A lot of traditional estate planning advice is meant for families with a very simple structure, with one spouse and a child or children all having the same two parents. However, many Florida families have a blended structure, with divorce, remarriage, adoption, stepchildren and other complexities in the mix. This type of family structure may make estate planning seem overwhelming, but in fact, it may only be a matter of answering a few key questions with the help of a lawyer.
These questions may include:
- What is “fair”? Different people in the family may have different answers to this question, but ultimately, the planner themselves will need to consider what is fair from his or her perspective. It is important to remember that fair is not always equal.
- How will the family be informed of plans? Waiting until one becomes very ill or even arranging for disclosure of estate plans after death can cause a great deal of family turmoil, especially if one or more people are caught off-guard. It is best to be clear with others about wishes and goals, at least in a general sense.
- Would a trust be a better option for a particular family? A trust gives an individual more of an opportunity to clarify his or her wishes, as money can be earmarked for particular things. It can also help keep the probate process to the minimum, which is often a preferred situation for families.
When answering these questions, individuals may turn to loved ones like a spouse or children. They may also consult with a financial advisor. It is also important to share these decisions and discuss options with a Florida estate planning lawyer, as this will allow someone to ensure their plans are legally documented and binding.