- Estate Planning – Wills and Trusts
- Family Law
Estate Planning encompasses two broad areas planning for the certainty of death and planning for the possibility of incapacity (mental and/or physical). Estate planning is a process that includes planning in advance for the disposition and transfer of assets at time of death. A good estate plan should fulfill the estate owner’s wishes as well as maintain or enhance the financial security of estate owners and their families.
Planning in anticipation of death may include, but is not limited to:
- Wills – are documents that primarily communicate the desires of the decedent as to how he/she wants their assets to be distributed among the beneficiaries. A will is a document that is used to dispose of a decedent’s property, a person who dies with a valid will is said to be testate. A will can also be used to revoke prior wills and codicils as well as appoint a personal representative. A will must be in writing and it must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses. When a person dies without a will, known as intestate, their assets will be distributed according to priority set out by Florida Law; the decedent’s desires would not be considered.
- Will preparation
- Trusts – are commonly used for transferring family assets, avoiding some aspects of probate and shielding trust assets from creditors. To establish a trust there must be a settlor (also referred to as the grantor or creator) who transfers assets to the trust, a trustee who manages the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries, and the beneficiaries for whom the trust is administered.
- Trust planning
- Trust administration
- Minors & Personal guardian and property custodian
- Personal Representative (Administrator or Executor)
- Reduce taxes on your estate
- Provide for family members with special needs
- Charitable causes
- Provide for smooth succession and continuation for business owners
- Beneficiaries for life insurance, annuities, IRAs, 401K, 403B etc.
- Care of pets
Incapacity planning in general allows specific individuals that you designate to assist with either financial decisions or healthcare decisions, in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
Planning for incapacity may include, but is not limited to:
- Power of attorney
- Living Trust
- Living will and designation of health care surrogate
- Anatomical gift
- Pre-need guardian
Losing a loved one is difficult and the issues that arise after a person’s death can be complicated. Probate is the process of identifying the assets of a decedent (deceased), paying the debts of a decedent, and distributing the assets of a decedent to his or her beneficiaries. Distributing the assets of in a probate proceeding is necessary to pass ownership from the decedent to the beneficiaries.
- Probate administration
- Ancillary probate
Is the area of law that deals with legal issues arising from the family relationship of husband, wife, parent and child.
- Child support
- Child custody
- Support Modification