Estate planning will never win awards at the family dinner for most exciting topic. However preparing for the future is always a prudent decision for yourself and your family. The idea of wills and trusts may sound like some old arcane financial jargon but in reality if you own a home, a car, or other assets, chances are you will want a say in how your belongings and money are passed on once you pass away.
Most people make the mistake of thinking they can wait on planning for their will or trust until well into their 60s or later. In most cases it’s best to start planning for your estate by the time you are in your 30s. You can always make changes as your life and financial situations changes. For folks worrying about care for their loved ones, the elderly, or people with special needs, planning ahead is more important than ever to avoid unnecessary emotional trauma and tax liability.
Plan Ahead for Your Legacy
Whether you are single or married preparing for your estate is a matter of ensuring your life’s work and legacy ends up in the right hands. The business of estate planning can be complicated. Between tax liabilities, the several options involving annuities and trusts, it is wise to hire an attorney in your area who specializes in these matters before making your decisions or attempting to manage the process on your own.
Our estates are our legacy and our gifts to those loved ones we leave behind. The complicated process of estate planning is made much easier when we enlist the wisdom, knowledge and experiences of an attorney to help us with this singularly important task.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, a storm spanning more than 400 miles and large enough to cover the entire state of Florida, residents have been looking towards local politicians for leadership and advice more than ever before. As on-the-ground, concerned fellow citizens who will be riding out the storm with everyone else, local mayors like Barbara Sharief have worked tirelessly both before and after the storm to ensure that everyone weathers the storm as safely as possible.
Preventative measures like setting and enforcing a curfew; and opening up hurricane shelters to the homeless and those without homes able to withstand the predicted wind force, helped to reduce casualties and keep the roads clear. In addition, mayors like Sharief had local Florida Power, and Light (FPL) workers standing by to begin repairs as soon as the storm had passed, negating the possibility of delayed response times becoming an issue. Most importantly, keeping your residents updated on the facts and keeping calm help to assure that residents follow instructions in an orderly fashion.
And then began the real test: surviving after the storm. Broward County is unique in its use of online features to help residents report damage to their properties, which also helps first responders to more rapidly zero in on devastated areas most in need of help. Known as the Home Damage Assessment Program, Broward County residents can report damage to their homes and any current flooding happening in their area. The site has pictures showing four levels of damage: no damage; major damage, habitable; major damage, uninhabitable; and destroyed. Residents are asked to pick the one that most closely resembles what they’ve experienced.
Mayor Barbara Sharief was also quick to rescind the county curfew, something she received a bit of flack over from other Florida mayors. “Our goal right now is recovery and restoration, and that means that we need to get people back to work, get essential personnel back to work, get relief for the people who worked for the five days through the storm and get the businesses back up and running,” she said. “No curfew right now is necessary.”
By rescinding the curfew, Broward County’s FPL workers were able to restore power to over 310,000 residents only 48 hours after Irma’s passing, leaving approximately 500,000 without power. The following Monday that number had been reduced to 13,000 and was shrinking rapidly. By Monday, students were able to return to their classrooms as well.
“We cleared the roads fairly quickly. We cleared all the major highways first and then we cleared all the city roads. So those are cleared rather quickly. The kids are all gone back to school back today. The biggest hurdle we had to get over last week was that the kids had – there was no power to the schools, some of the schools. So we had to wait for the power to be restored in order for the kids to return to school. So they’re back. My kids went off to school this morning so everything’s great there,” said Sharief.
We criticize our political leaders all too frequently, and often deservedly. But Florida politicians like Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief represent the very best of those who are elected to serve the public in the common and greater good.