Estate Planning

We review your assets and liabilities in detail, then discuss your planning objectives. We next prepare documents that allow for the management and disposition of your assets in the event of incapacity or death. This planning often includes the devise of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes, if necessary. Your estate plan may include documents such as a Revocable Living Trust, Amendment to Trust, Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, Declaration Naming Preneed Guardian, and possibly an Enhanced Life Estate Deed.

“Estate planning is an important and everlasting gift you can give your family.”
– Suze Orman, Personal Finance Expert

Probate Administration

The way in which property passes upon a loved one’s death depends upon how the property was owned. Property can pass automatically to another through a beneficiary designation. That could be in the form of a payable on death (POD), or transfer on death (TOD) beneficiary designation. Such a property is described as “non-probate.” A decedent could also own property or a bank account jointly with the right of survivorship, which means the survivor automatically becomes the owner of the whole property or bank account (also non-probate).

After a loved one passes away, and if they leave individually owned assets, the probate process is necessary to transfer those assets to their beneficiaries. Property of this type is described as “probate property.” The probate of the decedent’s estate allows for the effective management and distribution of assets in accordance with the terms of their Will, or in accordance with Florida law, should they die without a Will. “Probate” refers to the process of filing a Will with the Probate court and administering the estate according to the terms of the Will. A common misconception is that drafting a Will allows you to avoid probate, but this is not the case.

Trust Administration

Trust administration refers to the successor trustee’s management of the trust property after the settlor’s death. The trustee is bound to administer the trust in accordance with the trust document’s terms for the benefit of the beneficiaries. It is recommended that the successor trustee engage an attorney to help guide and protect him or her throughout the administration process.