When most people in Florida think about estate planning, they tend to focus on long-term issues and avoiding probate court. One example of this focus is trusts that direct trustees to make distributions based on milestones, such as children graduating from college. While this type of traditional estate planning is important, it does not address potential issues that may unexpectedly arise.
In some situations, couples want to ensure that their minor children are looked after by relatives who live out of state. While this is a guardianship issue that can certainly be addressed as part of the estate plan, it does not specify who should look after the children in case the parents suddenly pass away, and their relatives cannot travel immediately. This is when detailed estate planning comes into play. Absent a legal document that provides instructions as to who should look after the children before guardianship is ordered in court, the kids will have to be cared for by the state.
Detailed estate planning can be crafted so that emergency documents are readily accessible. In many cases, wills and trusts are filed away from beneficiaries for the purpose of preventing disputes. However, a document that grants interim guardianship or emergency cash disbursements can be pinned to the refrigerator.
Another example of detailed estate planning would be a trust that includes instructions on what should be done in case the grantors suddenly pass away or become incapacitated. This is a more sophisticated strategy, but it requires an able and resourceful trustee who can take care of things when called upon to perform. Individuals can retain law firms that can be appointed as trustees or trust protectors to handle matters more efficiently than having to wait for a will to be administered through probate court.