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Additional estate planning tools for Floridians to consider

Many Florida residents recognize the importance of careful estate planning. For example, they may be familiar with many of the documents that are a part of the process, including a will, a living trust and a durable power of attorney. However, there are additional estate planning tools that can be an important resource when developing a comprehensive estate plan.

An important estate planning tool to investigate is a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act document. A HIPAA release is a document that lets the doctors and other medical professionals who are taking care of you discuss your medical needs and situations with your representative. The HIPAA document can be important because of the privacy requirements enacted by the federal government. Under these regulations, doctors are not supposed to discuss a patient's condition with anyone other than the patient. Having a HIPAA document allows them to talk freely with someone chosen by the patient.

Another important estate planning tool for business owners is a business succession plan. The business succession plan allows you to designate another person to take over and run your company. If you have children and some of them work in your business and some don't, the business succession plan lets you transfer the company to the children who want to continue the business while providing compensation for those children who don't want to be a part of it.

Although it may seem unlikely, a prenuptial agreement can also play an important role in estate planning. This document can be especially important if you have been married several times during your life. The agreement can help ensure that personal family assets are not allocated to a spouse who shouldn't receive them.

These documents, along with other tools such as a will and a living trust can help create a solid estate plan. Any Florida resident who is interested in developing an estate plan may want to seek the advice of a legal professional with experience in estate planning in order explore their options.

Source: Bankrate, "9 key estate planning tools", G.M. Fillisko, Accessed Aug. 4, 2015

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