Let’s face it: because women live about five years longer than men, on average, they should take estate planning seriously. (So should men, of course.) It should be noted that if you don’t have an estate plan, it is likely that your assets will wind up in probate, with the state of Florida deciding who should your assets.
Probate can be a complex, stressful and time-consuming process for heirs. Known as a slow, cumbersome proceeding, it’s also often the source of disputes among frustrated beneficiaries.
A recent article in a newspaper about 150 miles south of Brevard County shared some estate planning tips for women (and men) that include:
- Make a list of your assets for your heirs. Tell them where the assets are and how they are titled.
- Create advanced directives (living will, power of attorney, health care surrogate).
- Make a contact list of your banks, financial advisers, accountant and insurance agent.
- Tell your loved ones where they can find the information they need to take care of your estate after you are gone.
- When you designate a particular asset to a primary beneficiary, be sure to name in the planning document a contingent beneficiary.
- If you own a Brevard County business, discuss asset protection with your estate planning attorney.
Also be sure to talk to a lawyer who can help you decide whether or not you need a trust, and the different types of trusts available to help you protect your loved ones and the assets you want to pass on to them.