I don’t have any assets – Do I need a will?

Absolutely- estate planning is essential! EVERY PERSON eighteen years and older should have a will. No matter your age, wealth, or health, tomorrow is never promised. The primary purpose of a will is to dispose of your assets upon your death, but your will can serve other very important functions. Here’s a few reasons why YOU need a will:

Do you have young children?

You should have a will to establish a guardian to raise your minor children in the event that something happens to you prior to your children turning 18 and to establish a trustee to manage money/property left to your young children.

Do you have animals?

You should have a will to provide for your pet’s future without you. Many animals end up being surrendered to animal shelters after their owners die and many of them never find a new home. Luckily, with some planning, you can provide for your pets and make sure that they’ll always have a home and feel your love. Designate a responsible friend or family member to care for your pets and designate funds to support your pet in your will.

Are you an unmarried couple, with or without children?

A will is essential to leave assets to a partner you are not married to! If one partner dies without a will, it will be as if the other partner does not exist. Your live-in partner of 30 years could get nothing and be forced from the home you once shared– or the same could happen to you!

Do you wish to be buried or cremated?

You should have a will with a written plan of your burial or cremation wishes.

Do you want to leave a legacy or support a community charitable cause? 

Is there a local charity that holds a special place in your heart? Donate to that charity in your will and make a difference in your community for years to come!

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you need a will!

Here’s another scenario: What if you are killed by a drunk driver? Even if you have $0 to your name on the date of your death, your family might file a wrongful death suit on your behalf that produces millions of dollars and that money would go to your estate, but if you don’t have a will, the state will in effect “write your will for you” and those millions of dollars may not be distributed the way you would have wanted.

But it doesn’t stop there, a good estate plan includes more than just a will. You should also have the following four estate planning documents:

Living Will

Your “Living Will”  directs the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event you have a terminal illness or if are in an end-state condition or persistent vegetative state. It protects you in a future situation when you can no longer communicate your wishes for yourself. It gives you control over medical treatments and procedures and directs doctors to fulfill your wishes. It prevents your loved ones from having to make that difficult decision for you in an already tough and difficult time.

Durable Power of Attorney

Your “Durable Power of Attorney” designates a trusted individual to make financial decisions for you and handle your financial affairs. Your durable power of attorney can be used before and after your incapacitation. Creating a Durable Power of Attorney can avoid the necessity of your family having to open a guardianship proceeding in court and avoid the expense and aggravation of such a proceeding.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate

You can designate authority to a “Health Care Surrogate” to have access to your medical records make all healthcare decisions in the event you become incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions for yourself. Executing a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate can avoid the necessity of your family having to open a guardianship proceeding in court and avoid the expense and aggravation of such a proceeding.

Designation of Preneed Guardian

Under Florida law, any competent adult may designate a person to be appointed as his or her guardian in the event that a guardianship is necessary and unavoidable. Executing a Designation of Preneed Guardian gives you the ability to choose who you want your guardian to be.

While no one likes to think about their own mortality, planning ahead can make things so much easier for your family and ease the burden on your loved ones when they are faced with such a difficult time. An experienced estate planning attorney can provide the guidance you need to ensure that your loved ones are protected. Trader Legal offers a Healthcare and Estate Planning Package which includes all five of these important estate planning documents: Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, Designation of Preneed Guardian, and Durable Power of Attorney. Call Trader Legal today at (321) 723-6731 for package pricing and to schedule a free estate planning consultation!

Disclaimer: The attorneys at Trader Legal provide the information contained on any and all pages of our website and blog as a courtesy to the public. You should not rely on the statements made herein made on this blog/ website in deciding how to proceed in your particular situation. This is not intended to constitute legal advice. Contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you have any questions pertaining to the information contained herein, you should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction who can provide legal advice pertaining to the particular facts of your case/ situation.