As you begin your 2023 New Year, have you thought about updating your Florida estate plan? In fact, have you made updating your estate plan one of your New Year’s resolutions? If you have, good for you. After spending the holidays with your family did it remind you that keeping yourself and your family safe and prepared for the future is of great importance? Take some time, look for where you stored your original estate plan, dust it off and start the job of updating it. We can provide some suggestions.

As experienced Florida estate planning attorneys we often meet with clients and their loved ones to discuss estate planning and just what is needed to ensure that they are personally protected, as well as their businesses, their family, and the legacy they want to leave behind. We also meet with our clients to update their estate plans to be sure they are current and can meet all the needs of our clients, their families, their businesses and their legacies.

We do have an Estate Planning Checklist that we would like to share with you. You may use it to make sure that your updated estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future.

1. Check if your estate plan is current.  Do you remember the last time you updated your estate plan?  Have there been any births, marriages, divorces, devastating illnesses or deaths of family members, beneficiaries or agents since you completed your estate plan? Not updating these additions or subtractions could significantly impact your estate plan.  Be sure information like addresses, emails and phone numbers are updated as well.  Your Florida estate planning attorney can help with this.

2. Check your health care decision-making documents.  You should never take your health for granted!  This includes your health care decision-making documents. You need to be sure you have the person you want to have legal authority to make health care decisions for you in a crisis set up properly. In addition, you need to have your Florida estate planning attorney assist you in selecting a trusted person to handle your financial decisions, too.

3. Check out your retirement planning. Did you know that a critical part of estate planning is retirement planning? Because it has been a while since you looked at your estate planning documents, does your estate plan follow the goals you have for retirement? Do you need guidance on how to get where you want to go, not just financially, but with an eye on the legacy that you want to create? This is a great question for your Florida estate planning attorney.

4. Check into long-term care planning. Now that you are updating your estate plan you need to begin to think about long-term care planning. What would happen if, in the future, you needed significant long-term care? If you are planning to use Medicare, unfortunately it will not pay for most types of long-term care. So it is essential for you to consider your long-term care needs and how the financial drain on your resources could impact your current estate plan. As you update your estate plan, think about also creating your long-term care plan. When you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney to update your estate plan, you should also discuss how potential long-term care complications could impact how you reach your goals.

5. Check whether your estate could avoid probate. As you work with your Florida estate planning attorney to update your estate plan, you should inquire whether your estate could possibly be crafted in such a way as to help you avoid the Florida probate process. The important topic to discuss is how to protect beneficiaries going forward. When you update your estate plan will it be able to not only leave a legacy but also ensure that future generations will be protected? If not, this is a topic that should be at the top of your estate planning checklist.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Your Florida estate plan is of critical importance to ensure that you are protected now, as well as into the future. Contact our law practice now, or at any time throughout the year, and schedule a meeting to make sure you have the Florida estate planning you need to accomplish your goals.