Senior citizens can use estate planning to ensure that their wishes will be followed after they pass away and that their assets and belongings will be distributed to the people they want to receive them.

What is an estate?

An estate is made up of everything that a person owns as well as their liabilities. For example, an estate will include a deceased person’s bank accounts, home, cars, and personal property. It will also include the debts the person owes at the time of his or her death. The estate’s major debts must be paid before the proceeds can be distributed to the intended beneficiaries.

What does an estate plan include?

Estate planning might include several different types of important legal documents, including the following:

  • Durable power of attorney
  • Health care power of attorney
  • Will
  • Advance directive/living will
  • Trust

The particular documents that an individual might need will depend on the size and complexity of the estate. Choosing the right estate planning documents can help to make sure that a person’s assets are distributed according to his or her wishes and might help to reduce taxes and costs that might otherwise be incurred.

While most people do not like to contemplate their deaths, planning for how their estates should be handled after they die is important. If a person dies without an estate plan, their assets will be distributed under the state’s intestacy laws, which might not comport with what the individual wanted to happen. An estate plan allows people to control how their assets should be handled and might help their families to avoid unnecessary costs and taxes. This can help to give older adults peace of mind.

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