For some people in Florida, it may be difficult to consider their own mortality or discuss it with family members, for a variety of different reasons. However, planning for serious illness or the eventuality of death can significantly help family members and ensure that a loved one is making decisions, instead of a doctor, for example. In fact, some people consider going through the estate planning process a lifetime gift for surviving family members.

How assets — whether they are financially or sentimentally valuable — will be divided is an important part of this process. Creating a list of all assets, even those with little monetary value, along with whom each will be left is an important step. However, equally important — if not more so — is naming someone to serve as the executor.

The executor of an estate has several responsibilities, including communicating with beneficiaries and collecting financial documents. Those who best serve this role is often a family member with whom the testator has a good relationship. Because of the enormity of the responsibility — that falls during a period of grieving — discussing this role with the person in advance can help ensure that he or she is willing and able to serve in this position.

There are, of course, options that allow people in Florida and across the country to create their own estate planning documents. However, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can ensure that no detail is overlooked and that a plan is tailored to meet individual needs. With such guidance, those creating an estate plan can be confident that their wishes are clearly expressed and less susceptible to a successful challenge.