Serving Lake County, Sumter County, The Villages, and the greater central Florida community
Estate Planning and Elder Law
The planning of one's estate can be a difficult and complicated process. You, like many Americans, may find the act of planning for your own demise, or the death of a beloved family member, to be emotionally painful. However, the execution of a comprehensive estate plan is among the most important acts you can take to protect your loved ones and ensure they are taken care of after your passing. A proper estate plan will make certain that your wishes, regarding healthcare concerns and the disposition of personal property, are strictly adhered to in the event of your incapacity or death. A proper estate plan will also guarantee your loved ones will be financially provided for in your unfortunate absence. Below you will find a list of estate planning tools which can be utilized to create a specified plan to meet the needs of you and your loved ones.
Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament, which conforms to Florida statutory guidelines, will provide exactly how you want your ‘estate’ to be distributed after death. An estate consists of all assets owned by you at the time of your demise.
Living Will/Health Care Surrogate
A Living Will allows you to personally choose the type of life-sustaining procedures that you want, or do not want, to be applied to your body during a time of extreme medical distress (when it is likely that your wishes can no longer be verbally, or adequately, communicated).
Powers of Attorney
A POA is a legal document which allows you to specify an ‘agent’ and grant such person the legal right to act on your behalf, in various legal matters, in your absence. Per Florida Statute only the specific authorities granted to an ‘agent’ may be exercised by such individual (or legal entity). Therefore, if a previously executed POA either fails to grant specific authority to the agent, or was flawed in its execution, such will likely be found by a Court to be flawed and, thus, not controlling.
A Trust is a strong estate planning tool which allows you extra latitude and control in implementing specific orders and directions as to how your assets are to be handled before/after death. The creation, and funding, of a Trust allows you to avoid Florida's probate process as the assets (which should be transferred into the name of such Trust) are not subject to the lengthy and complicated process of probate administration. There are several types of Trusts and each could be used for the implementation of a specific estate planning strategy. The most common type of trust is a Revocable Trust. A Revocable Trust enables you to retain complete and total control over your assets during your life and ensures that, upon your death, such assets pass to your loved ones without having to go through unnecessary and expensive court proceedings.
The above information is a simplified overview of certain estate planning tools. In creating a proper specialized estate plan there are a plethora of issues which should be analyzed, and discussed, in order to secure the best and most protective plan for you and your family. For example, many individuals whom have family members with ‘special needs’ will likely require a specialized plan that includes instructions regarding the beneficiary's future care (including medical and non-medical) without jeopardizing such individual’s eligibility for government assistance. In these cases, a Special Needs Trust would be appropriate for the future care of your family member.
If you have any questions regarding a current estate plan, or if you need a current plan amended due to a death, divorce or birth in your family, contact Lanius Law Firm, P.A. to schedule a consultation with an attorney. Similarly, if you currently do not have an estate plan and you wish to discuss your options please do not hesitate to contact us.
LANIUS LAW FIRM, P.A.
510 County Rd. 466 Suite 207-L
Lady Lake, FL 32159