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Florida Estate Planning Guide for Young Adults

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    Florida Estate Planning Guide for Young Adults

    Florida Estate Planning Guide for Young Adults

    • St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney has over six decades of experience helping people secure their legacy. We have a proven track record of success for our clients. Our law firm has been around for a long time because we get great results and don’t take advantage of people. 
    • Our lawyers have achieved a 10.0 AVVO rating, the highest possible score, signifies our attorneys’ substantial experience and successful track record. This rating considers various factors, including years of practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements, and peer endorsements. Attorneys with a history of winning complex, high-stakes cases are more likely to achieve this rating, which serves as a benchmark of excellence and reliability in the legal profession.
    • 2024 Super Lawyers (allowed to publicly announce after June 24) – Many of our  lawyers have been selected to be on the Florida Super Lawyers 2024 list. Super Lawyers is an exclusive list that honors less than 5 percent of attorneys in the entire state of Florida. Super Lawyers is a research-driven and peer-conducted rating system that is part of Thomson Reuters. Only the most outstanding lawyers with substantial professional achievement are chosen by their peers to represent Super Lawyers. With their patented multiphase selection process, this honor reinforces our lawyers’ high standings both with the clients we work with and the legal community as a whole.
    • Our firm has been recognized as ‘Best Law Firm’ and ‘Best Estate Law’ by the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award. Our firm has been the recipient of the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award consecutively over the last five years. This award is a community voting based contest that chooses the best businesses, companies and services in Tampa Bay. Every year, the Tampa community members cast over 135,000 votes to choose the top businesses in the area. We are honored to have our efforts in Criminal Defense law be recognized by the people of Tampa Bay.

     

    St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney stands out due to our commitment to client success and our extensive expertise in estate planning law. Our attorneys have consistently secured favorable outcomes for clients, earning reputations for diligence, compassion, and legal acumen. Simply put, they are the toughest around, but also fair.  Our firm is dedicated to providing personalized service, ensuring that each client receives the attention and support they deserve throughout their legal journey. You can count on our Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to have your back.

    As a young adult, you’re now independent both in your life and legally. One of those legal areas is estate planning. We know this is an overwhelming topic so we’ll break it down for you in simple terms.

    This guide to estate planning for young adults is also suitable for parents of young adults looking to help their kids take the right steps.

    What is Estate Planning?

    • Estate planning is the process of making plans for what should happen to you if you die or if you can no longer make decisions on your own (such as if you have a serious accident).
    • By making an estate plan, you will have legally binding documents in place to determine what happens to your money and assets and your health care decisions.
    • It can also be used to protect your assets from creditors.
    • You can also put instructions in place that should be followed.
    • It is an ongoing process but should be started as soon as possible.

    Why Do I Need to Think of Estate Planning as a Young Adult?

    It’s a fair question to wonder, “Why on earth do I need to plan for my death when I’m 18?”

    Well, firstly, estate planning is not just about death. It’s also about planning for accidents or giving people the authority to handle your affairs if you’re unable to.

    Secondly, we hate to say it but, accidents happen. By having an estate plan you can answer questions such as:

    • What should happen to the things you own and your money after you die?
    • Who should decide what happens to you if you’re incapacitated (such as in a coma)?
    • What should happen to your pets if you die or are seriously injured?
    • Are your assets protected from creditors?

    Alright, enough of the worrying. Let’s look at what you can now achieve through estate planning as an adult!

    Wills

    • A ‘Last Will and Testament’ (usually referred to as just a ‘will’), is a legally binding document.
    • It details what you want to happen to your assets, money and personal items after your death.
    • It can also be used to list instructions for your death, such as how you’d like to be buried or cremated.

    Do I Need a Will?

    Every adult is advised to make a will, regardless of age. Without one, you have no control over what happens to your assets and money after you die. However, it’s even more important that you create a will if you:

    • Are a parent
    • Have a disabled child
    • Are married
    • Have a complicated or high-value estate
    • Own a pet
    • Own multiple assets or properties

    What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

    If someone dies without a will, then their estate will be distributed per the probate court and Florida intestate succession laws, which may be contrary to your wishes.

    How Do I Create a Will?

    • Wills are complex and you should think twice before you try drafting your own will.
    • Some points to consider for your will:
      • Who you’d like to receive your assets and money if you pass away (you can put % shares).
      • Who you would like to be in charge of the distribution and administration of the will (this person is called the ‘personal representative’).
      • It must be signed in the presence of at least two competent witnesses.
      • It must be signed by the witnesses, each in the presence of the creator and the other witnesses.
      • It must be drafted and signed free and voluntarily, not under the influence of improper persuasion of someone else.
    • You can work with a Florida will attorney if you need assistance.


    Read Related: Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

    Your Digital Accounts

    • If you pass away or become incapacitated, what will happen to your social media accounts or digital currencies?
    • It’s illegal for someone to make unauthorized access to these accounts, per Florida’s 2016 laws.
    • You can state in your will what you’d like to happen, or;
    • Appoint a power of attorney and list the permission in your power of attorney documents.

    Read Related: Digital Estate Planning in Florida: How to Plan for Your Digital Assets

    Health Care Proxy

    Medical considerations are arguably the most important part of a young adult’s estate plan. Death will hopefully be many decades away, but accidents and illness can strike at any moment.

    Now that you’re 18, you are now legally supposed to be medically independent. That means your medical records are kept confidential from your parents. And they no longer have the same power over making medical decisions on your behalf.

    If you don’t like the sound of that, you can appoint a healthcare proxy. This can be your parents, or it can be someone else who you trust deeply.

    • To do this, you will need a ‘Medical Power of Attorney’ document, or ‘advance directive’.
    • These documents should appoint a highly trusted and responsible individual who can make decisions about your health if you’re sick or incapacitated.
    • Including HIPAA provisions with this document authorizes the individual to access medical records and medical information.
    • In these advance directives, you can list your medical preferences such as:
      • End-of-life preferences
      • Life support preferences
      • Medication and treatment directives.
    • Having these in place can reduce the burden placed on loved ones in medical dilemmas.
    • You should think very carefully about these decisions and consider consulting an estate planning lawyer.

    Financial Considerations

    • Now you’re 18, your parents also no longer have automatic access to your bank accounts or credit cards.
    • You can appoint a ‘A durable power of attorney’, who gains the authority to make financial decisions if you can’t anymore.
    • This includes bank accounts, lines of credit, bills and rental agreements.
    • It can be useful for:
      • Severe injuries
      • Mental conditions
      • If you’re traveling out of the country and are unable to access your financial accounts when needed.

    What Other Estate Plan Topics to Consider in The Future?

    As you get older, your family, assets and wealth will change. With it, will come the demands to make more advanced estate planning. Such as:

    • Asset protection
    • Trusts
    • Planning for your children

    Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in Riverview and St. Petersburg

    If you or your child need assistance with estate planning in Florida, then our Florida estate planning lawyers can help.

    We regularly help young adults like you to draft wills, and health care proxy documents and provide overall advice.

    We welcome you to contact our Florida estate planning attorneys today if you have any questions or wish to get started.

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    Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With Award-winning experienced estate planning attorneys, they can help you create an estate plan that protects your rights and wishes.

    Schedule a free assessment today to get started.

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