Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

The firm assists clients who want to provide for their family by creating a will or establishing a revocable living trust, execute a durable power of attorney to delegate legal duties to a loved one or trusted friend, and by drafting advanced healthcare directives such as a Living Will or a Healthcare Proxy.

Wills

A Will is a formal writing that designates an individual (or financial institution) as the personal representative of a person’s probate estate. The Will also names individuals (or organizations) that are to receive probate assets and tangible personal property at the time of a decedent’s death.

A Florida Will must be executed in writing with the proper formalities under Florida law. A Florida Codicil is a short amendment to a Will that also requires the same formalities as the Will itself. A Will becomes effective at the time the Testator passes away, and it can be modified or amended at any time before death.

Trusts

A revocable living trust is a formal instrument that becomes effective at the time of execution. The purpose of this Trust to provide a mechanism for the person creating the Trust (the “Grantor”) to hold assets titled in the name of the Trust so that upon passing away the assets are controlled by a successor trustee to distribute the assets to your selected beneficiaries. The revocable living trusts lets the Grantor to maintain complete control over his/her assets, and it also allows the Grantor to specify how assets of the Trust should be distributed to specific beneficiaries. For example, Trust monies can be assigned for specific purposes (such as higher education) for a beneficiary who has just turned 18, and then the balance of said Trust money can be distributed to that beneficiary upon reaching an older age or upon graduating from college.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a formal legal instrument that allows a person (the “Principal”) to delegate specific legal authorities or duties to another person (the “Agent”). A traditional power of attorney becomes obsolete if the Principal becomes incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective at the time of execution, and it remains effective during any incapacity of the Principal. A Durable Power of Attorney typically grants an Agent the broadest legal powers to act on behalf of the Principal and is often an effective mechanism to avoid the need for Guardianship proceedings upon the Principal becoming incapacitated and/or losing mental capacity to manage his/her own affairs.

Living Will and Healthcare Proxy

A living will is a formal legal document through which an individual can state his or her wishes with regards to medical treatments that may artificially prolong his or her life. Living wills provide directions to family members and to doctors and nurses in the event that a person is unable to state his or her wishes during a medical emergency. A living will also notifies your family regarding what type of life-prolonging treatments you do or do not wish to receive.

Healthcare Surrogate or Proxy

An advanced healthcare directive is a formal legal document that appoints a health care surrogate or proxy with the power to make all health care decisions on a person’s behalf should that person become incapacitated. A healthcare surrogate is required to make health care decisions on the basis of how the surrogate believes the Principal would have acted if he or she was able to do so.