When Florida residents think about the future, they may assume that everything will be taken care of if they have a will or estate plan. However, it can be important to regularly review estate documents in order to ensure that they reflect legal and personal developments that could affect distribution. In general, estate plans that are three or more years old should be reviewed to determine if changes are necessary. However, personal events like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child can also spark a review.
Estate planning should be an important part of anyone’s life, but it is particularly important for business owners. You may not realize it, but business owners need to create a sort of “estate plan” for their business, as well as themselves.
People in Florida thinking about the future may want to create powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a document that gives another person the right to act on behalf of the creator or principal on certain matters. In some cases, powers of attorney are effective immediately, and in other cases, they become effective when the principal is incapacitated. For example, healthcare powers of attorney assign another person the right to make medical decisions for the principal in case he or she is incapacitated or unable to make decisions. Financial powers of attorney could transfer the right to manage investments, bank accounts and other financial matters.
A person in Florida who is not included in the will of a close relative might decide to contest the will. Being cut out of a will is not unusual; it may happen because a new spouse inherits all the assets or for some other reason, but the first step is often to discuss the situation with an attorney.
Generally speaking, there are two major errors that Florida residents make with regard to their estate plans. The first is not to have a will or another planning instrument that is key to the settling of the estate. The second is to fail to update a plan once it's been developed. There is no set timeline upon which a person should update his or her plan, but there are certain life events that call for updates, and if it's been a while, it might be worth revisiting.