I try my best to set aside time weekly to read through the latest trends and updates in law when it comes to estate planning and probate administration. An article I read recently discussed “the client’s greatest asset” and defined this asset as the home. The article went on to discuss the wonderful benefits of the Florida homestead exemption, a topic I will discuss in greater detail in the near future I’m sure. While I agree that your home is a great asset, one in which each American can agree they worked hard for and take pride in, I don’t necessarily believe it’s the greatest. Before I share what I believe to be your greatest asset, let’s first define the word asset. An asset can be a thing, quality or person and it’s something of great value. With that being said, I believe many would agree that their greatest asset is their family. Whether your family consists of you and your significant other/spouse, your children, a great group of friends – whatever family is to you I’m almost certain that you would agree that they are the most valuable asset in your life. Now for the reason I’m posting this blog: while your home has the Florida Constitution looking out for it (i.e. The Homestead Exemption) your family has, well, you. This is why it’s so crucial that you take the time today to plan and ensure your greatest asset is not just considered but protected.
A comprehensive estate plan is one that plans for both death and incapacity. You continue to maintain a certain degree of control by nominating individuals ahead of time that would step in to be your voice in the event of a medical emergency, another individual to cover financial affairs and a Trustee to manage your assets until you are fit to do so. Remember: self care is not selfish. In order to take care of others you must first take care of yourself which is why this is a crucial step and should not be overlooked. Many clients haven’t previously considered or simply do not want a durable power of attorney or healthcare surrogate, but you should truly plan ahead for your own incapacity. It will make an already stressful situation a little easier. Should you pass away, the plan will lay out the manner and timing in which your assets will be distributed to your loved ones. This is a great feature if you anticipate having younger beneficiaries since you can nominate a Trustee to manage their share until they reach a certain age (i.e. many individuals feel 25 – 30 years old is an age of maturity). Certain Revocable Trusts also provide your beneficiaries with limited asset protection, a feature that is favored by many parents who worry about their child facing a divorce in the near future. You can even provide for beloved pets or make charitable donations. Whatever your goal may be, our attorneys are ready to discuss the various ways in which you can achieve it.
Don’t hesitate when it comes to your greatest asset. Take some time out of your busy schedule, jot down your goals and sit with an experienced estate planning attorney. Most people don’t regret being prepared or proactive. Plan today and rest easy tomorrow.
The Legacy Law Firm, PLLC. ~ Where Your Legacy Lives on