Adults who don't have children or a spouse might think that they don't need to have an estate plan, but this isn't the case. Instead, they need to think carefully about what is going to happen to their assets when they pass away. They also need to consider how they want their affairs handled if they are incapacitated and can't make decisions on their own.
Having an estate plan can address these issues, but it must be set up carefully so that it accurately represents your wishes. When you don't have things in order, there is a chance that your assets will be considered intestate.
What does intestate mean?
A person who passes away without an estate plan doesn't have a say in where their assets will go. Every state has a specific order of beneficiaries that will go into effect when they die. There isn't any possibility of deviating from this. If there aren't any people alive who meet the designations of the intestate order, the person's assets will remain in the state's hands.
How can you avoid an intestate designation?
Simply having a will means that you won't have to worry about being deemed intestate when you pass away. The estate plan you set up should specify who is going to get what assets. You can do this through trusts if you don't want the assets to have to go through Florida's probate system. Some might be transferred through the will.
What else can you include in the estate plan?
You can also include information about what you want to happen if you are incapacitated. Setting a proxy decision-maker through powers of attorney designations can help with this. You can also get your living will and advance medical directives established. These set stipulations for your medical care when you can't make those decisions yourself.
For the powers of attorney, you actually need to set two designations. One is for your medical care and the other is for your finances. The same person can hold both positions, but you need to clearly outline that fact in your estate plan.
You may have other considerations for your estate plan, such as what will happen with a business you own. Consulting a professional familiar with estate plans in Florida can help you to learn of your options so that you can make informed decisions.