J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Florida estate planning doesn't have to be overwhelming

Most Florida residents understand that writing a will is a good idea if they want to direct the way their assets will be distributed after they pass away. What many may not understand that a will is just one factor they should take into account when planning their estate.

Some of the basic considerations of making an estate plan include writing and executing a will and naming a guardian for minor children and a custodian of money for the children. In addition, it can be important to appoint a personal representative to take care of financial matters and a surrogate to make medical decisions.

More advanced estate plans can set up a trust in an effort to preserve assets for heirs and beneficiaries. These require appointing a trustee. However for those who are not setting up a trust, a personal representative can be very important for taking care of financial decisions after the person passes away or is incapacitated by an illness or injury. The person setting up the plan appoints the representative and creates a power of attorney, allowing the representative to make financial decisions.

Estate planning can be intimidating for many Florida residents. It's uncomfortable for many people to consider their own mortality, and many people feel overwhelmed by the details of financial planning. However, a basic estate plan does not have to be especially complicated. Many Florida residents who have developed a solid estate plan feel a sense of relief once they know that they are providing for their heirs and beneficiaries, and that they are making it easier for their loved ones to carry on into the future.

Source: Fox Business, "How to Make Estate Planning Less Complex," Casey Dowd, Aug. 22, 2013