ESTATE PLANNING IN LAKELAND, FL
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT ATTORNEY
Wills are essential legal documents and the cornerstone of effective estate planning. They are legal declarations in which you, the testator, name one or more people to administer your estates. Wills also specify how your assets will be distributed at death.
We provide simple, complex, and out-of-state wills, which means that choosing Medina Law Group, P.A. to assist you with your wills will ensure that you and your loved ones receive the outcomes your desire, no matter your situation.
Importance of a Will
According to a recent poll by Gallup, less than half (about 46%) of U.S. adults have a will that describes how they’d like their estate to be handled upon their death. Writing a will is a very easy thing to put on the back-burner—out of sight, out of mind; thinking about death can be depressing; or maybe, writing a will is a complicated, expensive process you don’t quite have the energy for right now.
However, without a will, you have no input about the distribution of your property after your death. If something suddenly happens to you tomorrow, think about who you will leave behind to mourn your death—your passing will take a deep emotional toll, and you don’t want to add on extra stress of working with a Florida court and possibly fighting over who gets your assets.
Writing a will is more than just deciding who you leave your assets to — it is also related to end-of-life decisions, such as deciding who would step in if you were unable to make financial decisions yourself.
When there is no will, estate assets are typically subject to the Florida probate process and will be disbursed according to Florida statutes. Not having a clear estate plan can trigger legal challenges among family members and create costly delays in probate. That is why it is essential to write or review your will to ensure the structure and designations are still valid and continue to reflect your wishes upon death.
Living Will & Advance Health Care Directive
A living will is a legal document that outlines an individual’s end-of-life wishes. A living will describes which treatments you want if you are dying or permanently unconscious, allowing you to accept or refuse medical care. These also typically include instructions on the use of ventilators, artificial nutrition (tube feeding) or hydration (IV fluids), if you want to be resuscitated if your heart or breathing stops, organ donation, and the use of breathing machines.
Simple Wills vs. Complex Wills
A simple will provides a mechanism for determining heirs, distributing property, creating trusts where appropriate, and nominating guardians, trustees and personal representatives. There are various factors that create a need for a more complex will. Among those are the nature of the family structure, the size and type of assets involved, the need to create various trusts, as well as estate tax planning where necessary. A significant number of issues arise if your estate exceeds $5,000,000 in value after consideration of all assets including homes, investment assets, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, business interests and other assets.
It is important to note that even persons with relatively small estates can have complex estate planning issues. When choosing an attorney to prepare your estate plan, it is beneficial to choose an attorney who is well-versed in handling both simple and complex wills and who is familiar with the federal estate tax.
Online Legal Document Services
Online legal document services offer an enticing bargain. Many people realize that they need an estate plan to manage their affairs if something happens to them, but estate planning attorneys can be expensive.
Many consumers are now questioning whether it is possible to bypass the attorney fees and use a low-cost website to prepare estate planning documents. The short answer is that, yes, it is possible – but it is not advisable. You could save money now but end up creating an expensive and frustrating mess for your family.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize what they are getting themselves into with an online document service. Online legal document preparation companies have spent millions of dollars trying to create the impression that their services are similar to those of an attorney. They put lawyers in their commercials, hire celebrities to promote their services, and even tout stories of people who have successfully used their documents.
Unfortunately, all the marketing in the world can’t change the fact that these Internet companies are not law firms. They aren’t lawyers. They can’t give legal advice.
Instead, they are “document assistants” – this is a term that states use to define service providers who type your information into generic form documents. These document assistants enter your information into the form you chose, regardless of whether it makes sense or is a good idea.
Only a highly trained estate planning attorney can help you navigate through the complex issues that often arise in estate planning. Consider whether saving money in the short term is worth the risk of damaging your life’s work.
Out of State Wills
A will that has been prepared in a state other than Florida might be valid for probate in Florida. However, there could be provisions in the out-of-state will that would be ineffective. Often the affidavit in out-of-state wills does not conform to the self-proving affidavit requirements provided for in Florida law.
If you have a will that was not prepared pursuant to Florida law, it would be wise to have your will reviewed by a Florida estate planning attorney to determine the validity of your will and the validity of each of the provisions of the will in accordance with Florida law.
Medina Law Group, P.A. specializes in providing comprehensive estate planning legal services to clients in Lakeland, FL and throughout Polk County and Central Florida, including both simple and complex wills. If you or your family have questions about estate planning, we encourage you to contact our office and discuss your options today.
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SEE OUR OTHER ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL SERVICES IN LAKELAND, FL
Trusts are legal arrangements that provide for the transfer of assets from their owner (trustor) to a trustee. For some, the creation of a trust is a crucial part of a complete and effective estate plan.
If you were named the trustee of someone’s estate, it is recommended to work with an experienced attorney to help facilitate the management of trust property according to the trust document terms.
Probate is the legal procedure your estate goes through after you pass. A court will assess all your assets, authenticate your will (if you have one), and distribute your estate to the proper heirs.
Asset Protection Planning
You’ve worked hard for your property—be sure to protect it. Asset protection planning helps keep your property and wealth safe from being taken by someone who wins a lawsuit against you.
Advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for end-of-life care and naming a health care proxy. They are an essential part of a complete estate plan.
Gun trusts, also known as firearms trusts, NFA trusts, Class 3 trusts, or firearms revocable trusts, are an excellent way to legally purchase and own a Title II firearm and/or regular firearms in Florida.
Your better legacy depends upon the accuracy and completeness of your estate plan
Contact us today to talk to a Florida Bar board certified specialist who has the expertise to help you plan your estate.