Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyer
Our Attorneys Will Assist You in Creating a Unique Estate Plan Based on Your Family’s Needs
Every family is different, with unique dynamics, needs, and goals for the future, which means boilerplate estate planning documents are hardly ever sufficient to encompass the intricacy and singularity of any given family situation. In the worst scenario, poor estate planning can leave you, your loved ones, and your family’s hard-earned assets vulnerable. At Protect My Assets Law Group, our Boca Raton estate planning lawyers create individually tailored, affordable estate plans to safeguard the property and people our clients’ value most.
If you live in the West Palm Beach area, let us help you define your estate planning objectives and find the vehicles to move toward them, such as:
- Pour-over wills
- Revocable trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Living wills
- Durable powers of attorney
- Health care surrogates
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Insurance trusts
- Annuity trusts
- Lady Bird deeds
- Deed transfers
- Quit claim deeds
- Deed with right of survivorship
The estate planning process is not just about drafting documents; it requires developing a viable plan to achieve specific results.
The most familiar mechanisms of estate planning are wills and trusts. However, while wills and trusts are the documentary building blocks of an estate plan, developing an estate plan involves much more than drafting a will or a trust, or even both. To create a truly successful and consequential estate plan, you must:
- Set and define your goals for your assets, end-of-life care, and your family
- Become familiar with the legal terms, tools, and basic estate tax rules which will describe, formalize, and impact the sum of your assets and beneficiary intent
- Gather the information necessary to make sure your estate plan is carried out as you envision
Only once we understand your concerns and priorities—and you understand the implications of the information you provide to us—do we design, draft and implement a customized estate plan to achieve the results you desire. Should you need support or assistance throughout the process, we can refer you to financial planners, life coaches, and accountants whom we trust and work with on a regular basis to help you reach your estate planning goals.
Estate plans may be created to avoid probate, reduce estate tax, create a legacy for your family, or provide for charitable inheritance—or all the above.
In addition to handling financial concerns, estate plans may also consider incapacity and blended families or non-traditional family needs, such as protecting assets from a family member with a history of substance abuse. We will tailor your estate plan to your family’s unique dynamic, working to ensure the instructions and documentation that come with your estate plan strengthen trust between your family members. Quite the opposite of creating conflict, your estate plan should clarify and solidify your relationships. If long-term care is a concern, we can direct you to a professional who can provide Long-term Care Insurance and help you plan for Medicaid and other benefits.
Florida Estate Planning FAQs
How can I avoid estate taxes?
Many of our clients with significant assets use irrevocable trusts to avoid estate taxes. While you will no longer own those assets, which will instead belong to the trust, you can still benefit from the trust while you are alive. For example, an irrevocable life insurance trust is a trust you create specifically to purchase a life insurance policy. If you own a life insurance policy, its proceeds are not taxable, but they are considered part of your estate. Having the trust purchase the policy can lower your estate’s value while protecting your family.
What are advance medical directives?
Advance medical directives are legal documents designed to communicate your wishes and preferences for medical treatments and interventions at the end of your life. By creating a written record of your preferences now, you can relieve your family of having to make difficult decisions at an emotional time, and you can be confident that when your time comes, you will be allowed to approach your death with dignity on your own terms. Advance directives are generally of three types: living wills, health care surrogates, and powers of attorney. We can help you evaluate your needs and formalize your end-of-life wishes.
Do all assets need to be probated?
Fortunately, not all assets need to go through the probate process in most cases. Assets that avoid probate include ones owned jointly with rights of survivorship and those held in trust. Insurance benefits may also avoid probate. If a person dies with no assets in his or her sole name, then probate is not necessary, and, even if there is a will, it has no effect on the distribution of the estate.
How long does probate take?
The probate process may take six months to a year or more if litigation is involved. Proper estate planning prior to death will help ensure the probate process is as simple—and short—as possible. Estate planning can also preserve the value of your property, so it can be passed on to the next generation without substantial loss to taxes and administration fees.
Why do certain assets have to be probated?
Certain assets must be probated if the deceased person was the only owner. For example, if you have a safe deposit box at the time of your death, with no co-owner, then the court needs to appoint a personal representative or fiduciary (someone acting on behalf of your estate), to open the safe deposit box. This can only be done through the probate process. Similarly, if you were the only owner of a bank account, a personal representative must be appointed to distribute the funds from that account.
Does a personal representative need an attorney?
We recommend that a fiduciary of a deceased person’s estate, such as a personal representative, executor, or successor trustee, have legal counsel to make sure all proper papers are filed, and to help with issues that may arise.
If you have additional questions about estate planning and administration, please contact Protect My Assets Law Group.
A huge part of creating a successful estate plan is getting to know our clients and understanding their needs and goals. We do this by asking and answering questions. Please feel free to ask us about anything that concerns you—big or small. Our first question for you is: when do you want to come in for your free initial consultation?
Contact our Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyers to set up a free estate planning consultation.
If you’re ready to set up your estate plan, or if you have concerns about an existing estate plan, Protect My Assets Law Group is here to help you in any way you need. Peace of mind is just a phone call away: 561-901-9926.