When you are considering establishing a plan for the distribution of your assets at death, it can be easy to become confused by all the different estate planning options available. You want a lawyer who will take the time to understand the unique aspects of your situation and will help you make informed decisions that are in your best interests.
Our firm handles a variety of estate planning matters, including planning for the distribution of an individual’s property at his or her death and taking into account wills, taxes, insurance, property, and trusts so as to gain the maximum benefit of all laws, while, at the same time, carrying out the person’s wishes.
At the law office of Kanetsky, Moore & DeBoer, P.A., we work closely with individuals who need to establish and implement comprehensive plans for the distribution of assets and possibly the care of minor children upon death. We understand how difficult it can be to think about the eventuality of death. We listen carefully to your concerns and provide highly personalized advice that helps you meet your objectives. Contact our office to set up a consultation, for you, your family and your business.
When you hire us to help you plan your estate, we start by asking questions and by listening, so that we can learn as much as possible about your financial situation, your assets and obligations, and any special needs or concerns related to the distribution of your estate. Next, we will thoroughly explain the different estate planning strategies available to you, how they are affected by the tax laws, and whether they require that your assets go through the probate process.
Once you have decided the best approach to meet your goals, we will prepare and execute all the documents necessary to implement your estate plan, including:
A “last will and testament” is a written document providing direction to your Personal Representative (Executor) for the distribution of your assets upon death. In the absence of a will, the state of Florida directs the manner in which estate assets are distributed. The existence of a properly executed will ensures that a person’s assets are distributed as desired rather than under the mandates of state intestacy laws. As a general rule, a will must go through probate.
A trust is an entity where a trustee holds and manages property for the benefit of another. Trusts can be used to manage property during a person’s life and avoid the delays associated with the probate process upon death. Oftentimes, trusts serve as beneficial estate planning tools since they can reduce estate taxes, protect assets from creditors, ensure proper investment and management of assets, and reduce income taxes under certain circumstances.
A trust can be revocable (where control is retained over the trust assets during one’s lifetime) or irrevocable (where the maker relinquishes control over the assets once the trust is established). Generally, property held in trust is not subject to probate.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives a third party the right to make legal decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so. A Power of Attorney can be for specific purposes, such as real estate, contracts or general financial decisions, or can apply to all decisions.
Advance Medical Directives
An advance medical directive, sometimes known as a Living Will, provides instruction regarding the use of life sustaining medical devices or medications. You may also designate Healthcare Surrogates to have the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Forming a business entity, such as an LLC, Professional Association, or Corporation is important to help reduce liability associated with operating a business. We provide council in the organization of the business structure and help plan tax strategies. We also help clients create family limited partnerships and LLCs to accomplish estate planning objectives.
Estate Planning FAQs
Q. I am a Florida resident and wish to name my best friend as Personal Representative in my Will. She lives in NY. May I name her?
A. No, she will not be qualified per Florida Statute § 733.304, which requires Personal Representatives to either be Florida residents, related to the decedent, or a spouse of a person related to the decedent.
Q. Is it true that my assets will escheat to the state if I don’t have a Will?
A. No, not necessarily. It is very unlikely that anyone’s property will ever escheat to the State. Florida Statutes § 732.101-109, which govern when a person dies without a Will, also referred to as intestate, provides for presumed intention to give the property to those married or related to the decedent. Only when there is no surviving relative, even quite remote, would someone’s property escheat to the State. The intestate process is more challenging and distribution may not be what the decedent actually intended, so it would be preferred to have a valid Will in place.
Q. What is the difference between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust?
A. As the name implies, a revocable trust typically may be changed, amended, or revoked by the Settlor, the person creating the trust, whereas the irrevocable trust cannot be changed, amended, or revoked. There is an inherent flexibility to the revocable trust, while in some applications the irrevocable trust can provide tax advantages, asset protection, and may be needed to assist Special Needs individuals. Trusts can be developed for a variety of situations and an individual should consult an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to assist with these decisions.
Q. Does a trust limit liability?
A. Not necessarily. There are some types of trusts, typically irrevocable trusts that can be created to provide for some forms of asset protection, but not necessarily limiting liability. However, often times when gaining some of the asset protection, one will lose some access or control over those assets. Since every situations is different, the objective of limiting liability and asset protection should be thoroughly discussed with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney.
Q. What is Probate?
A. Probate is a court supervised process which distributes the decedent’s estate property to the intended beneficiaries, satisfies creditors, and formally transfers title of property. Although probate can be a long and cumbersome process, it can limit the time the estate is exposed to creditor claims, protect homestead rights, and make for a more secure and thoughtful transition of estate assets. However, probate can be avoided in most cases with appropriated prior planning with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney.
Q. If I own real estate in Florida and Illinois will I have to open probate in both states?
A. Yes, typically, a formal probate administration would be opened in the state that the decedent was domiciled and an ancillary probate administration, see Florida Statute § 734.102, would be required to distribute real property located out of state. However, probate can be avoided by proper preparation with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney that can result in assets transferred by way of a trust or by an operation of law using the appropriate deed instruments.
Q. I’m moving to become a Florida Resident, do I need new Estate Planning documents?
A. Not necessarily. You should discuss your objectives and have your old estate planning documents reviewed by an experienced Estate Planning attorney. More than likely you would want to update your documents due to the change in life situation and also take advantage of some aspects of Florida law. Some documents could be acceptable whereas some others may not be.
Estate & Trust Administration
The death of a loved one is an extremely challenging time for a family – both emotionally and legally. The experienced estate and trust administration attorneys at Kanetksy, Moore & DeBoer are available to assist clients with the legal challenges presented at this difficult time – including the administration of the decedent’s estate.
This process can involve the probate of a will, added administration of a revocable trust, the collection of insurance proceeds, and title transfer on financial accounts and real property. Tax issues and distribution of assets held in pension and profit sharing plans are other concerns at this time.
Probate is the legal process by which a person’s debts are paid and assets are distributed upon her or his death. Estate Administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased’s assets. Individual state laws direct the probate court how to distribute the deceased’s estate. State laws and procedures vary greatly, so, it is important to consult a firm with expertise in this area of law to ensure that the deceased’s assets are distributed correctly.
We assist clients with all of these legal needs, providing comprehensive estate and trust administration services, including notice to trust beneficiaries, trust accounting, and trust inventory assessments. Although coping with the death of a family member is never easy, our compassionate and experienced attorneys make every effort to alleviate the legal worries facing our clients, making the estate and trust administration process as stress free as possible.
To learn more about the representation you’ll receive from Kanetsky, Moore & DeBoer’s experienced estate and trust administration attorneys, contact us.
Business & Corporate
At Kanetsky, Moore & DeBoer, our business and corporate law attorneys have been providing effective legal counsel to business owners in the Venice area for decades.
Recognized by the community and colleagues as experienced, skilled, and ethical, our business and corporate lawyers offer dedicated representation to business clients throughout Southwest Florida.
Kanetsky, Moore & DeBoer’s comprehensive representation includes legal services to business owners in the design, formation, operation, and sale of an exhaustive variety of business entities. We can help whether you’re:
starting a business
selling a business
financing a new or expanding enterprise
preparing and negotiating business contracts
creating a business succession plan
navigating management and operational changes
The business and corporate law attorneys at Kanetsky, Moore & DeBoer possess the broad experience and extensive resources to get the job done.