Protect Your Loved Ones With Comprehensive Estate Planning
We are estate planning experts, and we specialize in helping clients in all life situations who need the guidance of a thorough, knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Through our holistic, complete approach to estate planning, we work with you, your financial planner, CPA, insurance agent and any other advisors you have to provide legal protection and peace of mind through a unified estate plan with coordinated asset protection planning and insurance planning.
Why Should I Plan?
Estate planning can help you accomplish several crucially important goals depending on your life situation. Those goals typically include:
Prevent your family from going through probate proceedings.
Probate court is a division of Civil Circuit Court and can be an expensive process that lasts a year or more. Legal fees alone for Probate in Florida can cost up to 3.5% of the estate value - these fees are specifically allowed by Florida Statute.
Safeguard your loved ones from creditors, ex-spouses, bankruptcy, lawsuits, and other bad luck.
Special trust provisions can be drafted that protect beneficiaries' inheritances from undesirable life situations which could jeopardize assets you leave behind for them.
Control what will happen when you are disabled, and who can make decisions for you.
Physical or mental incapacity can strike unexpectedly and at any time. Have you laid out who will handle your life choices and important medical decisions if you cannot? Several specific documents we draft as a part of every estate plan allow you to make those important selections in advance.
Protect your beneficiaries from themselves with timed distributions.
Do you have minor children? Or perhaps a grown son or daughter who may need some guidance with money management? Planning helps you control your estate even after you are gone and can stop beneficiaries who are too young or irresponsible from receiving large sums of cash or other liquid assets. For instance, if you pass away and leave behind a 16-year-old and no surviving spouse, do you want that child to receive the balance of a $1 million life insurance policy outright when he/she turns 18? Without trust planning, that is a likely possibility for many families.
Avoid probates in other states for those with out-of-state assets and properties.
For example, owning a home in Florida and a cabin in North Carolina can mean a probate in both states. Two probates means two sets of lawyers, and two separate court proceedings. This can be burdensome on beneficiaries and costly to the estate.
Avoid breaks in control of your assets in the case of incapacity, incompetency, or death.
Proper planning can keep your assets from falling under the control of public, court-ordered guardianships.
When Should I Plan?
Despite the above estate planning benefits, many people have not taken the time to put a plan in place. The time to plan is now.
As most will agree, life is a busy and unpredictable thing, but this very realization should make planning far more important.
Without proper estate planning in place, you are walking on a tight rope with no safety net in sight. The beauty of a well-drafted estate plan is that it draws that important net into place, and allows the plan creator to adjust the location and parameters of the net over time.
In Florida, all of the property you own is considered your estate. If you are over 18, the State of Florida has an entire estate plan written for you by law whether you like it or not. While intestacy laws will sometimes reflect the desire of someone who dies without a plan, in many cases they are completely inadequate and may cause serious issues for the beneficiaries of that estate.
Additionally, estate plans are not just for after death. A complete estate plan covers all manners of life situations where you might become incapacitated and need someone to take certain actions on your behalf, including simple things like paying bills, managing property, or more involved roles like making important medical decisions or running a business.
There are four primary objectives in estate planning, all of which we work with clients to address in their estate plans: Proper Distribution, Proper Management, Wealth and Asset Preservation, & Peace of Mind.
Ready to take the next step? Connect with us and start a conversation with an attorney about your estate planning needs.