Estate Planning

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ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning attorneys in Florida understand that Estate planning and Wills need to be tailored to the objectives of the client and can vary from relatively simple to complex. Thus, prospective clients should retain estate attorneys to achieve personal, family and tax objectives. For many individuals, a simple Will is all that is necessary to effectively distribute assets. For others, one or more trusts, such as a testamentary trust provision in your Will, may accomplish your goals. Alternatively, a Will may leave assets to an inter vivos trust (created in your lifetime), in which case it is called a pour over Will. Regardless of the complexity, the purpose of estate planning and wills is to ensure that the testator’s estate plan and goals are achieved by efficiently disposing of the assets of the estate. A Florida estate planning attorney can help you navigate the estate planning process.

Estate planning documents such as a Last Will and advanced directives such as a Power of Attorney and Health Care Surrogate are needed to avoid uncertainty and litigation, i.e., a Guardianship. Further, Living Trust, a Living Will and a Power of Attorney, may also be appropriate Estate Planning Documents.

Our firm reviews numerous significant issues with individuals and families regarding their Estate Plan. First and foremost is obtaining information regarding family members (i.e., a family tree) and kinship. While at first glance, this may sound simple, but relatives may become estranged or forgotten over time. Also, family history documentation such as birth, marriage and death records, are not always accurately maintained outside the United States. Next, we review the suspected assets in order to understand whether there are any gift or estate tax implications. Assets of an estate may include include bank statements, stocks, cars, boats, real estate and other items of value. Not all assets are owned individually, though. Therefore, it is important to determine whether property is held individually or jointly with rights of survivorship, and therefore, not be controlled by a Last Will. Certain other assets, such as payable on death accounts, life insurances and retirement accounts may pass directly to named beneficiaries outside of a will. Typically, only probatable assets in a person’s name alone are controlled by a Last Will. Discussing beneficiaries and having Personal Representatives, sometimes called Executors, and Trustees is also paramount. The primary goal of preparing a Last Will and a proper estate plan is to avoid disputes and confusion regarding the settling of one’s affairs. In the event a person dies without a Will, i.e., intestate, Florida state laws provide a rubric for inherits an estate. The proper preparation of estate planning documents aims to avoid inefficiencies and the possibility of unintended beneficiaries benefiting from an estate.

As an estate planning lawyer in St. Petersburg, Florida, our firm has decades of experience working with and advising clients in the creation and implementation of estate plans that effectively express the intentions of our clients regarding the disposition and protection of assets while providing potential tax advantages and security for family and beneficiaries. Further, our firm is experienced in litigating complex cases where other parties attempt to take advantage of our clients and deprive them of their lawful right to a portion of an estate.

Florida estate planning lawyers, Matthew Weidner and Jason Kral, have represented and helped clients in Estate Planning for decades. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance regarding a Tampa, St. Petersburg, or other Florida Estate matter or have any questions regarding such proceedings, please contact me at 727-954-8752 or fill out my contact form or e-mail me at info@floridaattorneyprobate.com.

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