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Steven A. Mason Steven A. Mason
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Hollywood Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is the process of determining what will happen to your assets after you pass. Although many people believe that only wealthy individuals, elderly individuals, or individuals in poor health should create estate plans, the truth is that anybody who has assets should have some type of plan for the assets in their event of his or her passing. Even if you only have a few assets, you can create a will that can make it easier for your named executor to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries later. Certain aspects of estate planning can help your loved ones avoid the probate process.

To get started with planning your estate, speak with an experienced Hollywood estate planning attorney. He or she can help you brainstorm some general plans and may touch upon things you did not realize you had to consider. He or she can also write and notarize your will or guide you toward the correct party to handle an element of your estate plan, such as a financial adviser who can establish a trust for you.

Elements of Your Estate Plan

Depending on your assets, you could have a fairly complex estate plan or a relatively straightforward one. The following are elements to consider including in your estate plan:

  • Your last will and testament. Often shortened to simply “your will,” this portion of your estate plan outlines how your assets are to be distributed among your beneficiaries following your death;
  • You might opt to have certain assets held in trusts, fiduciary arrangements created with the purpose of setting assets aside to be disbursed to beneficiaries later, to allow them to pass to your loved ones without going through probate;
  • Advance healthcare directive. This document states your desires regarding your healthcare in the event you are incapacitated. For example, you might include a “do not resuscitate” order in your advance healthcare directive; and
  • Power of attorney. This portion of your estate plan states who has power of attorney, which is the power to make decisions on your behalf, and the areas in which he or she has this right. For example, a loved one might have medical, financial, or personal power of attorney for you.

Topics to Consider When Planning your Estate

Bring up any concerns you have about your estate with your lawyer. A few topics to consider include:

  • Who is best suited to overseeing the probate process? Choose somebody you trust to handle the job as the administrator of your estate;
  • How can I avoid probate? Your lawyer can help you make choices that will help your loved ones avoid probate;
  • Who should I pass my assets to? Many individuals choose loved ones as beneficiaries, but you can choose any individual or group to receive your assets. Some individuals choose nonprofit organizations and their alma maters; and
  • What are my needs while I am still alive? Talk about setting up a living trust, which is a trust you can access during your life and consider setting aside money for long-term care expenses.

Work with an Experienced Hollywood Estate Planning Attorney

If you have assets, you should have an estate plan in place no matter how old you are or your current health status. Work with an experienced estate planning lawyer to create an effective estate plan that does not burden your loved ones with a large tax obligation or the often time consuming, frustrating probate process in the future. Set up your initial consultation with The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. today to get started on planning your estate.

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