South Florida Estate Planning Attorney.
South Florida Estate Planning Attorney.
What is a Revocable Trust?
A Revocable Trust is a document created by you to manage your assets during your lifetime and then to distribute those assets remaining in the Revocable Trust after your death.
What are the advantages of a Trust?
A Revocable Trust avoids the Probate process when you pass away, which saves you time and money. Additionally, a Trust can be kept confidential, which lets families maintain privacy. Also, a Trust can provide asset protection from a Beneficiary's creditors and may help eliminate federal estate taxes.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process by which you anticipate and arrange the transfer of your assets to Beneficiaries in case of your death. Estate Planning usually tries to avoid Probate, help maximize the value of your estate, and reduce your taxes and other expenses.
What happens if I die without an Estate Plan?
In Florida, statutes direct how your property is to be distributed. You have lost the right to control distribution of your assets after death.
What documents are included in an Estate Plan?
In Florida, a traditional Estate Plan will include a Last Will and Testament, along with a Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, and a Revocable Living Trust.
What is a guardianship?
A Guardian is a replacement decision maker appointed by a Court to make either personal and/or money decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. Florida law requires the Court to appoint a guardian for minors when the parents die or become incapacitated, or if a child gets an inheritance or money from a lawsuit or insurance policy greater than the limit allowed by Florida statute.
What happens if you die without an estate plan?
Florida law will dictate the distribution of your property if you die without an estate plan. The person who fails to make an estate plan gives up their right to decide how their assets will be divided and who will inherit them. A Personal Representative will be appointed by the Court and your estate will have to go through the Probate process.
Do I need to hire an attorney when creating an estate plan?
Maybe not. If the documents themselves are very simple, such as a Living Will, then you may not need to hire an attorney. Beyond the absolute basics of Estate Planning, however, it is wise to work with an attorney so that you can avoid the kinds of mistakes and omissions that non-attorney created Estate Plans often have. Additionally, because estate planning law is often changing, you will want an attorney to keep up with those changes and tweak your documents so that they are reflective of your wishes.
Beneficiary – The person or thing that benefits from a Trust;
Charitable Remainder Trust – Created to reduce the taxable income of a person by first distributing income to Beneficiaries of the Trust for a defined length of time, then giving the remainder of the Trust Property to the selected charity;
Domestic Asset Protection Trust – An irrevocable Trust that permits a client to put assets in a Trust that protects those assets from the claims of creditors;
Executor/Personal Representative – A person designated by a Will or by a Court to control distribution of assets from an estate;
Foreign Asset Protection Trust – A Trust created in a foreign country which has more favorable asset protection laws than those in the United States;
Grantor/Settlor – Name for person who creates a Trust;
Guardianship/Conservatorship – Legal measures taken by a Court where an individual cannot make their own decisions regarding their best interests; A court may determine that an individual lacks mental capacity due to individual being a minor child or adult suffering from physical/mental illness; A Guardian or Conservator is appointed by the court to make decisions for the incapacitated person;
Intestate/Intestacy – Describes when a person dies without having made a Will; If a person has assets or property that has not been distributed prior to their death, and that person has not made a Will, then that property will be distributed by the laws of the state of Florida;
Marital Deduction – Allows a married person lease property to a surviving spouse free of estate tax;
Medicaid Asset Protection Trust – An Irrevocable Trust created and funded so that assets distributed to the Trust are protected from counting as resources for qualification for Medicaid;
Probate – The Court process where a deceased property is transferred to surviving Beneficiaries; Depending upon the size of the estate, these Court proceedings can be time consuming and expensive; One of the best things creating a Trust can do is that it can allow you to avoid the Probate process altogether;
Revocable Living Trust – Personal Property is titled and placed into the Trust; Because the Trust owns the property, Probate is not needed to transfer the Trust property to the Beneficiaries;
Testate – A situation where someone dies with a Will;
Trust – A formal agreement where a Trustee manages Trust property for the Beneficiaries;
Trustee – The administrator of the Trust who must make sure the terms of the Trust are followed so that the interests of Beneficiaries are protected;