Tampa Estate Planning Basics: Eight Simple Steps To Take Now
The term ‘estate planning’ is intimidating to some. They either think it either does not apply to them or that it requires endless consultations with a lawyer and the creation of complex legal documents. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
No matter your age, the amount of property and assets you own, or other factors in your life, creating a basic estate plan is important and relatively easy. Our experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer outlines eight simple steps to take now that can help protect you and your loved ones in the years to come.
- Make an inventory of all property, assets, and debts.
This is generally the best place to begin. Be thorough and list all homes, cars, household furnishings, collectibles, personal belongings, money in bank accounts, online assets, retirement benefits, and other items you own. Include all outstanding debts you owe, as well as any money owed to you by others.
- Create or update your will.
Once you have your inventory, creating a will is relatively simple. It dictates your final wishes, designates beneficiaries, determines how distributions are made and helps avoid time-consuming and potentially costly Hillsborough County Probate Court proceedings.
- Consider creating a trust.
A trust protects your assets, shielding them from creditor claims, and allows you to make more detailed distributions to loved ones. By transferring certain assets to a third party or trustee, it also helps with Medicaid eligibility in the event you need long-term care.
- Create or update advance directives.
Advance directives communicate your wishes regarding medical care in the event you are incapacitated and unable to communicate on your own. It spares your family from having to make difficult decisions or guess what you would have wanted.
- Protect your business interests.
If you own a small business, consider how it is structured. The Internal Revenue Service outlines various options that can help to reduce taxes and protect your individual assets.
- Consider the need for life insurance.
If you have small children, an outstanding mortgage, or other significant types of debts, life insurance can help ease the financial burden on your family in the event of your passing.
- Designate bank accounts as payable on death.
This is one of the simplest and most practical estate planning tasks. By visiting your bank, you can designate accounts as payable on death. This gives your spouse, children, or other loved ones immediate access to funds if anything happens to you.
- Review property titles.
Titling property in a loved one’s name or designating survivorship rights provides security and potential tax or Medicaid benefits while helping to avoid future disputes over use and ownership.
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Creating an estate plan is relatively easy and something everyone should make time for. At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., we can advise you on the various options available. To request a consultation with our Tampa estate planning lawyer, call or contact us online today.