Estate Planning Attorneys
Protect Your Loved Ones & Secure Your AssetsAt Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we believe that your assets should be protected against creditors, predators, divorce, and even the poor decisions of your heirs themselves. We believe that you, not the government, should determine how your assets are distributed when you pass away. Your estate should not be gutted by onerous death taxes, and your life savings should not be depleted in order to obtain long-term medical care. Our estate planning attorneys can help you protect your legacy and your loved ones.
How Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help?Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not only for the phenomenally wealthy. Every family should have an estate plan of its own.
Foundational Estate Planning Documents Include:
- Last Will & Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advance Health Care Directives
- Living Will
- Revocable Living Trust (optional)
What Type of Estate Plan Is Best for My Family?The primary vehicles for estate planning in Florida are a Will-based estate plan and a Revocable Living Trust-based estate plan. Our estate planning attorneys can help you decide which type of plan is better suited for your family and your personal estate planning goals. We will explain the different estate planning options available to you so that you can make the most informed decision regarding who should inherit your assets (your beneficiaries) and how your beneficiaries should inherit your assets, as well as whom you trust to be Personal Representative of your Will and/or Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust. Our estate planning attorneys also advise on the pros and cons of using beneficiary designations and Lady Bird Deeds (also known as Enhanced Life Estate Deeds) as part of your overall estate plan. Read more about Revocable Living Trusts. While most clients express their primary estate planning goal as “probate avoidance,” this is but one of many aspects of the estate planning process our estate planning attorneys will cover with you.
Other Important Factors to Consider During the Estate Planning Process Include:
- selection of fiduciaries
- selection of beneficiaries
- the particulars of your individual asset and liability profile
- business succession planning
- special beneficiary concerns.
Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan If I Move to Florida?We are frequently asked whether clients who move to Florida from another state must update their entire estate plan when they become Florida residents. In most cases, our estate planning attorneys recommend that, at a minimum, these clients update their Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives to be compliant with Florida law. We will review your out-of-state estate planning documents to determine whether additional updates are recommended. When meeting with our estate planning attorneys, you can expect a straight-forward explanation of what must be updated versus what should be updated so that you can make an informed decision based on your goals and budget.
Will Florida Taxes Affect Our Estate Plan?We will advise you on any estate tax and related tax concerns that may affect your estate plan. For instance, Florida does not impose a state-level estate or death tax. On the federal level, the amount a person can pass on at death without incurring a federal estate tax currently is $11.4 million per person. Under current law, a married couple in Florida can own more than $22 million combined without owing any federal estate tax. The majority of estate plans no longer are driven by tax avoidance as a result of the increased estate tax exemption. Instead, they focus on probate avoidance and protecting your legacy for your loved ones, charity, and any other individuals or entities you wish to benefit. Our estate planning attorneys and trust lawyers frequently advise on maximizing the creditor protection benefits already available to Florida residents under Florida law. For example, our estate planning attorneys can give you a full asset analysis that discusses which of your assets are protected by the Florida Constitution, Florida Statutes, and other protections established by Florida common law. In our litigious society, it is important to include asset and creditor protection as part of the overall estate planning discussion.
What Happens to My Business If I Become Incapacitated or Pass Away?Our estate planning attorneys and trust lawyers can advise on special issues relating to business succession planning. We will inform who should control your business if you become incapacitated or pass away, income tax issues, buy-sell arrangements, and restrictions on the transfer of company stock.
Is Long Term Care Planning Right For Our Family?Another important aspect of estate planning is long term care planning. Our elder law attorneys can explain the complicated process of qualifying you or your loved one for Medicaid and other important government benefits. Given the exorbitant rates charged by skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, Medicaid Planning has become a major sector of the estate planning field in Florida. Our estate planning attorneys can assist you with qualifying for Florida Medicaid benefits while sheltering the majority of your assets for you. As a result, preserving your legacy for your loved ones.
Our business succession planning attorneys guide owners of privately held businesses when they’re ready to reduce their involvement in day-to-day operations. Our expertise and experience in the field allow our clients to meet succession goals that benefit the owner, family, company and employees.
Our estate planning attorneys provide counsel on the most effective ways to make charitable donations. From making sure your gift has the greatest impact possible to tax-planning perspectives, we’ll ensure your values are reflected.
Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) can help you protect your assets and reduce overall estate and gift taxes. FLPs are commonly used as part of business succession planning and high net worth estate plans. Our attorneys can help you reap the benefits with expert planning.
Our estate planning attorneys can help you set up a family trust so you can keep assets for yourself and those closest to you. We handle every aspect of family trust administration from set up to distribution.
Homesteads have significant financial and tax implications and also often cause tensions and disputes over ownership rights. We provide legal guidance for a wide range of homestead and real estate issues, ensuring you and your family receive the best outcome.
We help clients use intra-family loans to assist with the purchase of a residence, business funding and other investments. Tax planning strategies are crucial in these scenarios, and disputes arise fast. With our expertise, you can plan the best outcome for you and your family.
Lady bird deeds allow you to transfer real estate to a designee without the probate process. They are often used if your primary asset is your home. Our estate planning attorneys will help you decide if it’s a suitable option and, if so, create a lady bird deed that protects your family.
Using a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may help reduce potential complications and conflicts for your family in the event of your death. Our estate planning attorneys can help decide if an LLC makes sense for your family and help manage the administration to create one.
Medicaid planning can help offset costs, so your loved one can qualify for Medicaid’s Institutional Care Program when the time comes. Our attorneys can help this be a key part of your long-term planning by devising a well-structured and optimized strategy.
Special needs trusts allow for provisions to help protect your physically or mentally disabled loved ones. Our attorneys can help properly draft a special needs trust to clarify that if your loved one is eligible for government support benefits, then trust assets can be used but never replace or supplant public benefits. We ensure your loved one is protected in a water-tight document that benefits them and their future.In addition to estate planning services, our attorneys are experienced trust and probate litigators. If you find yourself subject to a probate or trust lawsuit, or if you or a loved one has been taken advantage of by a relative or caregiver, contact us today.