Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the process of preparing and arranging your personal and financial affairs during your lifetime. The benefits of estate planning are not tied to wealth, age, marital status or whether you have children. Estate planning aids your loved ones and ensures that your wishes are honored should you become incapacitated or pass away. Everyone has an estate worth planning for, some are just more complex than others.

At Spiegel Law, PLLC, we make sure that estate planning is tailored to the individual needs of our diverse clientele. A comprehensive Estate Plan is one that personalizes every aspect of planning for the disposition of your assets, your needs and your family situation. At a minimum, a comprehensive plan should consist of the following:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Directives

Having a well-designed estate plan for your assets will serve you in several ways. Not only does it create a plan for the orderly distribution of your estate and prevent family disputes but it will provide guidance and financial resources while protecting your estate from unnecessary taxation. Without a plan in place, your assets may be subject to the process of probate which can be costly, lengthy, and public. Spiegel Law, PLLC can help you avoid probate with the proper planning.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. Call us today at (727) 221-0091 for more information about how we can help you with your estate planning needs. If you have previously completed your estate planning, we will review and assess whether your documents still reflect your wishes or if any changes in the law will impact them.

A Last Will & Testament, also known as a Will, is a legal document that:
  • Establishes how your assets will be transferred at the end of life
  • Allows you to select guardians to care for your minor children
  • Names an individual, the personal representative who is tasked with carrying out your wishes
  • Allows some assets to be distributed without court proceedings

If you pass away without a Will, the state will decide the manner and to whom your assets will be distributed. The court also has the power to appoint a personal representative, known or unknown to you, to manage your estate. This is a fixed formula and no exceptions are made for certain individuals.

A Will must be witnessed and notarized in a special manner provided by the law. While it is true that a Will can be handwritten, the legal requirements for a handwritten Will to be valid are stringent. It is necessary to follow the formalities required by Florida law for the execution of a will. Avoid possible unintended consequences that often arise from self-drafted documents by consulting with a qualified estate panning lawyer today.

Trusts are excellent tools that can be used for many purposes. A Trust will allow you to distribute your assets while avoiding the lengthy process and expense of probate. Some advantages of a trust include:
  • Keep control of your property throughout your lifetime
  • Maintain your privacy while you pass your assets to your heirs without the hassle and publicity of probate court
  • The fees for the administration of a trust are generally much lower than those involved in a probate
  • Restrict when and how your beneficiaries will use their inheritance (this can be accomplished through setting distribution amounts and schedules)
Trusts are not for everyone and are case specific. The most common types of Trusts are Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts. Some differences between the two types of Trusts include:
  • Revocable Trust: A person has the ability to change the Revocable Trust up until the time of his or her death. This provides the creator of the Trust the flexibility to alter any provisions if they desire, whether there has been a change of heart or change in circumstances. Since there is flexibility with this type of Trust, personal assets may be available to creditors and will be factored in estate tax obligations. This type of Trust does become Irrevocable upon death.
  • Irrevocable Trust: Irrevocable Trusts are exactly what the name entails – irrevocable. These Trusts may not be changed once they are created. However, these Trusts do offer some financial benefit such as reducing tax obligations and since the assets are no longer considered personal property, they cannot be reached by creditors.

You can also plan for incapacity while possibly saving your family several thousands of dollars and a year or more of time, just by having a Trust. Contact us for your free consultation to determine whether a Trust is right for you and your family.

Allows someone you appoint to manage your financial affairs on your behalf when you are incapable of doing so, either temporarily or permanently. Such acts typically consist of writing checks, paying bills, investing assets, gifting assets, and selling a house. A person giving a Durable Power of Attorney may make it very broad or may limit it to specific acts.

Avoid a court supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated and cannot handle your financial affairs. Call now!

Also referred to as a healthcare proxy, allows someone you appoint to make medical decisions about the medical care you should receive if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Many times, medical decisions are time sensitive and urgent. Our office provides you with the option of incorporating the HIPPA Authorization in the Designation of Health Care Surrogate. This allows the person you appoint to receive your medical information so that they can make an informed decision regarding your health care. Clients may also include any instructions about health care treatments that they want or do not want.

Our office will discuss with you the importance of choosing someone that you trust and will be easily reached in case of emergency. Call today for a free consultation.

The Living Will is a written statement dealing with end of life procedures. This document commences when an individual has a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. Many clients request a Living Will so that their loved ones or appointed agents do not have to make such a difficult decision regarding the end of their life. Call now to schedule your estate planning consultation.
While the Health Care Surrogate attempts to avoid the need for a Guardian to be appointed, if the court determines an individual to be incapacitated, this document will help guide the judge in the appointment of that guardian. This is just a recommendation or suggestion for the judge to consider; however, the final decision is in the hands of the judge and the court. Contact Spiegel Law, PLLC to get your affairs in order today!

No matter who prepared your Estate Planning documents, unless it is properly executed in strict compliance with the Florida laws, your documents may be entirely void. We will review and assess whether your documents still reflect your wishes or if any changes in the law will impact your Estate Planning.

If you have moved to Florida from another state, it is recommended that you have a lawyer review your Estate Planning to ensure that it is executed according to the laws of Florida.

For a free consultation, call now!

If you own property in more than one state, unless you have a comprehensive estate plan, your family will have the privilege of going through probate in every state where you owned real estate. Call today to schedule an appointment to discuss options available to you.