Our Estate Planning practice focuses on Life Planning techniques to help our clients prepare for each aspect of their lives. Estate planning is continuous. It changes as your life and needs change. At FL Trusts & Estates Law Firm, we listen, educate, counsel and work with each client to develop a plan that meets their specific goals in life; whether it's planning for their family, incapacity planning, preparing for retirement, to minimize taxes, create or continue a legacy, or ultimately pass on their assets to the next generation. Our life planning techniques incorporate basic estate planning tools such as Last Wills & Testaments, Trusts, Health Care Directives, and Agency Agreements such as Powers of Attorneys.
In addition, we counsel our clients on advance estate planning techniques using tools such as Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT), Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, and Family Limited Partnerships to help minimize estate taxes, protect and preserve assets and ultimately transfer the assets to their loved ones.
We provide estate planning services to both traditional and non-traditional families.
One of the most basic instruments in estate planning is a Last Will and Testament. A Will provides for the disposition of one's property after death, it nominates a personal representative and provides instructions for the personal representative for estate administration. Each estate plan is unique. Therefore, a will can be simple or it can be complex. However, a will may not be the most effective way to dispose of your assets. If you have minor children, loved ones with special needs or your estate may be subject to estate taxes, you may need more advance estate planning that incorporates other estate planning tools such as trusts agreements.
A Power of Attorney is a legal agency agreement in which you (the principal) appoint a third party (an Agent) to act on your behalf. The Principal may convey broad, narrow, limited or specific powers to the Agent. In Florida, a durable power of attorney will allow your agent to continue acting on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. If drafted properly, a durable power of attorney can help to avoid formal legal guardianship proceedings, allow your agent to transact business and transfer property on your behalf, prepare advance estate planning documents, such as a trust, and other transactions such as manage your financial affairs, your digital assets and file claims on your behalf. It is advisable to update your power of attorney periodically because banks and financial institutions may hesitate to honor documents that have not been updated.
A Trust Agreement is an instrument created by an individual (the Settlor or Grantor) with specific directions to another, (the Trustee) regarding the management and distribution of assets during life and after death, to a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trust Agreements are used for different purposes. The Revocable Living Trust is one of the most popular trusts used in estate planning. It can be used to manage assets during incapacity, hold and manage funds for minor children, heirs or individuals with special needs, protect inheritance, convey gifts, or reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Many clients use a trust agreement to avoid probate administration. Whether your estate requires probate administration depends on each person’s circumstances, assets, debt obligation, and family dynamics. Trust agreements are also used for more advance estate planning such as irrevocable trusts for asset protection and minimizing federal estate taxes, or a special needs trust for individuals with special needs and for Medicaid planning.
Health Care Directives are documents that specify the type of medical care you would want in the event you are unable to communicate your wishes, and appoints an agent to act on your behalf. These Directives includes: Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Wills, and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders.