Busy Florida residents may put off reviewing and updating their estate plans. However, Forbes explains that you can protect your assets and your family if you take the time to update your estate plan.

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Put life insurance into place

Even after their children are grown, retired couples may need life insurance. If one spouse generates most of a couple’s income through work, a pension or Social Security and predeceases the other spouse, life insurance can provide a financial lifeline for the survivor. Life insurance may also satisfy liquidity needs or provide your heirs with tax-free income.

Review and update your beneficiary designations

Assets like life insurance policies and retirement accounts may pass to your heirs without going through probate when you designate a beneficiary. You often have the flexibility to name successor beneficiaries or allocate accounts between beneficiaries. Experts recommend that you review and update your designations every couple of years. You should also take the time to reconsider beneficiaries after marriage, divorce or the birth of children or grandchildren.

Use trusts to avoid probate

Trusts may help you shelter or manage assets and distribute property to heirs outside of probate. A revocable trust may allow you to use the underlying assets without impacting their income tax treatment. An irrevocable trust may protect assets from creditors and offer tax benefits, but restrictions may apply to property in the trust.

Remember charitable giving

When you build charitable giving into an estate plan, you preserve your assets for use during your lifetime. Your plan may provide for direct gifts to charities. You may also set up a charitable remainder annuity trust that provides income to a surviving spouse with a charity receiving the remainder.

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