How Much Does an Estate Planning Cost in Florida?

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The Dorcey Law Firm

For more information about the author, click to view their website: The Dorecy Law Firm

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Jul 23, 2023

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Florida - Southwest

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Everything has a cost, including peace of mind. So, what is an estate plan, and how much does it cost in Florida? Keep reading to find out!

All Estate Plans Are Different

Before putting a price on their estate plan, it’s important to understand that not all estate plans are created equal. All estates are different, and you may need more or less insurance for the future, depending on the number and value of your assets.

There are also no set fees for estate plans, and in most cases, the final amount is based on your attorney’s rates and additional services you may require. Law firms have different programs and services to offer, so it’s important to research attorneys to find out which firm is right for you.

Thankfully, estate plans are for everyone – not just older people. Young families, single people, and high asset holders may have different needs and require a unique plan tailored to their goals. For example, a young couple with small children may need a plan that includes a guardianship clause, while an older single person may want to establish a trust for their grandchildren.

Estate Planning Basics

The purpose of an estate plan is to preserve your wishes and protect your assets after death. A basic estate plan includes a will, durable power of attorney, a living will, and a designation of health care surrogate. Depending on your unique needs, you may want to include a trust or designate specific beneficiaries to inherit your assets.

Wills

A will is a document detailing how and to whom your assets will be granted, in addition to naming the executor. An executor is a person selected by you who will carry out the will and act on your behalf after death. However, executors are not necessarily the same as a durable power of attorney.

Executor and Power of Attorney

While executors handle affairs after death, the durable power of attorney handles the estate while you are alive. A power of attorney can act on behalf of the person if they cannot make decisions independently. For example, a power of attorney may make deposits or withdrawals from your bank account and make other financial decisions.

Designation of a Health Care Surrogate

Florida also requires the designation of a health care surrogate. Essentially, a health care surrogate is the person you authorize to make medical decisions on your behalf. This individual can step into their role if you are no longer physically able to make crucial decisions on your own.

A health care surrogate may be anyone 18 or older who is willing and able to make medical decisions for you. You must get their consent before designating them as the health care surrogate in your will. In most cases, individuals select their spouse or children as the surrogate, but parents, relatives, siblings, and close friends may also qualify for the position.

Tips for Creating an Estate Plan in Florida

If you are considering an estate plan, there are some important points to keep in mind.

  • Tip #1: Before you get started, ask yourself, “what do I want my legacy to be?” This question can guide the entirety of your plan and provide a clear picture of your goals to your attorney.
  • Tip #2: Select a person you trust as an executor/power of attorney/health care surrogate. It’s crucial that you choose a person capable of making rational and ethical decisions on your behalf. Whether you choose a spouse, child, parent, friend, or social worker (in some cases), never pick a person at random or because you feel obligated to choose them.
  • Tip #3: Provide documentation of all assets. You must provide extensive documentation of your assets to ensure that your plan covers the entirety of your estate. The more detailed the estate plan, the more efficient it will be to execute after death. Additionally, it is more difficult to argue with an estate plan that is watertight and extremely detailed.
  • Tip #4: Ask questions! Estate plans are complex, so it’s important to ask big questions at the start to avoid confusion down the road. Plus, your attorney can make adjustments to your plan if things change.
  • Tip #5: Don’t wait to make a plan. Most people consider estate plans to be targeted towards older adults, but the earlier you make a plan, the more tailored it can become over time. Most estate plans are relatively flexible and can be edited as you grow older, start a family, or relocate. An estate plan that grows with you is a more accurate representation of your wishes.

Never attempt to make an estate plan on your own. Wills, designations, trusts, power of attorney, and health care surrogate selections are legally binding documents that require careful oversight and knowledge of the law. Need an estate plan? Our attorneys can help.

Put Your Legacy in Good Hands

At Dorcey Law Firm, we believe that you shouldn’t have to be afraid of the future. We work with you to create an estate plan that incorporates what matters most and the necessities so your plan can be custom fit to your needs. Our firm also offers an Auto-Pilot Planning Program so you can put your legacy on cruise control. The Auto-Pilot Planning Program is a guiding, planning, and monitoring solution to your estate planning needs.

When you join, you gain access to:

  • Our team
  • Educational opportunities
  • Asset review and tracking
  • Continuous funding
  • Collaboration with financial advisors and insurance professionals
  • Family care meetings
  • Estate planning document updates

Your estate plan should be an accurate representation of your wishes. With our team on your side, you can protect your legacy and provide for your loved ones even after death. Our compassionate legal team provides thorough legal counsel and guidance so you can face the future with confidence.

Ready to put your future in good hands? Schedule a FREE consultation with Dorcey Law Firm today!

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As an estate planning and elder law attorney, I have seen a little bit of everything over the past 20 years. I am a big believer in having loved ones be part of the estate planning process to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous individuals whose objectives are to take advantage of their parents in one way or another. This does not change my opinion that estate planning and elder law are a team sport and that they should always include the financial advisor, the accountant, as well as the family. However, it is imperative that the professionals who are working with the individual stay vigilant and watch for signs of exploitation or abuse. Although it can often be very subtle, professionals usually have the skills and the tools to be able to see through it and bring attention to it. In an extreme case, a professional will contact the Area Agency on Aging and notify the Adult Protective Services division. They have authority under the Adult Protective Services Act to protect individuals in or around our community. However, that is definitely the exception to the rule, and in most cases, it is enough to have the family members leave the room and talk to the client alone to determine whether or not they are being unduly influenced or if they are speaking freely on their own. Most elderly individuals dont always realize what is occurring and therefore are not trying to hide it. They dont realize what is going on, so a trained professional can often ask the right questions to determine if something is not right. In the vast majority of cases, I do think that having family involvement in the elder law process is beneficial to everyone involved.

How Estate Planning Needs Change Throughout Your Life

Welcome to Legal Briefs, every month we will cover a topic of interest to our clients in one of our practice areas. First up Whats the big deal? Does everyone really need estate planning? The short answer is yes. Lets address why at a few key life stages.Young AdultsOnce you turn 18 years of age, you need a will and medical and financial powers of attorney (POA). Why? These documents allow for someone you trust to step in and help when needed. Emergencies and accidents happen. If you get sick or injured, a medical power of attorney can help with HIPAA, ensuring your trusted health care agent makes decisions with doctors and medical staff. Similarly, if you are unable to make financial decisions, a financial power of attorney names someone you trust to act on your behalf. A will names beneficiaries for assets and personal property and establishes your personal representative, who makes decisions regarding your estate if you pass away. At Stone Law we take the time to meet with you and help you ensure these basic estate planning building blocks meet your needs and wishes.Young Families  As you start a family its important to have a will naming guardians for minor children. This allows you to determine who will care for your children, instead of leaving this crucial decision up to a court or judge. As with any stage in life, its still wise to have medical and financial powers of attorney so decision making is easier if you are unable to act for yourself. Your spouse or significant other does not automatically have a right to makedecisions for you. Medical and financial powers of attorney are necessary to make sure the right people have authority to act on your behalf when needed. Stone Laws Young Family Plan is designed to fit easily into the chaos and busyness of your life at this stage.Older Families and AdultsAs you grow older your needs change. Estate planning should be updated every few years. As children grow, a more comprehensive estate plan can help protect your legacy for your adult children. Trusts change the way your assets and estate planning work. They allow flexibility across state lines, protection for blended families, and additional privacy. Depending on laws when your trust is signed, trusts can also plan for tax issues and concerns. Your situation is unique to you, at Stone Law we take the time to meet with you, working together to determine what kinds of planning best meet your needs and circumstances.Does it feel like theres no good time to sit down and discuss who you want in these roles when busy with work, parenting and life? You are not alone. Instead of avoiding a difficult conversation, give Stone Law a call at 877-897-6591 today. Allow us to work with you, whatever stage you are in, ensuring the process fits your busy life. Start your path to peace of mind today.

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The question of how to properly revoke a Will necessitates careful consideration to ensure a seamless process. While the straightforward response is to shred both the original Will and all its copies, its crucial to bear in mind that the revocation should be accompanied by a replacement. Its unwise to assume that an outdated version of the document will remain accessible or that the original copy persists.My recommendation strongly leans toward promptly replacing the old Will with a new one and subsequently disposing of the original. Swiftly implementing the replacement will safeguard against potential complications. If you die without possessing the original Will to present to the Orphans Court, the Pennsylvania Intestate Law will come into play. This law essentially functions as the governments set of regulations dictating the distribution of your estate. While this blog post refrains from delving into the related intricacies, which we have covered extensively previously, it should serve to remind you of the existence of a governmental framework that will become involved, if necessary. In the absence of a valid Will, this framework gains authority, underscoring the necessity of having a well-structured Will in place at the time of your death. Upon confirming the preparation of a new Will to supplant the old one, you can confidently destroy the originals of the outdated document, secure in the knowledge that the new documents provisions will take precedence. We advise refraining from annotating documents with handwritten notes. It is advisable to preserve the new original that you intend to present to the Court in its pristine, unaltered state, mirroring its condition when initially drafted. This practice ensures the documents authenticity and reinforces its legitimacy in legal proceedings.  

Local Services By This Author

Dorcey Law Firm

Elder Law 10181 6 Mile Cypress Parkway Suite C, Fort Myers, Florida, 33966

At Dorcey Law Firm, our experienced legal team have proudly represented numerous clients, focusing on areas like Estate Planning, Business Planning, Asset protection, Elder Law, and Probate. Over the years, our attorneys have efficiently managed and escrowed countless trust accounts. This includes meticulous work in our Probate & Trust Administration as well as our Estate Planning and Elder Law departments.  We understand that each client's needs are unique. Hence, our team is dedicated to tailoring services that not only meet your needs but also ensure that your estate plans are designed, executed, funded, and kept updated. Our in-house Trust Funding Department ensures that every estate plan crafted by our lawyers is fully funded. This commitment ensures our clients wishes are honored without unnecessary delays, excessive costs, or asset depletion.  By partnering with us, you're not just securing your assets; you're laying a foundation that benefits your family for generations. Additionally, our exclusive Auto-Pilot Planning Program (APP) is designed to keep your estate plan up-to-date with ever-evolving laws and life changes, ensuring seamless adjustments when needed.  Whether you've recently settled in Florida or have been a resident for years, or if you're exploring ways to protect your assets now or in the future, Dorcey Law Firm in Fort Myers is committed to helping you craft the perfect estate plan to care for your loved ones.