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Estate Plan B


Estate planning is not like planning for a one-time special event.  The probate of your estate is not the main event of estate planning in the same way that a wedding ceremony or wedding reception is the main event of wedding planning.  Instead, estate planning is more like a flowchart.  You are not trying to achieve your dream probate in the way that engaged couples who plan their weddings are hoping to achieve their dream wedding.  It would be futile to do this, anyway, since, no matter how well your plan works out, you will not be around to enjoy your dream probate.  You cannot afford to place all your bets on a certain outcome coming to fruition.  To give just one example, you should not base your estate plan on the assumption that you will outlive your spouse, and you should not base it on the assumption that your spouse will outlive you.  Unless one spouse is much older than the other or has many more health risks, then each outcome has an approximately equal probability of happening.  All of your estate planning documents should account for at least two different sets of circumstances being present when it comes time to implement the estate planning document.  For help building a backup plan into your estate plan, contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

A Beneficiary and a Spare

The most important estate planning documents are the ones that indicate which person will become the owner of a certain asset after you die or who will be responsible for certain decisions in the event that you become seriously ill.  If you have signed these documents, then it is not up to the court to guess what you have wanted, and there is less room for your family members to make competing claims.  Of course, what if the person you designated is no longer alive or able to fulfill the designated function when the time comes to act on the instructions in the document?  Then you are stuck with the same uncertainty and disputes.

Therefore, for every estate planning document, you need a plan B.  You don’t have to execute a whole separate document; simply write one document, but list one or more successors.  In your will, indicate a personal representative and a successor personal representative, who will take on the role if the original personal representative predeceases you.  When you list the beneficiaries of your will, indicate what should happen to the shares of your estate indicated for beneficiaries who die before your estate goes to probate.  Indicate an agent and a successor agent for your medical advance directive and springing power of attorney.  If you establish a trust, indicate a trustee and a successor trustee.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Backup Plans for Your Estate Plan

An estate planning lawyer can help you build an estate plan that accounts for several possible scenarios by indicating successor beneficiaries.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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