Wills, Trusts and Probate

estate-planningEstate Planning Attorneys. Estate planning is the process of setting forth how you would like your last wishes to be accomplished. Estate planning typically utilizes documents, such as Wills and Trusts, to eliminate uncertainties in the administration of a probated estate and to maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. Whether you have few or substantial assets, your Last Will and Testament will distribute your assets according to your wishes. Additionally, you can designate a guardian for minor children and beneficiaries who are incapacitated. You may also specify final arrangements, such as whether to be buried or cremated. More sophisticated estate plans may even cover deferring or decreasing estate taxes and dissolution of business interests. This type of advanced planning can help to reduce the anxiety and stress to your loved ones during their time of grief.

In addition to a Last Will and Testament, you may want to consider executing an Advance Directive. Many people do not think they need to worry about an Advance Directive until it is too late. By the time they realize the importance of these documents, they either cannot adequately communicate their wishes or lack the competency to do so. Advance Directives allow your loved ones to care for you if you are ever sick or incapacitated and may eliminate the need for a costly, court supervised guardianship. There are two types of Advance Directives you may consider. One type of Advance Directive is a Durable Power of Attorney, which gives the person of your choice the ability to act for you and may be revoked at any time as long as you are mentally competent to do so. Another type of Advance Directive is a Living Will and Appointment of Health Care Surrogate, which specifies your wishes regarding life sustaining measures and names a person to make medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so.

If you or someone you know is in need of estate planning, please contact us today for a free consultation with one of our Hillsborough County Estate Planning Attorneys.

Glossary of Estate Planning Terms

The administrator of an estate. Florida uses the term Personal Representative.

The person to receive the benefit of an estate, insurance policy or trust.

To give property by way of a will.

The act of giving property by way of a will.

A supplement or addendum to a will.

The act of giving property by way of a will.

The recipient of property by way of a will.

Durable Power of Attorney
Gives someone else the legal authority to act as an agent on your behalf even if you later become incompetent.

Estate Planning
Planning and preparation for the management and distribution of assets after one’s death through the use of wills, trusts, insurance policies and other legal vehicles.

Power of Attorney
Gives someone else the legal authority to act as an agent on your behalf; however, a non-durable power of attorney terminates upon incapacity or death.

A court proceeding to administer a decedent’s estate by paying properly asserted and valid debts as well as to distribute assets and property.

A document that expresses an individual’s intentions and wishes regarding the distribution of assets after death.