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Delays in estate planning could be costly for loved ones

There is a common myth when it comes to estates and planning for the future. The myth is that estate planning only serves the wealthy -- those with large estates and copious assets. While estate planning can be valuable for those with many assets, it can also prove valuable for just about anyone. Any Florida residents with any amount of assets can benefit from an estate plan as they protect not only the interests of the estate planners, but the interests of their loved ones as well.

According to a survey by a popular law website, only 35 percent of Americans have a will. Dying without a will is what is known intestate. This means the assets of the deceased could be distributed according to Florida state laws. Even worse, the distribution could be decided by a costly court battle, which is a difficulty that loved ones most likely will not want to face.

One writer whose mother is in critical condition wrote to urge her readers of the dangers of dying without a well-prepared estate. The writer's mother, she writes, refuses to draft a will because she is overprotective of her personal information. This inevitably creates complications.

Without a will and a living will, a person's wishes involving health care directives and asset distribution will remain unknown. And this brings up another estate planning myth -- that everyone knows a person's wishes if they are made known verbally. This is often not the case. Most of the time, these wishes need to be stated explicitly in written form. With estate planning, a person's asset distribution and health care wishes can be made known in no uncertain terms.

Source: The Washington Post, "Put you estate plan on paper before it's too late," Michelle Singletary, Mar. 20, 2014

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