Estate planning Florida: what you need to know

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Estate planning in Florida includes creating a will, healthcare documents, trusts, power of attorney, and a pre-need guardian, ensuring your wishes are fulfilled and affairs are managed if you become incapacitated.


  • Estate planning is the process of organizing the management and disposal of a person's assets during their life and after their death, including the preparation of wills, trusts, and other legal documents. 

  • Less than one-third of Americans have all their estate documents in place. 

  • Estate planning in Florida can cost between $800 and $3,500, but this figure can increase if the planning is complex. 

  • A financial advisor can help you manage your estate and ensure your finances are passed onto your beneficiaries most efficiently.  

How much does estate planning cost in Florida? 

The average cost of estate planning in Florida varies based on complexity and the lawyer's fee structure. Depending on the estate plan's complexity, the lawyer's fee structure may comprise flat fees, hourly rates, or contingency fees.  

Basic estate planning in Florida can cost $800-$3,500, while more complex plans range from $3,000-$6,000.  

Compared to nearby states, these costs are fairly typical. 

For example, in Georgia and Alabama, basic estate planning also starts around $1,000. Still, it can go up to $4,000-$5,000 for more intricate plans.  

Hiring a Florida estate planning attorney in Florida can add to these costs but ensure legal accuracy.  

Factors influencing planning costs include the size of the estate, the number of beneficiaries, and specific needs such as trusts or guardianship arrangements. 

How does Florida estate tax work? 

What is estate planning in Florida? Florida estate planning helps manage assets in a deceased person's estate, ensure a smooth transfer to heirs, and potentially reduce federal estate taxes through strategic tools like trusts and gifting strategies.  

There is no Florida estate tax, but federal estate taxes may apply.  

Estate planning in Florida involves valuing property owned outright, jointly held property, and life insurance. Property is assessed at fair market value at the date of death. Jointly held property is typically included in the estate value proportionally. Life insurance proceeds are generally included if the deceased owned the property. 

How does estate planning for blended families work in Florida? 

Estate planning for blended families in Florida requires special considerations to balance the needs of a spouse and children from previous marriages.  

Key strategies include setting up trusts to ensure specific assets go to particular beneficiaries and creating wills that clearly define asset distribution. 

Florida estate planning attorneys often recommend prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to protect individual assets.  

Proper planning helps avoid disputes and ensures everyone is provided for according to the deceased's wishes.  

How does tax planning for single parents work in Florida? 

Estate planning for single parents in Florida focuses on securing their children's future.  

Key steps include naming a guardian for minor children in the will, setting up a trust to manage assets until children reach adulthood, and appointing a trustee. 

Life insurance policies should list the trust or children as beneficiaries to ensure their financial support.  

Florida estate planning also involves creating a robust power of attorney and healthcare instructions to designate who will manage affairs if the parent becomes incapacitated.  

How does tax planning for married couples work in Florida? 

Estate planning for married couples in Florida involves strategies to maximize tax benefits and ensure smooth asset transfer.  

Couples can use tools like joint trusts to streamline the process and avoid probate.  

Taking advantage of the unlimited marital deduction allows a spouse to transfer assets to the other without estate tax. Setting up a bypass trust can help manage estate taxes for larger estates.  

How does probate work in Florida? 

Probate in Florida is the legal procedure of distributing a deceased person's assets. It involves validating the will, paying debts, and distributing remaining assets to heirs. Probate is necessary if the deceased's assets were solely in their name. 

Assets can't legally be transferred without filing probate, which can take 6-12 months or longer if disputes arise.  

Florida estate planning can help avoid probate through tools like living trusts and joint ownership.  

What are the final arrangement & organ donation laws in Florida? 

In Florida, final arrangements and organ donation are governed by specific laws.  

The deceased's wishes (if documented) must be followed for burial and cremation. Without documented wishes, the deceased's next of kin or designated representative decides. Funeral homes must comply with state regulations regarding embalming, cremating, and burial permits. 

Florida's organ donation laws allow individuals to declare their intent via a driver's license or online registry. Organ donation wishes are legally binding and take precedence over family objections. 

Your estate planning checklist 

When estate planning in Florida, it’s best to cover all your bases with the proper legal documentation.  

Here is a checklist of documents to include in your estate planning: 

  • Last will & testament 

A last will and testament is crucial for specifying how your assets are distributed upon death. It must be written and signed by a testator and two witnesses, who must also sign in the testator's presence.  

This document can designate guardians for minor children, name executors to manage the estate, and outline specific bequests. If there is no will, assets are distributed according to Florida's intestacy laws, which may not reflect your wishes. 

  • Healthcare documentation 

Healthcare documentation in Florida includes creating a living will and appointing a healthcare surrogate. A living will defines your preferences for medical treatment should you become incapacitated or unable to communicate.  

This may include directives about life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation, and organ donation. Appointing a healthcare surrogate allows you to name someone to make medical choices for you, ensuring your healthcare preferences are honored. 

  • Trusts 

Trusts are essential tools in Florida estate planning. A revocable trust allows you to control assets and make changes during your lifetime, offering flexibility and probate avoidance.  

Once established, an irrevocable trust cannot be modified and protects assets from creditors and estate taxes. Both trust types can help manage and distribute your assets according to your wishes, providing privacy and potentially reducing estate taxes. 

  • Power of attorney 

Power of attorney (POA) allows you to designate someone to manage your legal and financial affairs if you become incapacitated.  

Your designated agent can execute tasks such as paying bills, managing investments, and making legal decisions. This document must be signed and notarized to be valid.  

  • Pre-need guardian 

Designating a pre-need guardian in Florida involves naming a person to take care of your personal and property affairs if you are unable to do so.  

This is particularly important for individuals with minor children or dependents. The pre-needed guardian designation must be signed and filed with the court. 

Get expert financial advice  

Estate planning in Florida involves creating a last will and testament, healthcare documentation, trusts, power of attorney, and designating a pre-need guardian. These steps ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, your healthcare preferences are honored, and your affairs are managed if you become incapacitated. 

Seek expert financial advice through Unbiased to navigate your estate planning in Florida effectively and ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.