The first step in formulating a plan is for an individual to disclose to their estate planning attorney the extent and nature of their assets, which includes all checking and saving accounts, IRA information, 401(k)s or other retirement plans, life insurance policies, interests in all businesses, all real property, and all valuable personal property. You must also disclose information about your intended beneficiaries and whether there are any special circumstances pertaining to those persons. This step is important as it is necessary to determine whether you have a taxable estate or not and to determine which estate planning alternatives would best fit your situation because each person’s situation is unique.
Proper estate planning with an estate attorney in Venice, FL is important to ensure that your assets are correctly distributed upon your death or incapacity, assure that your assets are not left outright to minor children or beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their affairs because of a disability, and avoid probate court which will subject your assets to the claims of your creditors at your death and will delay the time of distribution to your beneficiaries. Additionally, if you do not have a proper estate plan in place, then the State of Florida by way of the intestacy statutes will dictate to whom your assets are distributed upon your death. RECENT FIGURES HAVE SHOWN THAT 60-75% OF ALL AMERICANS DIE INTESTATE (WITHOUT A WILL OR ESTATE PLAN IN PLACE)! Some famous individuals have died intestate, including four U.S. presidents, Buddy Holly, Pablo Picasso, Michael Jackson, and more recently, the musician formerly known as Prince, former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, celebrity DJ AM (Adam Goldstein), and the well-known hip-hop artist, Tupac Shakur.