Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A

Delivering on the Promise of utilizing your estate plan to create, leverage and protect your wealth.

Decisions made during the estate planning process can affect not only you, but your family members and loved ones for years to come. An improperly planned estate can result in significant tax consequences or even frozen assets. That is why it is imperative to identify your objectives and develop a plan that will help you achieve your goals.

Once your objectives are identified, lifetime and post-mortem strategies can be developed and implemented as needed. These strategies help minimize transfer tax burdens at death by taking full advantage under existing tax laws. They also simplify the transferability of assets, determine the need for trusts, and provide for unexpected contingencies.

Lifetime Strategies:
• Leveraged gifting through proper use of discounts
• Trust planning to address non-tax needs, A-B trusts and charitable giving
• Use of irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT) to keep assets out of the estate and provide funds for estate tax liabilities
• General estate tax planning to minimize transfer tax burden

Post-Mortem Strategies:

• The use of qualified disclaimers
• Asset division and trust funding
• Use and reduction of wealth through powers of appointment
• Wills and Trusts

Another consideration during estate planning is the proper preparation of wills and trusts. In today’s world of complex family relationships, it is prudent to ensure that ownership of assets before and after death is clearly understood. Our estate planners can assist you with this critical, yet sometimes sensitive process. We can help define your estate objectives, implementing those objectives in a tax-efficient manner and assisting in the recommendation and review of estate planning tools and documents designed to carry out your intentions.

Ongoing Plan Maintenance
We can help you value your estate assets; serve as a fiduciary in the administration of estate and trust assets; identify and perfect asset titling, ownership and beneficiary designations; and determine the proper type, amount and ownership of life insurance, annuities and other financial products.

We believe that proper financial and estate planning is a journey that never ends. We meet with our clients on a regular basis to help ensure that their estate plans stay current with the changes in their lives.

Estate Planning Lawyer St. Augustine