The coronavirus has put us all on edge in Florida, in this country, and throughout the world. From business closures to state closures to the daily rise in infection numbers and deaths, it's scary out there. Many people are thinking about life generally and mortality specifically. Then, they think of their loved ones and what happens to their loved ones if something happens to them. There is a lot of fear out there, and this fear is causing some people to rush into a will or other tools to create a makeshift estate plan.
At Veliz Katz Law, we are here to tell you that rushing an estate plan in Florida can lead to more problems than you could have ever anticipated. Here, we tell you why rushing into an estate plan out of fear is a bad idea. We also tell you that, despite the national health crisis on our hands, you can still have a smart, probate-proof estate plan created and executed but do so in a measured and calm manner so mistakes aren't made.
What Happens When You Rush Into an Estate Plan Out of Fear in Florida?
When you rush into estate planning out of fear, the first thing to consider is this: you may be vulnerable to undue influence. That's the first mistake because you may listen to someone whose interests are his own only and fail to consider the interests of others you love. That's a bad starting point for any estate plan because it lays the foundation for disputes and challenges among loved ones after your death.
Further, you may make bad decisions generally—whether the bad decisions flow from undue influence or from the fear itself, it doesn't matter because bad decisions lead to poor planning, like:
- not identifying all your assets and leaving things out;
- not allocating property and assets in the right percentages according to your preferences
- not protecting your homestead properly so that you protect it from creditors, save on taxes, and distribute it accurately upon your death
- not using the right tools for your estate plan, e.g., a trust can be more advantageous in some respects than a will, it all depends on your assets, heirs, and goals.
Then, after you create a rushed estate plan, even if it is a simple last will and testament, the fear you felt may recede once things settle now. But by that time, you forget about your estate plan or plan to review it again one day but that day never comes. If it is poorly drafted, then it won't do what you want it to do, like save you on taxes or help loved ones avoid the costs (in time and money) of probate.
How to Remain Calm & Still Plan an Estate in the Middle of a National Crisis
We are in the middle of a nation-wide health crisis, but you can take a minute, especially if you are not sick, to consider an estate plan. To do so, you need to have a clear head. It is times like these, yes, that remind us we can become incapacitated and are not immortal.
An estate plan is not simply a last will and testament but includes things like a living will, where you can identify things like withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures when you have a terminal or end-stage condition or are in a persistent vegetative state. An estate plan allows you to appoint health care surrogates and powers-of-attorney, too, as well as wills and trusts to secure a future for your loved ones or, in the least, prevent them the hassle of probate.
If life events have made you uncannily aware of your own mortality and anxious to ensure you leave what's yours to your loved ones, contact us. We can ease your fears and help you make informed decisions for your future and the future of your heirs.