2024 Why Is Estate Planning Important in Florida?

Jan 07, 2024

Estate planning is important in the state of Florida for several reasons. It can offer individuals and families a way to address the various legal, financial, and personal considerations that emerge after an estate owner passes away. An estate planning attorney can offer a proactive and personalized approach to managing one’s affairs, preserving assets, and ensuring that all personal, healthcare, and financial matters are handled according to individual preference.

What Is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of arranging and managing an individual’s assets during their lifetime and ensuring the orderly distribution of those assets after death. The primary goals of estate planning are as follows:

  • Preserve and Distribute Assets: Determining how assets, such as investments, real estate, and business interests, will be distributed among heirs, beneficiaries, or charitable organizations can be touched on in estate planning.
  • Minimize Taxes: Planning can allow for the implementation of strategies to minimize tax liabilities, including estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes, to preserve more of the estate for heirs.
  • Plan for Incapacity: Estate owners can designate individuals to make financial and healthcare decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacity or disability before these instances occur.
  • Avoid Probate or Simplify the Probate Process: Using tools such as trusts can avoid and/or streamline the probate process and reduce costs, delays, and potential disputes.

Estate planning involves the creation of various legal documents to achieve the above goals. Common components of these plans include wills, trusts, power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and more. Estate planning is a highly personalized process that addresses the specific concerns and desires of the estate owner. The support of an attorney ensures the successful execution of the estate owner’s wishes.

Florida Estate Planning Laws

Individuals seeking to establish a legal plan for their estate often feel overwhelmed when considering the laws and regulations at play. However, a Florida-based estate planning attorney can ensure proper compliance with related laws and regulations. Estate planning laws in Florida encompass a range of legal statutes and regulations that govern how individuals can structure their affairs to manage assets, provide for loved ones, and address various concerns during life and after death.

The following are key aspects related to Florida estate planning laws:

  • Homestead Exemption: Florida holds a robust homestead exemption found in the Florida constitution. This provision offers protection to one’s primary residence from certain creditors and can impact the distribution of assets in an estate.
  • Probate Code: The Florida Probate Code of the Florida Statutes outlines the legal procedures for probate, the court-supervised process for administering the estate of a deceased person.
  • Intestate Succession Laws: When individuals pass away without a valid will, Florida’s intestate succession laws, detailed in the Florida Statutes, will determine how the deceased person’s assets are distributed among heirs.
  • Elective Share: The Florida Statutes have an elective share statute that allows a surviving spouse the opportunity to elect against the provisions of the deceased spouse’s will and claim a specified share of the estate.
  • Durable Power of Attorney Act: Florida has a Durable Power of Attorney Act that shares the requirements and provisions for creating durable powers of attorney, enabling individuals to appoint agents to handle financial matters on their behalf.

It is advisable to work with an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida to ensure compliance with these laws, and more not noted above, to create a plan that aligns with your specific goals and needs. Estate planning is a dynamic field with laws that change over time. Ensuring compliance through the assistance of a legal professional is advantageous to the successful achievement of your estate planning wishes.


Q: Do All Wills in Florida Have to Go Through Probate?

A: In general, probate is a standard legal process in Florida, regardless of whether the deceased person has a will or not. Probate refers to the legal process in which a deceased person’s assets are accounted for and distributed to beneficiaries. This process also addresses all debts and taxes on an estate. There are certain assets that may be exempt from probate, like revocable living trusts and assets with designated beneficiaries, such as retirement and bank accounts.

Q: What Is Better in Florida, a Will or Trust?

A: The choice between a will and a trust in Florida depends on the individual goals and circumstances of an individual. Both estate planning tools serve distinct purposes and hold differences in areas like probate avoidance, privacy, flexibility, and the complexity of the individual’s financial and family situation.

Q: Why Is Estate Planning Important to You?

A: Estate planning is crucial for several reasons, as it allows individuals the opportunity to make important decisions about the management and distribution of their assets, provide for their loved ones, and ensure their wishes are carried out after their passing. Whether you are a beneficiary or are planning for your personal financial estate, understanding the legal details of estate planning is crucial.

Q: What Is the Average Cost of Estate Planning in Florida?

A: The cost of estate planning in Florida can vary widely, as estate planning is a broad category that can include the creation of trusts, wills, power of attorney, healthcare plans, and other related details. Simple and straightforward wills in Florida may range anywhere between a few hundred

dollars and over a thousand dollars, but prices vary depending on the attorney and law firm used.

More complex estate planning can cost several thousands of dollars. A lawyer can offer a cost evaluation during a legal consultation.

Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney

For any estate planning questions or concerns, the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., is available to offer insightful legal care and advice. Contact our offices for a consultation to speak with our Florida estate planning attorney. We can offer a well-rounded assessment of your estate and provide planning suggestions based on your desired outcomes. We look forward to hearing from you, partnering with you, and creating a plan that ensures your wishes for the future are met.

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