Make us your home page

Everyone — rich or poor — should have an estate plan

ATLANTA — More than 50 percent of American adults do not have an estate plan in place. The reasons people give for not having a plan range from being single to not being wealthy. Neither is a good reason, says Lisa Brown, an accredited estate planner, certified financial analyst and partner at Brightworth.

"Estate planning is important for everybody who has assets to their name and is a legal adult," she says.

There are three documents every adult should have, she says.

Power of attorney for finances: In the event that you are incapacitated, this document names someone to manage your financial affairs, such as arranging to pay bills.

Power of attorney for health care: Again, if you become incapacitated, this spells out your wishes for medical treatment and names the person or persons who can make medical decisions on your behalf.

A basic will: "Everyone should have a basic will, whether they have $5,000 or $5 million to their name," Brown says. "Without a will, the state … dictates how those assets are passed." Spouses may assume that their assets will go to each other, but they would be divided among the surviving spouse and the children, Brown notes.

When it comes to preparing these documents, you may be tempted to use a software package to do it yourself. If your assets are minimal, that may be fine, Brown says. But those with a reasonable balance sheet to their names should have an attorney draw up the packages, she says. Expect to spend at least $500 for basic documents and $1,000 to $3,000 for more complex situations, such as trusts and out-of-state property, she says.

Everyone — rich or poor — should have an estate plan 07/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  3. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  4. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  5. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force


    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]