Ideally, individuals in Florida and throughout the country will take proactive steps to make their estate plans as strong as possible. For instance, those who want to avoid probate might do so by creating a trust. Creating a trust might also help to protect assets from creditor claims or prevent a beneficiary from squandering his or her inheritance. Alternatively, it may be possible to avoid probate by attaching beneficiary designations to bank accounts or other property.
Anyone who hasn’t reviewed their estate plans in recent years may find that some or all of their plans are obsolete. For instance, changes in tax law since 2013 may make some trusts designed to reduce estate or income taxes unnecessary. Eliminating them may make it easier and less expensive to settle a person’s estate after that individual passes. Changes in the law since 2017 may also have an impact on what a financial agent may be able to do on a person’s behalf.
This may result in assets being depleted faster than they need to be in the event that a person is not competent and needs long-term care. However, it is important to note that an agent still has a fiduciary responsibility to the person who created the power of attorney document regardless of when it was created.
A probate and estate administration attorney may be able to help those tasked with settling the affairs of a deceased relative. An attorney may also help individuals create or review their own estate plans. The use of trusts or beneficiary designations can allow assets to be transferred to beneficiaries quickly. Furthermore, trusts are generally not made public, which means that a person can protect his or her privacy as well as the privacy of those who benefit from it.