Best Estate Planning Tips From Local Attorneys

As time goes on, there will come a time when estate planning takes center stage in everyone’s life, but why is it pivotal to plan? Estate planning is essential to ensure your wishes are honored and your loved ones are provided for after your passing. It goes beyond just distributing assets as estate planning offers peace of mind and protection against unanticipated situations, while also reducing potential financial burdens for beneficiaries.

When Should You Start Planning Your Estate

Timing for estate planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all, but beginning the process as early as possible is generally advised. There are countless factors to consider when deciding if it’s the right time to start thinking about estate planning, such as marriage, property ownership, divorce, medical conditions, etc. Legally, you can start the steps of estate preparations at the age of 18. Generally, it is best to start planning once you have accumulated assets. Life is unpredictable, so by preparing early, you can ensure that your family isn’t burdened financially during a difficult time.

Drafting a Will and Distributing Assets

Although creating a will may sound like a daunting process, it ensures that designated assets will make their way into the hands of the chosen beneficiaries. A will is a legal document that outlines the assets, beneficiaries, executor appointment, and guardianship (if applicable).

There are several different ways you can distribute your assets. Whether that be through a will, a trust, or beneficiary designations. The difference between a trust and a will is that a will is subject to probate, unlike a trust. Beneficiary designations clearly define which assets, such as insurance life policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death accounts, will go to a certain beneficiary. Each of these methods differs in terms of flexibility and control, so it is best to do your research beforehand to see which is best for you.

Clearly Define Beneficiaries

In the process of distributing your assets, your beneficiaries must be clearly defined. Updating and defining your beneficiaries will negate any potential issues in your estate. This is true not only in the sense that it makes the distribution of assets move promptly, but it also prevents confusion that could lead to disputes.

Planning your estate is not a one-and-done process, as time goes by, many factors can change. Your relationships may change, whether through loss or divorce, and should be updated. If not kept up to date, it could result in legal complications for your family to resolve.

Ensuring that your beneficiaries are kept updated and accurate can also aid in preventing probate court proceedings concerning retirement accounts, insurance policies, and payable-on-death (POD) accounts. Given the potential costs associated with probate, this practice can effectively conserve both time and financial resources for your family.

Choosing an attorney you trust to represent you in this important affair is key to ensuring that your values are correctly interpreted and implemented.

Bonaquist | Allen Law

If you’re looking for a trusted attorney to aid in your estate preparation in Southwest Florida, contact the trust and estate attorneys of Bonaquist | Allen to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

With over 40 years of experience in Florida law, Bonaquist | Allen is the name you can trust. With years of dedicated service, our attorneys provide expertise that ensures your estate planning is comprehensive and tailored to your circumstances.

At Bonaquist | Allen, we prioritize clear communication and transparency, ensuring that you fully understand your options and the implications of each decision. Whether you’re establishing a will, setting up trusts, or preparing powers of attorney, our attorneys work diligently to craft solutions that align with your goals and protect your assets. Contact our office today at 239-276-7127 by visiting