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Simple steps to smooth Florida estate administration

Followers of this blog may have picked up from recent discussions the importance of choosing wisely when it comes to the appointment of trustees and estate executors. The choice of who will perform critical tasks ranks as one of the more difficult decisions when it comes to estate planning, but some simpler considerations can play an equally important role when it comes to West Palm Beach estate administration.

For example, most financial professionals advise taking the time to make a comprehensive list of assets before scheduling an appointment with an estate planner. For very simple estates, a do-it-yourself will might be adequate, but most people will benefit from professional advice and assistance. Preparing ahead of time can make the most efficient use of professional services.

While preparing a list of assets, make note of how assets are titled. Assets titled in joint tenancy typically pass automatically to a spouse and will not be affected by the terms of a will. Conversely, joint assets titled as tenancy in common will not automatically pass to a spouse. Those assets, as well as individually titled assets, need to be specifically addressed in a will or other estate instruments in order to avoid being subject to administration under the laws of intestacy.

Another point of information to note in a list of assets is the designation of beneficiaries to investment accounts, transfer on death accounts and insurance policies. Those assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries regardless of the terms set forth in a will.

Proper estate planning may be among the most important tasks a person can undertake in life. A modicum of advance preparation can make the most of time spent with an estate planning professional, help avoid the time and expense of probate and help alleviate some of the stress that loved ones must face during a difficult time.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, Important Things to Consider When Preparing Your Will," Daniel Bortz, Sept. 26, 2012

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