Estate Planning | Earl Harmon Law

Comprehensive Estate Planning: Safeguarding Your Legacy

An estate plan is a comprehensive set of legal documents designed to ensure your wishes are respected in the event of mental incapacity or after your passing. These crucial documents include instructions for managing healthcare and financial matters should you become temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions. Moreover, they play a pivotal role in safeguarding assets and facilitating a smooth transfer to chosen beneficiaries after your passing. An estate plan can appoint a trusted guardian in a situation involving minor children or family members with special needs.  It brings peace of mind to designate a guardian to provide for their well-being.

Another key advantage is that an estate plan has the power to bypass or reduce the probate process, which can be lengthy and financially burdensome. Without a properly executed estate plan, your wishes may not be considered, resulting in asset distribution according to the intestacy laws in the Florida Statutes.

Helping Individuals and Families Plan for the Future

Securing your legacy through estate planning necessitate legal counsel who is well-versed in Florida’s estate planning laws. Attorney Earl Harmon stands as a dedicated professional committed to his client’s legal needs. Over time, he has consistently crafted estate plans to fulfill our client’s goals and aspirations.

Our law firm recognizes a client’s unique circumstances and the delicate nature of estate planning. We spend a substantial amount of time with each client to gain a clear understanding of their concerns and objectives.

The Core Elements of an Estate Plan are:

  • Last Will and Testament: This document sets forth your wishes regarding asset distribution after your passing. In addition, the testator, the will’s creator, can designate a guardian for their minor children or disabled dependents.
  • Living Trust: A Living Trust bypasses the probate process, allowing a trustee to transfer assets to beneficiaries after your demise. Living trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable, each carrying distinct advantages and disadvantages.
  • Pour-Over Will: This legal instrument ensures that your assets, not included in a trust, will automatically transfer to the trust, bypassing the probate process.
  • Power of Attorney: A power of attorney designates an agent to act on your behalf for financial transactions. It is in effect immediately when signed and ends upon your passing.
  • Living Will: This document voices your wishes for healthcare and medical treatment if you are deemed temporarily or permanently mentally incapacitated.
  • Health Care Surrogate: This medical directive names an agent who can legally make medical and end-of-life decisions for you while mentally incapacitated. 

What is the Recommended Age to Initiate Estate Planning?

The answer to this question surprises many. Once the legal age of 18 is reached, it is advisable to begin the process. While you may have limited assets at this age, having someone you trust to make medical and end-of-life decisions in the event of injury, illness, or incapacity is crucial. Too often, a family confronted with tragedy discovers they lack legal authority to direct the care and financial affairs of their loved ones. 

If you have minor children, you will want to name a guardian for them in your estate plan. Failing to do so can result in conflict over your child’s future, leaving the decision in the hands of the court.

Keeping Your Estate Plan Current

Estate planning is not a one-time event, as there are numerous reasons to amend an estate plan as your life unfolds. Many compelling reasons exist to review, revise, or completely rewrite your estate plan. 

Pivotal life changes include:

  • Marriage
  • Welcoming the birth or adoption of a child
  • Going through a divorce
  • Receiving an inheritance
  • Launching or closing of a business.

Failing to update an estate plan can lead to unintended consequences. Your children could be placed with persons you are no longer in contact with, or a person you wish to exclude may become an unintended beneficiary.

Changes in Florida laws regarding an estate plan’s administration or tax structure can necessitate revisions to your estate plan. At Earl Harmon Law, P.A., our lawyer guides and protects you through life’s myriad changes to ensure your estate plan remains aligned with your circumstances and is valid. 

Choose a Trusted Florida Estate Planning Law Firm

An up-to-date estate plan is one of the best gifts to leave family members and loved ones. Creating a well-written and unambiguous estate plan minimizes family conflicts and contests, which can be costly and delay the distribution of assets for an extended time.

Contact Earl Harmon Law, P.A., at (352) 973-9699 to schedule a FREE 30-minute phone or video consultation to answer your questions and begin making estate-planning decisions. We represent clients in Lake, Seminole, Sumter Counties, and the surrounding areas.

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