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Fred B. Share Attorney At Law

The Importance of Estate Planning: A Volusia County Attorney's Perspective

Fri, Jan 19, 2024 at 11:30AM

The Importance of Estate Planning: A Volusia County Attorney's Perspective

Proper estate planning can benefit anyone who wants to have a say in what happens to their assets when they pass away, according to Fred B. Share, an attorney with over 30 years of experience practicing in Volusia County. While many view estate planning as something only the elderly or ultra-wealthy need to do, the reality is that people of all ages and backgrounds can benefit. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the key benefits of estate planning from the perspective of a Volusia County attorney.


One of the biggest benefits is being able to decide who inherits your assets and possessions. Without a proper will or trust established, the state intestacy laws will determine who gets what - and those distributions may not align with your wishes. For example, in Florida, if you are married but have no children, your surviving spouse would receive your entire estate under intestacy law. However, you may prefer to leave some assets to other relatives or friends. With estate planning, you can designate your chosen beneficiaries.


Estate planning also allows you to avoid probate, which is the court-supervised process for distributing assets after someone dies. Probate can be extremely time-consuming and costly. With the proper estate planning vehicles, such as living trusts, most assets can bypass probate and transfer immediately to beneficiaries upon your death. This spares your loved ones the hassle and expenses of the probate process.


In addition, estate planning provides you with more control and protection for your assets if you become incapacitated. Tools like durable powers of attorney for finances allow you to designate someone you trust to manage your assets if you become unable to do so yourself. Without such documents in place, your family may have to go to court to obtain guardianship over you and your property.


Parents, in particular, benefit greatly from estate planning. Proper documents can designate guardians for minor children in case of your untimely death. You can also set up trusts to provide for your children's financial needs and prevent wasting their inheritance. Share has seen far too many instances where young beneficiaries received substantial assets outright and squandered them due to lack of maturity and money management skills. With thoughtful planning, that unfortunate result can be avoided.


Estate planning also allows you to minimize taxes owed by your estate. Florida has no state estate tax, but federal estate taxes still come into play for larger estates. You can also gift assets during your lifetime to reduce your taxable estate. Without planning, taxes can take a huge bite out of the assets you intended for your loved ones.


The peace of mind that comes with having your estate in order is significant as well. No one likes thinking about their own mortality, but none of us knows when our time on this earth will end. Making legal preparations while you're still able provides comfort that your wishes will be carried out and your family will be provided for when you're gone. It's one of the kindest things you can do for those you love.


Share has prepared hundreds of wills, trusts, and other estate plans over his many years practicing in Volusia County. In doing so, he has seen firsthand the protecting, providing, and peace of mind that proper planning can give clients and their families. If you live in Volusia County and have been putting off estate planning, you are encouraged to schedule a consultation today. It's one of the wisest investments you can make for yourself and your loved ones.

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