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High Priority Tips & Advice For Estate Planning & Avoiding Probate


As estate planning and probate attorneys that practice and advise clients every day here in Florida, we see a lot of mistakes made with family estates; mistakes that lead to nasty probate outcomes that absolutely could have been avoided with better legal counsel and planning.

Below, we’ve discussed some of the common topics that come up for families in estate planning, and some advice on how to avoid probate-related mistakes with respect to your interests:

All Documents Are Created Equal?

Understand that documents considered to be “supporting documents” within estate planning—i.e. your power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, etc.—are just as important as your trust and will. All of these documents need to be reviewed with your attorney every few years because states will make changes to relevant laws that affect them.

Designating Beneficiaries

While beneficiary designations are separate from what is in your will, they—along with title accounts—should still be reflected in all of your estate documents. And while you should ensure that you have primary beneficiaries, you also need to make sure that you have a secondary beneficiary in place in case the primary beneficiaries predecease you.  In addition, keep in mind that commingled asset ownership is common, but can also complicate things. Probate is not how you want to transfer these assets to a beneficiary.

Long-Term Health Care

Make sure that you become as familiar with how long-term care works as is possible. This includes but is not limited to elimination periods, benefit restoration, waiver of premiums, and other key aspects of your long-term care. Make sure that you are also familiar with government benefit programs, such as Medicaid, and how it works and note that long-term care is especially relevant if someone is in an aging or assisted-living facility.

Retirement Planning & Balancing Income & Expenses

When it comes to retirement planning, you need a plan for how you will balance removing money from your portfolio in order to address expenses without draining your nest egg. Your attorney and any financial advisors that they work with can help you with this balancing act; juggling what you bring in as income; figuring out if that will be enough, how much will be needed for how long, how to work in increasing cost of living, etc. All of this affects how you structure your retirement and investments.  However, be careful—taking monthly distributions from your nest egg to cover your regular expenses could mean that you will never see that pre-loss value again.

Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys Today To Find Out More

Our Florida estate planning attorneys are committed to ensuring that you leave your legacy as you see fit. Contact us at Gierach and Gierach, P.A.  today to find out more about our committed and strategic estate planning services.




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