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Advice on how to protect a young family

We all went through it about a month ago: organizing and presenting financial documents to the federal government (aka filing our income tax returns). Another step in getting financially organized is to sit down with an estate planning attorney to put together a contingency strategy.

A recent article on the subject pointed out that it is often young families with kids who are least prepared to deal financially with the unexpected death or unanticipated incapacitation of a breadwinner. They often do not have tremendous wealth and impressive properties, but they have something even more valuable to protect: the future of their loved ones.

By acting now and making an estate plan, you can protect them and their ability to keep the family home and the lifestyle you have created by helping them avoid costly, time-consuming probate.

The article urges people to take a few steps now, including the following:

  • Decide who gets what: Write a list of assets, how those assets should be distributed and who should carry out your wishes upon your death. These are things you can figure out before you ever step foot into the estate planning attorney's office.
  • Don't DIY: the article we read is plain about estate planning: “This is not a do-it-yourself project with documents found online." Avoid mistakes by sitting down with an attorney who understands the law, paperwork and processes. Remember, if you do make a mistake in your will or a trust, you won't be there to help fix it.
  • Consider your health: you might do well to consider creation of a health care power of attorney or health care surrogate document. Ask your lawyer about how Florida law helps you protect yourself in case you become incapacitated and can no longer make important decisions for yourself.

Contact an experienced Brevard County estate planning attorney for more information.

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