Estate Planning

When it comes to drafting an estate planning document, many people are reluctant.  Many are simply afraid to discuss what happens if they unexpectedly become sick or after they die.  But it is something that should be done by everyone to ensure that their family and loved ones know their wishes and desires.  At the Law Firm of JAG, P.L.L.C., we will do everything to make that process smooth and seamless.  Should you do a will?  Is a trust the right document for me and my family?  Which is better, a trust or a will?  Is there a difference between a regular will and living will? Can I make decisions about what I want done to me if I can’t talk to my doctor?  These are just some of the many questions we answer to ensure that our clients fully understand everything that comes with planning their estate.

Can I Write My Own Will?

A will is a legal document that explains how you want your property and other assets distributed after your death. Because the process of doing a will seems relatively simple, many people and programs have suggested that you can do your own will. Therefore, it may be tempting to download a form from the Internet or buy a form from an office supply store and write your own will. After all, why use an attorney when the process seems so simple?

If you are contemplating writing your own will without a lawyer’s guidance, think again. Florida state law requires that you follow specific guidelines in order for your will to be valid and acceptable. If you do not follow the precise rules, your will may be deemed invalid in court. As an experienced attorney, I have seen many mistakes made by people who attempted to do their own will; mistakes that either caused a specific will to be declared invalid, created problems that cost the family a lot of extra money in attorney’s fees to straighten out or resulted in an undesirable outcome.  Trust the Law Firm of JAG, P.L.L.C, to get it done right.

Is a Trust better than a Will?

Much like a will, a trust is a legal document that explains how you want your property and other assets distributed after your death.  The difference is probate.  A trust, if drafted correctly, can protect you and family’s assets from creditors while you are alive and by eliminating the need for probate, reduce the cost of distributing those assets upon your death.  The trust has the power to act like a Power of Attorney, giving those people you have appointed as trustees, the power to act like you if you are incapacitated and also upon your death.

What is the difference between a Will and a Living Will?

A will, as discussed above, is a legal document that addresses how you want your property and other assets distributed upon your death.  A living will, or a health surrogate document, is a legal document that speaks to your medical desires if you become incapacitated or were in some physical condition that prevented you from being able to communicate your desires.  In a living will, you get to discuss whether you want to be kept on life support or who you want to make health decisions for you if you can’t talk.  A living will is essential to an estate planning package because it reduces the emotional stress that comes when a family has to decide what to do when a loved one is sick and possibly dying.

To find out more about how the Law Firm of JAG, P.L.L.C. can help you prepare your estate planning documents, arrange a free initial consultation. Call our office toll free at (800) 841-7184 or locally at (305) 827-8087, or fill out the online contact form.