Trusts & Estates

Family Lawyer

Not just a family lawyer, but someone to rely on for all of your business and family needs

Our Guiding Philosophy

As a client-centered law firm, we understand that estate planning is about more than just asset protection and minimizing taxes – it’s about the emotional security and comfort that comes with knowing that your loved ones will be cared for, provided for, and protected long after you’re gone. We take the time to get to know you and your family’s situation on a personal level so that we can give you the best strategies available for reaching your estate planning goals.

The benefits of working with a local Tampa-St. Pete attorney to plan your estate cannot be understated, especially when compared with supposedly cheaper online template services. Usually, those templates come with so many mistakes and omissions that correcting them costs more than if had you hired a lawyer in the first place!

Estate planning gets complicated, especially if either partner had any previous marriages, or if the couple has lived in more than one state, especially if those states have different laws covering property ownership in a marriage. Adding an attorney to your team helps ensure that you’ve covered all your bases and haven’t overlooked anything that might get in the way of your desires for your family’s future.

Law Practiced With Compassion

Dying Without a Will

Many of our clients will be just fine with a will and a few other supplementary estate planning documents. However, it’s important that we have the opportunity to fully review your situation to make sure that this is the case. Dying without a will — also known as dying intestate — can be inconvenient for your loved ones at best, and an absolute disaster at worst. Without a will naming our beneficiaries and designating who gets what, Florida probate courts will step in and make the decisions for you. This can get especially complicated if you or your spouse have had any previous marriages, or if you have adult children that you don’t trust to manage their newfound resources wisely. 

Trust Basics

Families with more highly valued assets could benefit from a trust.  However, setting up a trust is a bit more complicated than drafting a will, and isn’t the best fit for every family. Trusts can be easily customized for a variety of different scenarios. For example, a revocable living trust can be useful for avoiding probate court, while other types of trusts can help ensure responsible spending for otherwise irresponsible heirs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Will?
Your Will, or Last Will and Testament, is a legally-binding document that records your wishes for how you would like your possessions to be distributed when you die. It’s also how parents appoint guardians for their minor children.
2. What is a Living Will?
A Living Will, on the other hand, dictates how you will be cared for in your final days. Also known as a healthcare directive, this is where you decide whether you want to be placed on life support should you be left incapacitated and otherwise unable to communicate.
3. What is a Trust?
At its most simple, a Trust is an entity similar to a business that owns property on your behalf. Trusts can be customized for any number of specific purposes, but are slightly more complicated to set up than a simple will.
4. What is an Executor?
Your executor is the individual in charge your estate and other financial obligations after your death. If you don’t appoint an executor in your will, then the court will appoint one for you.
5. What is a Trustee?
A trustee is similar to an executor in that they have the job of managing your trust on your behalf. A trustee can be useful if you have concerns that your heirs might be less than responsible with what you leave behind.
6. What is a Healthcare Proxy?
A Healthcare Proxy is an individual appointed to make important, potentially life-saving decisions on your behalf in the event that you are left incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those choices yourself.
7. What is a Power of Attorney?
Your Power of Attorney is like a Healthcare Proxy for financial matters. Make sure that you trust the person you give your Power of Attorney to, because it’s a position that comes with a lot of authority.
8. What is a Guardian?
A Guardian is a legal representative who is charged with taking care of another person, usually an orphaned minor child or an individual with special needs, often as as part of an estate plan.
9. What Should I Know About Estate Taxes?
Unless your personal estate is valued at over $11 million (or $22 million for married couples), then you won’t need to worry about estate taxes at all.
10. How Can I Avoid Probate Court?
There are several strategies for avoiding probate court depending on your situation. However, perhaps the most common is a revocable trust. Also known as a living trust, this is an entity that you create to hold property on your behalf.
11. How Do I Provide for My Long-Term Care?
The three most common avenues for funding long-term late-in-life care are personal savings accounts, long-term care insurance, and Medicare.

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