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Wills are useful planning tools but also have downsides

Wanting to create an estate plan is a wonderful desire to have. Creating important documents that get your affairs in order can bring about peace of mind for you and sense of relief for your surviving family when the time comes to settle your estate. Of course, it is important that you consider the various planning options available to you.

You may be like many other Florida residents who believe that having a will allows you to cover the necessary parts of your estate's affairs. However, estate planning goes far beyond simply distributing assets. Therefore, you may want to consider some of the downsides of a will before relying on that document alone.

Incapacitation

As noted, your estate plan can cover more than just the distribution of your remaining assets. You can use this plan to prepare for the possibility of disability and incapacitation later on in life. However, you cannot make these preparations in a will. This document only comes into play after your death; therefore, any stipulations for care made in this document would be moot. Fortunately, you can use other planning documents to detail your wishes for care.

Privacy

If you consider yourself a private person and would like your affairs to remain as private as possible after your death, you may want to rethink using only a will to plan your final affairs. A will becomes part of the public record, which means that almost anyone could request a copy and review the information included in it. If you would like more privacy and to keep your information out of the public record, using a planning tool like a trust may work more in your favor.

Asset protection

A will also does not provide for the protection of your assets in the event that funds are needed for nursing home care, paying creditors or other financial situations. If you place your assets in a trust, the property becomes owned by the trust and removed from your estate. As a result, creditors cannot pursue those assets, and they remain better protected from other claims as well.

Creating the right plan for you

Though a will does have some downsides, it does not necessarily mean you should forgo this document entirely. You can use this tool along with other planning options to ensure that you create the most comprehensive estate plan for your situation.

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