Case Analysis

Estate Planning Document Preparation

Many people think they simply cannot afford a Florida estate planning attorney to help them put together specific Florida estate planning documents that direct where their property goes after their death. However, did you know you can prepare your own estate plan with the assistance of a Florida estate planning legal document preparer?

Generally, the basic estate planning documents include the following documents:

Will - which specifies whom you want to inherit your property upon your death.

Health Care Directive - names someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

Living Will - indicates what your wishes are when you are faced with end-of-life-sustaining treatment.

Power of Attorney - names someone else who has the legal authority to act in your place.

Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian - Names someone to be your legal guardian if a court determines that you need one.

Fortunately, if you know exactly what you want to happen when you die, you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in hiring a Florida estate planning legal document preparer to prepare your last will and testament, power of attorney, living will, pre-need guardian, and health care directives for a fraction of the price.

What is Estate Planning? Everyone has an "estate." Everything you own forms part of your estate: investments, furniture, your home, your car, savings accounts, life insurance, and personal belongings. It's a good idea for people of all ages to have an estate plan. An estate plan is simply a properly executed record of how you would like your property to be distributed after your death. If you die without an estate plan, your property will be disturbed based on the Florida laws of intestacy, and that might not be what you would have wanted. For example, if you have no close relatives, your property might go to a cousin you don't even like, rather than a close friend you might have chosen. People putt of making an estate plan because they think they need to pay thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer. You can save a great deal of money by acting as your own attorney and enlisting the assistance of an experienced Florida estate planning document preparer to help you.

Last Will and Testament

The most basic element of an estate plan is a Last Will and Testament. This document will detail exactly how you would like your personal property (car, furniture, music collection, artwork, etc.) to be distributed upon your death. You can be as specific as you'd like. You can give your Elvis records to your niece, Amanda, who collects old vinyl, and your vegan cookbooks to Jennifer, your neighbor. You can cut somebody out of your Will if you'd like. It's your property and your right to distribute it as you please. It's important to ensure that the Will is valid. There is a great deal o information available online about how to draft and execute a Will in Florida, so individuals often do it without a lawyer. When drafting your own Will without a lawyer, it's helpful to enlist the assistance of an experienced Florida last will and testament forms specialist.

Guardians for Children and Advanced Directives

In addition to the distribution of property, an estate plan can state your wishes in other areas. If a parent dies or becomes incapacitated, living minor children, the court will make the decision about who the guardian will be, but the great weight will be given to a parent's wishes. Also, it is always best if you can have a pre-need guardian form prepared so as to select someone to take care of you if you should have become incapacitated. Advanced directives and powers of attorney can ensure that your healthcare is handled in the manner you choose, should you become unable to make these decisions on your own. If you are in need of help preparing a Florida durable power of attorney form, Florida designation of health care surrogate form, Florida living will form, please obtain the assistance of a Florida estate planning nonlawyer service to help you.

Florida Summary Administration

The cost of probating a Will in Florida can be astronomical. That's because attorneys charge $300 - $500 an hour for their time, even if it's just time spend talking to you on the phone or filling out forms. Most of the hard work is done by the estate's executor (also sometimes called an administrator or personal representative), who is responsible for liquidating assets, getting appraisals, setting up bank accounts, paying debts, and distributing assets. Unless it's a very large estate and/or the Will or the provisions are being contested, an individual can handle the probate process of a Florida Summary Administration on their own. Many people handling probate without an attorney on their own find the assistance of a Florida probate service a great option to save you money and probate a Florida Will without leaving your home to be very helpful. 

Probate for Small Estates

When the value of an estate is less than $75,000, it's possible to file for probate with Florida's Summary Administration and Estate process. even smaller estates, around $10,000 in value (varying by County) and containing only liquid assets, can use an even more streamlined process called Florida Disposition of Personal Property without Administration. Florida is a popular state for semi-retired seniors who own small vacation condos, and when they pass, they must go through probate. For small estates that are not being contested, handling the legal work yourself with the help of a Florida probate legal document assistant can save you thousands of dollars in attorney's fees.

What if someone dies without a Will?

When someone dies without a Will, it's called dying "intestate." In such cases, the estate passes to the deceased person's legal heirs based on the Florida laws of intestacy. The estate property is distributed to close family members and to more distant relatives if no close family can be found. If there is no family at all, the estate's property goes to the State of Florida. Forms must be filed with the Florida court to request the appointment of an administrator for the estate, who will carry out the functions assigned by the court. If the estate is small and no contests are filed, it can save a great deal of money to handle the legal work on your own with the help of an experienced Florida probate legal document preparer.

As an alternative, the probate process itself is expensive and lengthy, yet people don't realize that there are a few simple ways to avoid probate in Florida. You may also want to consider what you can do to avoid probate in Florida and the main reasons you should make Legal Document Services of North Central Florida part of your estate planning process to avoid all this later.

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