Whether the estate is modest or measurable, assets must be protected through planning in accordance with State and Federal laws in order to ensure they are there for the benefit of you, your spouse, and your future generations. We are your estate planning attorneys in Hollywood, Florida.
Estate planning is the creation of a legal game plan for an individual, couple or family all for the preservation and distribution of assets in the event of the passing of one or more family members with the least amount of taxation and administrative expense. Florida remains a popular retirement destination for older Baby Boomers and senior citizens. Yet, Estate Planning is important for adults – regardless of age – who have amassed assets of any value, as well as for people with minor children.
Laws can vary from state to state, but the reality remains the same: Every adult with assets should have an estate plan, and that plan should be revisited with an experienced estate planning attorney every few years to ensure that it still meets the client’s preferences, circumstances or changing family needs, as well as change of laws. Moreover, Advance Directives are recommended for adults of any age or net worth to provide protections for life’s uncertainties.
A Living Trust is a legally binding trust document created and in effect while the grantor or owner is still alive. The benefit of a Living Trust over a traditional will is that upon the grantor’s passing, a Living Trust may avoid the expensive process of Probate, which is necessary to implement the decedent’s wishes as outlined in a will. Part of the planning process can help reduce taxes.
A Revocable Living Trust performs much of the same functions as a Will. But where a Will must be acted upon through Probate, a Living Trust enables the creator to pass assets to beneficiaries when and how he or she desires without the need to go through Probate’s expensive and time-consuming court proceedings.
It also can avoid a guardianship proceeding if the creator becomes unable to manage his or her own affairs. Beyond explaining and helping prepare the Revocable Living Trust, the attorney can be engaged by the estate after the individual’s passing to interact with the trustees, financial advisors, stockbrokers, accountants, etc., in helping settle the trust.
Life doesn’t always unfold or end as we plan. In the event an adult is suddenly stricken, debilitated or incapacitated with tragedy, accident or illness, Advance Directives are critical, including a Living Will or “Death with Dignity” form, which can outline and make clear the person’s wishes; a Healthcare Surrogate (defining whom the individual wants to make medical decisions amid his or her incapacitation); and a Durable Powers of Attorney (who has decision-making power to manage the individual’s financial or legal affairs in that same situation, including with banks, investment brokerages, even simple bill-paying).
Guardianship Provisions outlined within a Last Will & Testament can help the individual’s minor, dependent children avoid becoming part of a guardianship dispute in court.
Guardianship Provisions outline whom the parents have selected to care for and raise the children and manage their finances and affairs in the event of the parents’ passing or incapacitation. The court still will make the final determination, yet courts often give great deference and weight to the parents’ stated wishes.
Guardianship Provisions introduce a scary notion: The parents’ untimely passing or incapacitation, and the need to plan for the children’s future. This prospect often keeps people from pursuing the creation of such provisions. Yet it’s the parent’s responsibility to plan for the children in any eventuality. As stated previously, if you don’t, the courts will decide – without knowing your intentions or wishes.
Grand & Grand is a Hollywood, Florida, boutique law firm. Our attorneys practice law by a simple philosophy: Each client relationship is our most important client relationship. We focus on Estate Planning/Wills & Trusts, Asset Protection, Probate and Real Estate, and business law needs for entrepreneurs, executives, retirees, and high net worth individuals.
If you have amassed an estate of any size, from modest to measurable, you must ensure your assets and estates are protected today for yourself, your spouse, and the benefit of future generations.