phone icon850-784-0809

Estate Planning

Everyone needs an estate plan. Your “estate” consists of everything you own. Estate Planning is the process of putting a plan into place which ensures that your estate is distributed to the beneficiaries of your choice at your death. The basic documents include a Last Will & Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation and Living Will.

A properly drafted and executed Last Will & Testament enables you to appoint the person you wish to handle the administration of your estate, known as the Personal Representative in Florida, and also allows you to decide to whom your assets are distributed at your death.

Some people have special circumstances to consider in their estate plan, such as having minor or disabled children or other disabled family members. Those people should consider having testamentary trusts within their estate plan. Such testamentary trusts are designed to hold assets for the benefit of minor children or disabled family members rather than distributing assets outright to them.

Other documents within an estate plan frequently include a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation and Living Will. A properly drafted and executed Durable Power of Attorney allows you to appoint the Agent(s) of your choice to manage your estate during your life in the event of your incapacity. A Health Care Surrogate Designation allows you to name the person or persons that will make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. A Living Will allows you to state whether you want the administration of artificial life-prolonging procedures withheld in the event you are diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, an end-stage condition or a terminal condition.

An estate plan may also include a Revocable Living Trust, which operates just as a Last Will & Testament at your death. If you become incapacitated, such a trust also acts like a Durable Power of Attorney during your life. Whether someone needs a Revocable Living Trust or Last Will & Testament depends on each person’s own unique circumstances and such a decision will be made after consultation and close consideration of all issues one needs to address in their estate plan.

Our attorneys will meet with you to determine the best avenue for your estate plan ensuring that a tailored plan is in place to suit your unique needs.