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Estate Planning When Life Is An Endless Series Of Crises


Matthew Erskine of the Wealth Management website writes that most professional estate planners’ approaches fall into one of two categories, which he calls the hedgehog style and the fox style.  Hedgehogs excel in making careful predictions, considering all possible outcomes and determining which one is the most likely to occur, and then taking actions that will ensure the best protection in the event of the most likely scenario.  In other words, the hedgehog spends most of its time tending its strategically located burrow, gathering food in the fall, and then curling up for a long snooze in the winter.  By contrast, foxes focus on getting as much as possible accomplished quickly under the current circumstances.  The fox’s goal is to remove as many chickens as possible from the chicken coop before the guard dog wakes up.  Of course, many of us live in such precarious circumstances that we cannot even count on the chicken coop still being there by tonight when the guard dog falls asleep, but people who live on the edge, by choice or by necessity, need an estate plan, too.  If you feel too overwhelmed and uncertain to make plans, but there is at least one person on this planet that you care about, contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

An Unofficial Document Is Better Than No Written Document

Your will is not legally valid unless you sign it in the presence of two witnesses, who also sign.  If you don’t formalize your will, the state will follow the laws of intestate succession, so unless you own property and you really don’t want your closest relatives to inherit it, you must formalize your will.  Regarding your instructions about your care in the event of a serious illness, or about the distribution of personal property after you die, instructions scrawled on a cocktail napkin are better than nothing.  At least your family and friends will have some idea of what you want them to do.

A Hasty Decision Is Better Than No Decision

Not updating your estate plan after a life change such as a divorce or the death of a close family member is a common mistake, but it can have costly consequences.  Even if you have not had time to think everything through, the worst thing you can do is not to write anything at all.  When you have more time to think, it is easier to revise your previous draft than it is to start from scratch.

Estate Planning Out Loud Is Better Than Letting People Guess

Florida does not recognize oral wills, but even when you don’t have the time or the focus to write an estate planning document, speaking out loud to family and friends about your estate plan is better than nothing.  At least someone will have heard you express your wishes.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Estate Planning in Uncertain Times

An estate planning lawyer can help you formalize your estate plan even when your life is full of chaos.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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