Estate Planning & Asset Protection

A well designed Estate Plan can bring great peace of mind to you and your family.

Everyone has an Estate.

Family heirlooms, bank accounts, cars… anything you own is your estate.

But where will it go after you pass away?

Estate planning is making a plan in advance to ensure your estate goes where you want it to go.

Privacy

Privacy

Do you want to keep your financial and medical affairs private?

With proper estate planning, your personal information stays private and away from prying eyes. 

Even if you have a will, your estate will go through probate and become open to the public.

Nobody needs to know how much inheritance you gave out or which of your kids got what. That information deserves to be respected and remain private.

But suppose you don’t have a plan made. In that case, your estate will have to be probated through the state, and everyone will have access to your information, including creditors.

You can protect your privacy and your family’s financial matters and avoid having your information open to the public through estate planning. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

Protection

Do you want to make sure your money goes to your kids and not someone else?

With estate planning, you will have complete control over who gets what. It will protect your belongings from outsiders (creditors, in-laws, nursing homes, etc.) and keep everything you own out of the wrong hands.

You get to call all the shots.

You should have full rights to where your hard-earned belongings go, and with estate planning, that’s how it works.

With a solid estate plan, you can decide all of these and more.  Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.
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Peace of Mind

Worried you’ll lose your hard-earned savings to nursing home costs?

Nobody should have to sacrifice all they earned to afford the long-term care they deserve.

Working with an estate planning attorney will give you the best chance to save the most money through a strategized estate plan.

An estate plan is much more than just a set of documents.

It’s having a professional in your corner, someone to help you navigate the troubled waters of long-term care.

Nobody should have to figure these things out on their own, and that is what Family Elder Law is all about. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

Your future needs

Estate Planning does much more than protect your finances. It protects your future health care needs.

Suppose you’re in the hospital with a coma, a stroke, or dementia. Ask yourself these questions:

If you’re not comfortable leaving these decisions in someone else’s hands, we can help you.

With a proper estate plan, you’ll be able to control what happens to you even if you can’t speak up for yourself.

And your loved ones will have peace of mind in knowing your end-of-life wishes. No fighting!

At Family Elder Law, we will walk you through various health scenarios so we can prepare your legal documents with crystal clear clarity. Call us at (863) 676-8432 to learn how we can help.

This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

An estate plan doesn’t involve just you alone. It also involves your loved ones.

Taking care of our clients and their loved ones now and in the future is what we do. No matter who you speak with on our team, you will be treated like family because we truly care about what we do.

Give us a call at (863) 676-8432. We’ll connect you with a specialist who will ask questions to learn more about you and your goals. 

We are looking forward to taking care of you and your loved ones.

Estate Planning & Asset Protection FAQs

Estate planning is the process of handling your legal affairs well in advance of future needs.

Many people do this because they genuinely want to make things easy for their family members if something happens to them.

Watch “What is estate planning?” to learn more.

Everyone who owns something needs an estate plan.

However, your age can decide what kind of estate plan you need. For example, if you turn 18, you may want to have a power of attorney and/or health care surrogate in place if something happens to you that leads to incapacitation or hospitalization.

As you get older and acquire property and assets, you may need a more comprehensive plan to protect those assets. In addition, when children arrive, making a plan that describes who you would like to raise them and how any inheritance is handled can be a smart step in protecting them.

Finally, estate planning becomes the most significant when you are in the 60-65 age range. At this point in your life, creating a robust plan that lays out the details of how you would like the future to look is a requirement to provide guidance for your family when you cannot make decisions or are no longer with them. Contact us to get started today.

Watch “What should I do if I realize that my parents do not have an estate plan in place?” to learn more.

Just like your circumstances, an estate plan is unique to the individual. In our first meeting, we will ask you a lot of questions. We do this to get to know your hopes, dreams, and needs.

Here are a few example questions:

  • Do you want to protect and provide for your spouse?
  • Do you want to protect your home and assets for children, grandchildren, and other minors?
  • Do you want to avoid probate and keep your financial affairs private?
  • Do you want to protect your assets from lawsuits, creditors, and divorce?
  • Do you want to plan for someone’s inability to manage finances in the future?
  • Do you want to protect your children’s inheritance from the possibility of failed marriages?
  • Do you have long-term care insurance, or have you planned for those needs?


Based on your answers, we will then begin creating an estate plan specifically for you. Contact us to get started today.

An estate plan encompasses several documents, including the potential use of a trust, that can help protect you in life and your estate once you have passed away.

A will cannot address what will happen if you become incapacitated. If nursing home costs arise due to incapacitation, a will won’t be able to help you.

A will alone can be insufficient to protect you and your assets. A will generally requires probate court if you have assets and/or debt. Probate court could expose your estate to more taxes and creditors. In addition, although probate court may have some benefits, it could cost additional time and money for your loved ones.

It is best to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine the best course of action for your estate. Contact us to get started.

Watch “Do I need more than a will?” to learn more.
Watch “What is the difference between a will and a trust?” to learn more.

Trusts can help in many ways. The first is potentially avoiding probate court, which can help your family save time and money. It also can help avoid “double” probate in various states if you own property in more than one. Further, it allows for privacy since it is not made public like a will.

Next, trusts live on past your incapacitation. Therefore, your family may be able to avoid a guardianship proceeding to help manage your estate when you cannot do so. Once you have passed away, having a trust allows you to still have some control over your estate, especially if you have minor children that may inherit it. Finally, it can provide asset protection for you, your beneficiaries, and/or people with special needs.

If you feel you could use a trust as part of your estate plan, please give us a call.

Watch “Why use a Trust in Estate Planning?” to learn more.
Watch “What benefits does a trust offer?” to learn more.

Revocable / Living Trust

This type of trust can be changed or completely dissolved while alive. You will be in control and still possess the assets you put in the trust. You will be the trustee of the trust and then list a trustee successor. Your family may be able to avoid guardianship and probate court with this type of trust.

This trust can act as a will and provide some asset protection when you have passed, as it will become irrevocable at that point and your assets will be distributed to your heirs. However, it will not provide asset protection while you are alive. Therefore, if you need a trust to help qualify for Medicaid, this may not be the best option for you.

The main question to determine which trust to use is to determine your goals for your estate plan.

Watch “What is a revocable intervivos/living trust?” to learn more.

Irrevocable Trust

In this type of trust, once it is created and funded, the language of the trust establishes that there can generally be no revocation or amendments. You can name someone you trust as the trustee of the trust to help manage it.

This trust protects assets from creditors of the trust beneficiaries using specific language and provisions. However, it may not provide these protections if you are the trust’s only beneficiary.

If you need long-term care, this may also protect your assets from Medicaid. However, there is a 5 year look-back period to consider if you plan to make this type of trust to protect assets, so always speak with an attorney about which type of trust to create and when.

Watch “What is an irrevocable trust?” to learn more.

In order to create a Revocable Living Trust, you need to have the following elements present:
  • The same person is not the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary
  • The person creating the trust must have the capacity to make the trust
  • The trust must have a definite beneficiary
  • The trustee must have duties to perform and
  • The intent to create a trust must be apparent.
Any person 18 years or older with capacity can create a trust. Capacity is shown when the person understands the nature of their assets, their value, and who they want to inherit them. Watch my YouTube video “Who should have a revocable living trust?” to learn more.

Once you have created a trust, ensuring all your assets are retitled in the name of the trust is crucial.

You will need to retitle your assets from your name as an individual to the name of the trust, no matter what trust you decide to establish.

Any asset you own that does not have a beneficiary designation or a survivorship provision should be retitled. However, be aware of transferring assets such as your Florida Homestead and your Individual Retirement Accounts, as there may be certain restrictions.

Please contact us to help you create your trust, review your assets and determine what should be placed within it.

Watch “What does it mean to fund a trust?” to learn more.

Several documents will help keep your Estate in order so that you and your family are prepared for the future. By meeting with an attorney, you can decide what you need to have the most comprehensive plan ready. Here are some documents that can be important for your estate plan:
  1. Last Will and Testament
  2. Revocable Living Trust
  3. Financial Durable Power of Attorney
  4. Advanced Healthcare Directives
    • Health Care Surrogate
    • Living Will
You may also want a Letter of Instruction or Intent to explain and express your desires and intentions after you pass away. Watch “What are some typical estate planning documents?” to learn more. Watch “Why should I leave written instructions about my final ceremonies and the disposition of my body?” to learn more.

The more important question is how much you, your estate, and your family would have to pay if there is no plan. Some costs to consider are:

  • Long-Term Care costs – if you or your spouse becomes incapacitated and needs long-term care, you may have to use assets in your estate to pay for them.
  • Estate Death tax– depending on where you live and the size of your estate
  • Creditors and debtors – you or your beneficiaries could expose assets to them if not appropriately protected.
  • Probate Court costs – from attorney fees to court fees

These costs could be reduced or avoided entirely with the help of a thoroughly created estate pl​​an by an estate planning attorney.

Watch “What are some typical estate planning documents?” to learn more.

You are the best person to choose the most suitable representative for you and your estate. However, you should make sure that you take the time to reflect on your family relationships and if the person you chose has the right qualifications.

Having the right skill set and business acumen can be useful in these types of roles, but it is not the only thing to consider. You also want a person that can work with the various members of your family smoothly and peacefully. You also want a person that you can trust fully to handle your affairs.

Ultimately, something to keep in mind is whether they have organizational skills, can be transparent with beneficiaries, and can be respectful to all involved.

Watch “Who should be my executor personal representative or trustee?” to learn more.

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