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As we age, concerns that did not feel important in our younger years often come into focus. Addressing financial matters is one of the issues that can cause elder residents of St. Petersburg to worry regardless of their estate size. While estate planning does come with a few complex issues, it is not as difficult as you may think to address your estate and make your end-of-life arrangements.

One of the first steps in estate planning is finding a lawyer who can understand your situation and make recommendations tailored to your needs. This can help you avoid a “cookie cutter” plan that does not take your unique circumstances into account. Most seniors benefit from a personalized approach to estate planning. This is so because it gives seniors an opportunity to address financial and health care concerns with a caring legal representative.

Good estate planning for older Florida residents begins with a last will and testament, but there are many other elements seniors can also include. The following list contains a few basic examples.

Living Wills and Health care directives: These estate planning documents provides doctors and family members with information about your wishes if you become too sick or injured to speak for yourself. They can also name a designated Health Care Surrogate to discuss your care with your doctors and other medical care providers and allows them to make medical decisions for you should you be incapacitated or unable to act on your own behalf. The Living Will can express your desires to withhold artificial life prolonging measures if you have terminal, end stage-stage condition or are in a persistent vegetative state when there is no reasonable medical probability of your recovery from such condition.

Durable Power of Attorney: This document gives your chosen representative broad powers to act and to make financial decisions on your behalf and can be used when you are incapacitated or if you are otherwise unable to do so.

Wills: This document provides for the orderly administration of your estate, can name a Personal Representative or Executor to be in charge your estate to carry out your wishes and designates who is to receive your property upon your demise.

Trusts: Like a Will a Trust can provide for distribution your property upon your demise and can be used for a variety of purposes in planning your estate, such as tax planning, protecting an inheritance or delaying an outright distribution of assets on your death to a beneficiary while still providing for their care. If you have a minor dependent or one with special needs or a beloved pet, a trust can help you continue providing for their needs if you should die or become incapacitated.

Our attorneys understand that these topics are not always easy to discuss. However, we know how valuable they are in protecting not just your finances but also the legacy you want to leave your loved ones. We invite you to continue browsing our website to learn more about estate planning.