In Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning and Florida Asset Protection are two of the primary focuses of our Jacksonville estate planning lawyers. Our estate planning attorneys will create options to help you to have the best understanding and a better ability to achieve your estate planning needs and desires. Our Jacksonville based lawyers create estate-planning documents that are designed to achieve results.
Our attorneys believe that estate planning is not only about creating documents, but also about results! Too often estate planning is only equated with wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney and other legal documents. While these are some of the documents we use and it is true that these documents may be necessary to achieve some of our client's estate planning goals, the estate planning process consists of much more than just the routine preparation of the estate planning documents.
The estate planning process involves: setting and defining goals; becoming familiar with the legal terms, tools and basic estate tax rules; gathering the necessary information; designing, drafting, and implementing a customized estate plan that achieves individually tailored results.
What most people fail to realize is that the estate plan does not stop when the documents are signed. We stress the importance of using the documents. We see many clients with documents that were never implemented; the individuals who the plans were created for were never taught how to properly use the estate plan to achieve the desired objectives of the plan. Many of the estate plans we run across are like an unopened book on the shelf of your study. The plan or book may have looked appealing when you first saw it, and decided to purchase it, but without using or reading you’re the book or your estate plan, the benefits of even the best estate plan will not be achieved.
In determining your individual estate planning goals, our Jacksonville based lawyers actually create documents that define a set of detailed instructions for your family, friends, and trusted associates to follow.
Many estate plans are created for the sole purpose of avoiding probate. While avoiding probate may a big enough reason to justify the creation of an estate plan, there are far more important issues to deal with in the documents. One of these is preparing and planning for incapacity or death. It is important to create a situation where your family and the ultimate beneficiaries can take care of you in the event you need someone to do so.
Many plans can create problems and conflicts between your children. It is important to understand the family dynamics and design systems that work in with your specific family dynamics.
The instructions and documentation that comes with your estate plan should strengthen trust and relationships between your family members and not create conflicts.
A client with one of our estate plans should be comfortable with the estate plan and there should be a high level of understanding. Therefore, we believe that an important step in the estate planning process is to help the client become familiar with the terms, tools, and tax issues involved. This involves explaining fairly sophisticated estate planning concepts in a manner that is easy to understand. We often use drawings and flowcharts to help explain these concepts.
Usually these drawings are included in the client's estate planning meetings as well as the review of the estate plan.
In order to properly proceed with the estate planning process, the client must gather the necessary information on who will be involved in the various aspects of the plan as well as financial information to determine what are the needs of the family. One of the first steps is to request and complete an Estate Planning Intake form. This document should be completed prior to the initial meeting.
Once we determine the family and financial dynamics, we design, draft, and implement the actual estate plan. Today, any lawyer can pull forms out of a book and draft a generic estate plan. Often these documents are passed off as a customized estate plan without any real understanding of how they the documents will hold up in court or be interpreted later.
Each part of your estate plan should be designed with your individual needs in mind. We often work with your financial advisers, insurance representatives, and CPAs to understand your specific needs and objectives.
Our Florida Estate Plans are drafted to your specific needs.
Many firms stop when the documents are drafted and signed, but if not properly implemented, they will not achieve the desired results. It is important to make sure that the property is titled properly and beneficiaries must be properly designated on life insurance, retirement plans and other items transferred at death by way of beneficiary designations. We believe that this is an essential step that should not be left solely up to the client.
You may also notice that we practice in the areas of probate litigation and trust litigation. Many estate planning law firms do not litigate. We find that the issues we face in litigation help our Jacksonville estate planning lawyers to anticipate what might go wrong, explain the options, and draft solutions base on these anticipated problems.
In addition, many people feel that they are looking for an estate plan when they really need a combination of estate planning and elder law. Did you know that you must plan to protect your assets from Medicaid five years before you or your spouse needs care. The last thing we would want to do is use up all of our families assets, taking care of yourself and having no money to provide for a surviving spouse. If you wait until your 65, it may be too late to do this type of planning. When we do a free individualized estate planning consultation, we also will evaluate your situation for asset protection and elder law issues at no additional charge.
To read more about Estate Planning, visit the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog
The first step to getting your free estate planning, elder law, and asset protection review is to request our Florida Estate Planning Questionnaire.
TO SET UP A FREE ESTATE PLANNING CONSULTATION and request the estate planning documents, CONTACT JACKSONVILLE ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER ONLINE OR CALL US AT (904) 685-1200.