You’re proud of the estate you’ve built up. You’re proud of the home you call your own. The treasured belongings you’ve accumulated. The cash assets that you’ve worked so hard for. The investments that you tend to daily, and the business interests that have come to define your professional life. Estate Planning matters so much to you and your legacy. Your possessions should be dealt with appropriately after you’ve passed on. But how can you do this, when you’re no longer here to distribute your assets among your nearest and dearest?
We can help you with all aspects of Estate Planning.
Estate Planning is the process of creating legally enforceable documents that determine how your assets will be distributed upon the event of your death. This includes who inherits, which assets and how they are distributed. It also determines who controls the distribution of assets once you’re gone and encompasses tax considerations that must be incorporated into these documents, to ensure that your loved ones get the best possible deal, and as little of your estate as possible is subsumed by taxes.
I’ve already made a Will, isn’t that enough?
Making a Will is extremely important to ensure that you do not die intestate — meaning that the state controls what happens to your assets after you die. Nonetheless, there’s more to proper Estate Planning than making a Will. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you’ve lived in the state of Florida your whole life, you’re likely aware that many people from out of state choose to move here in their later years. And it’s not just for the hot weather and the ceviche. Unlike other states, when Floridians die, their estate is very rarely subsumed by the estate. There are also no estate or inheritance taxes in the state of Florida.
Nonetheless, while living in Florida is advantageous in this regard, that doesn’t mean that your estate deserves any less than comprehensive and responsible planning.
That’s where we come in.
As well as helping you to make a Will and nominate an executor for your estate, we can offer a range of other Estate Planning services.
These can help you to avoid disproportionate taxation, and ensure that your assets are dealt with as fairly and equitably as possible in line with your wishes. These services include…
Assigning Power of Attorney
While a Will can help you to distribute your assets after you’ve passed on, Estate Planning also means putting an infrastructure in place to protect your estate when you’re no longer able to do so yourself. Such as if you fall sick, or are diagnosed with a condition like dementia, which will affect your ability to make decisions.
When this happens, you will need to assign Power of Attorney to someone you trust. There are different kinds of Power of Attorney for different circumstances. For instance, if you know that you will be in the hospital for a limited period of time, you may wish to assign a temporary or Ordinary Power of Attorney. However, if you know that you will be unable to make decisions for the remainder of your life in the future (such as a dementia diagnosis), you will need to assign a Lasting Power of Attorney.
We can give you the support and advice you need in choosing someone to look after your estate when you will be unable to do so yourself.
If you fall ill, you may be unable to make decisions in your own best interests. However, due to the nature of patient confidentiality, your doctor may not be able to communicate directly with the person you have chosen to look after your best interests.
An advance directive is a legal document that specifies the kind of medical and personal care you would want if you should become unable to make your own decisions or communicate them to medical professionals.
Anyone over the age of 18 can be chosen to execute an advance directive, and this document is binding in the state of Florida.
Your advance directive allows you to specify:
- Who can make and communicate decisions on your behalf.
- Any circumstances under which you would not like your life to be prolonged.
- Any other wishes pertaining to your medical wellbeing that you are unable to communicate or decide yourself.
It also ensures that doctors can communicate directly with the person you have chosen.
Finding the right trust for your needs
There are many different kinds of trusts, and each serves a slightly different legal purpose. Some are designed to keep assets out of the hands of creditors, while others are intended to avoid probate court and incur tax advantages.
However, legal guidance is often needed to ensure that the right trust is selected for the client’s needs and to ensure that it achieves its intended purpose in terms of Estate Planning. We can advise on choosing the right trust to suit your specific needs, goals, and circumstances.
Validating Holographic Wills in your estate plan
If you have recently moved to Florida from out of state, you may already have a Will in place. However, if this is a Holographic Will, it may not be valid in the state of Florida.
A Holographic Will is completely handwritten and signed by the testator, but unless it has been signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses (both of whom must be in the presence of the testator and each other when signing), it is not legal in Florida. Even if it is valid elsewhere. We can make the arrangements to ensure that a Holographic Will is legally valid.
Why you can trust the Orlando Law Group
We understand that the matter of Estate Planning is a delicate and somber subject. Nonetheless, you can trust in our years of experience, our diverse legal expertise, and our steadfast dedication to our clients and our community.
For over a decade, we’ve helped Floridians of all kinds including individuals, businesses, and associations manage a wide range of legal affairs.
Want to know more about how our team can service your legal needs? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.