A clear plan for the future is one of the most precious gifts you can offer to your loved ones. The estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox helps clients find peace of mind by planning for their future.  

While it may not be possible to predict everything that could happen to you in the future, estate planning can help you make your wishes known, plan solid arrangements, and prevent a number of potentially troubling problems.  

From his office in Bradenton, Florida, Attorney Wilcox provides comprehensive and personalized guidance to clients who want to set up an estate plan. As your skilled estate planning attorney, he will guide you through the estate planning process and ensure that you adhere to the proper laws as you draft your estate planning documents. The Law Offices of David W. Wilcox also serves clients throughout Sarasota County and Matinee County.  

What Is an Estate Plan?  

Estate planning is a complex legal process that involves establishing important documents to ensure that your assets pass as intended, your minor children are taken care of, and your wishes are followed.  

Establishing an estate plan can be both complicated and overwhelming, which is why many people choose to contact an estate planning attorney to help them navigate the process. There are a few things to consider if you are thinking about setting up an estate plan:  

  • You need an estate plan no matter how old (or young), healthy (or unhealthy), or wealthy (or not wealthy) you are. Having a well-crafted estate plan that is customized to your specific goals, wishes, and needs is critical regardless of your age, wealth, marital status, or health.  

  • Estate planning helps you avoid or minimize probate. Another reason people choose to set up an estate plan is to minimize the cost and time of probate or avoid the probate process altogether. Probate is notorious for being a slow and expensive process. In some cases, it takes years to probate an estate. Without a comprehensive estate plan in place, the cost of probate can eat into the amount that was supposed to be distributed to your loved ones. Avoiding probate can also help you maintain privacy because the legal proceeding becomes a public record.  

  • With an estate plan, you can rest assured that your wishes will be honored. Passing away without a will is legally known as “dying intestate.” When this happens, your assets will be distributed and divided among heirs according to your state’s intestate succession laws.  

The estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox can assess your circumstances and help you understand what kind of estate plan you need to achieve your objectives and meet your long-term goals.    

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Important Documents in an Estate Plan  

A comprehensive estate plan usually consists of several documents. Each document in your estate plan serves a specific purpose and should be tailored to your personal circumstances. Some of the most important estate planning documents include: 

  1. Last will and testament. This document, which is commonly referred to as a will, outlines your wishes for the distribution of assets after your passing. Typically, people use a will to name a personal representative (executor) of their estate. You can also provide instructions for guardianship of your minor children in the last will and testament. 

  1. Trust. A trust is a fiduciary agreement between three parties: the trustor, the trustee, and the beneficiary. When setting up a trust, the trustor gives the trustee the right to hold assets for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary).  

  1. Power of attorney. This legal document allows you to give someone you trust (your agent) the power to handle your financial, medical, legal, and other affairs on your behalf in the event of incapacity.  

  1. Advance directive. Your estate plan may also need to include an advance directive, which is usually comprised of two elements: a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. A living will can be used to state your preferences for medical care, while a healthcare power of attorney allows you to choose a person who would make medical decisions on your behalf.  

This is not an exhaustive list of documents that may be included in your estate plan. A comprehensive estate plan needs to contain as many documents as necessary to put your mind at ease.  

How Your Attorney Can Help  

The estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox can assist you with drafting a will, trust, and other documents to get your affairs and estate in order. Attorney Wilcox does not believe in a cookie-cutter approach when helping clients navigate the estate planning process.  

Everyone’s situation is different, so the steps your attorney will take to help you may differ. However, when you hire a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, you can expect them to: 

  • Help you understand your goals and needs 

  • Analyze your personal and financial situations to know what plan is best for you 

  • Explain your estate planning options and find the right solutions for your unique situation 

  • Draft enforceable documents that help you achieve your planning goals 

  • Ensure that your wishes are honored after your passing 

  • Explain your options for avoiding or minimizing probate 

  • Create a plan that enables you to eliminate or reduce taxes 

If you need assistance with estate planning, the compassionate and detail-oriented attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox can help.  

Estate Planning Attorney Serving Bradenton, Florida

Estate planning can provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind. However, if you want to achieve your personal goals, you may need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of David W. Wilcox. Their estate planning attorney in Bradenton, Florida, is dedicated to providing clients with the appropriate plan for their unique needs and circumstances. Reach out to Attorney Wilcox today to schedule a one-on-one consultation.