Planning your estate after you pass away or become incapacitated in a way that protects your legacy for future generations is the best gift you can give your family. Our Florida estate planning attorneys know that the best way to help our clients is to understand their estate planning needs and help them build that plan. If you’re interested in learning more about our estate planning and elder law services, including our unique Family Estate and Legacy Program, please book your free 15-minute phone call with us today!
START PLANNING YOUR LEGACY TODAY WITH OUR JACKSONVILLE ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEYS!
Let our estate planning law firm help you achieve peace of mind from asset protection planning to ensure your legacy and maintain family harmony.
WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Many legal strategies and documents are used in Jacksonville estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they don’t have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they do. In the absence of legal planning, their estate will be distributed according to Florida’s laws of intestacy. It’s not likely to follow the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan established with an estate planning lawyer will replace the terms of the state’s estate plan with your own.
UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTALS OF JACKSONVILLE ESTATE PLANNING LAW
YOUR LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Your last will and testament (will) is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan in Jacksonville, FL. When a person dies without a will, they have died “intestate,” and state laws determine how and to whom assets will be distributed. Things to know about wills:
A will only becomes effective after death. It doesn’t help manage your affairs when incapacitated by illness or injury. This legal document doesn’t help avoid probate in Florida either. It must be submitted to the Florida probate court by the person in possession of the will or executor/personal representative. It is an excellent place to name your minor children’s guardians if they are orphaned. All parents of minor children should select guardians to avoid a potential emotional family battle that leaves their children with the wrong guardians. Our Florida estate planning lawyers can help you and your family establish a will or other legal documents to protect your legacy.
ESTABLISHING TRUSTS IN FLORIDA
There are many types of trusts; they can be simple or complex and serve various legal, personal, investment, or tax planning purposes. An experienced Florida trust attorney can help you and your family determine which type of trust fits your unique needs. At the most basic level, a trust is a legal entity with at least three parties involved:
- The trustmaker (also called the grantor – the person who creates the trust)
- The trustee (trust manager)
- The trust beneficiary
There are many advantages to establishing a trust, including a way to avoid probate in Florida. In most cases, an estate planning attorney in Jacksonville, FL, can help establish a trust that will own your assets and pass them to the trust beneficiaries (or heirs) immediately upon your death – no probate required. Certain trusts also offer estate tax advantages both for the trustmaker and the beneficiary. Trusts can protect property from creditors or allow a trustee to manage and invest property for the trustmaker(s) and the named beneficiaries. If well-drafted, trusts continue to be effective even if the trustmaker dies or becomes incapacitated.
FLORIDA POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A power of attorney is another legal document used in Florida estate planning that gives a designated person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right (powers) to accomplish certain things for you when you are unable. The powers you give them depend on the terms of the document.
A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited and specific. All powers of attorney terminate upon your death and may terminate when you become incapacitated (unable to make or communicate decisions). When the intent is to designate a backup decision-maker in the event of incapacity, then you need a durable power of attorney. Durable powers of attorney in Florida should be frequently updated because banks and other financial institutions may not honor a power of attorney that is more than a year old.
ESTABLISHING HEALTH CARE DOCUMENTS (OR ADVANCE DIRECTIVES) IN DUVAL COUNTY, FL
A Florida advance health care directive is a document that specifies the type of medical and personal care you desire in a health crisis. The documents legally establish what you want to happen should you lose the ability to make and communicate your own decisions. Anyone over 18 may execute an advance directive, and this document is legally binding in Florida. Your advance directive can specify who will make and communicate decisions for you and explain acceptable procedures and whether life-saving measures may be used to prolong your life. For example, what would you want to happen if you were in a coma with no reasonable chance of recovery?
A legal document that goes hand-in-hand with your advance directive is a HIPAA form authorizing your medical providers to allow specified individuals to access your medical information. Without this authorization, your doctor may refuse to communicate with your hand-picked decision-maker.
Our estate planning law group is here to help you and your loved ones understand estate planning, elder law, post-death administration, and business planning in Duval County, Florida. If you’re interested in learning more about our legal services from our experienced Jacksonville, Florida, estate planning attorneys, please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm by booking a call today. Our estate planning legal services include:
- Wills and Trusts
- Florida Powers of Attorney
- Jacksonville, FL, Charitable Planning
- Florida Pet Trusts
- Florida Special Needs Planning
- Second Marriage Planning
- Jacksonville, FL, Asset Protection Planning
- Asset Alignment
- Florida Special Needs Trusts
- Florida Gun Trusts
At Legacy Planning Law Group, we work with you to the create a plan that protects your family and preserves your legacy so you can have confidence about what lies ahead and finish the race strong.