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4 common misconceptions about estate planning in Florida

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Estate Planning

Many individuals in Volusia County put off or avoid estate planning due to misconceptions about its complexity and necessity. This hesitation can stem from various myths surrounding the process. Understanding the truth behind these myths can help you understand why estate planning is the right thing for all those close to retirement.

Myth: you do not need a will even if you have a trust

It’s a common belief that a trust eliminates the need for a will. However, this is not entirely accurate. While trusts are excellent tools for asset management and can bypass probate, they must be properly funded to be effective. Unforeseen circumstances can occur, such as acquiring new assets that are not transferred into the trust. In such cases, a will acts as a safety net, directing these assets into the trust upon your death with a pour-over provision.

Myth: trusts are only for the wealthy

The idea that trusts are solely for the ultra-rich is another widespread myth. In reality, trusts offer numerous benefits for the average family. They provide privacy by helping your estate avoid probate when you die. They also give you more detailed control over asset distribution, which can be crucial in complex family situations or to protect young beneficiaries from poor financial decisions.

Myth: you do not need a financial power of attorney if you have a trust

Even with a trust in place, designating a financial power of attorney is essential. Certain assets, such as individual retirement accounts, cannot be held in trust. Should you become incapacitated, a financial power of attorney allows someone you trust to manage these assets, avoiding the need a for court-appointed conservatorship.

Myth: the hospital will share information about my spouse/parent/child’s condition, so they do not need a medical power of attorney

Many people assume that being a close family member will automatically grant them access to a loved one’s medical information. However, federal and Florida laws strictly protect patient confidentiality. Without a medical power of attorney, hospitals may legally refuse to disclose medical details to anyone, including immediate family members, once a patient is over 18 years old.

Get the facts

Estate planning is a critical process that ensures your wishes are respected and your loved ones are taken care of in your absence. If you have any concerns or questions about establishing a comprehensive estate plan, consulting an estate planning attorney can provide you with accurate information so you can get started with your own plan.