Palm Beach Gardens Estate Planning Lawyer for Wills, Trusts, & Estate Plans
Many Floridians mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for families with sizable estates and significant assets. Comprehensive estate planning, however, is not about how much money an individual has. Instead, a customized estate plan and sound asset protection strategy can help safeguard hard-earned assets during life and ensure that an estate is distributed to loved ones in accordance with a decedent’s wishes. Regardless of whether your estate is worth $20,000 or $20 million, it is vital to plan for the future.
As Palm Beach Gardens estate planning attorneys, we can construct a comprehensive and pragmatic estate plan that will allow you to protect your assets throughout life and ensure your desired asset distribution after death.
At The Karp Law Firm, we draw on our decades of experience in crafting affordable and customized estate plans that seek to reduce or eliminate taxes, avoid probate when possible, protect the assets of loved ones with special needs, and distribute assets in accordance with a client’s wishes. Call today to schedule a consultation to learn more about developing an estate plan that meets your objectives and protects your family and future generations.
Serving Palm Beach Gardens and the surrounding communities, including Riviera Beach, North Palm Beach, Juno Ridge, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Abacoa, The Acreage, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Lantana, Boynton Beach, and throughout Florida.
Is An Estate Plan Beneficial During Life?
Estate planning tools can be utilized to protect an individual in the event they suffer a debilitating, catastrophic injury and cannot make decisions, or have a terminal health condition and cannot express their wishes regarding the healthcare they would like to receive.
When a person loses the capacity to make health and welfare decisions, loved ones are often forced to seek a costly guardianship or conservatorship to obtain the right to oversee the incapacitated person’s affairs. However, this process can typically be bypassed through a healthcare power of attorney (also known as a healthcare surrogate). With a Florida healthcare power of attorney, an individual can designate an agent who will be entitled to make decisions regarding care, welfare, and end-of-life decisions should they suffer an injury or illness and are no longer able to communicate.
What Is a Florida Living Will or Advanced Directive?
A living will is a type of that allows a person to specify the end-of-life care they would like to receive should they experience a terminal event and can no longer express their wishes. For example, an individual could stipulate that life support be provided; alternatively, they could decline life-saving measures and opt only for medication to address pain.
What Documents Are Included in A Comprehensive Florida Estate Plan?
A comprehensive estate plan can consist of some (or all) of the following estate planning tools, last will and testament, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, healthcare and property powers of attorney, and an advance directive/living will.
The following describes these matters:
- Last Will and Testament. A will sets forth the people, charities, and other beneficiaries who will receive estate assets upon a testator’s death, as well as precisely what assets each beneficiary will receive. It’s important to understand that a will only controls assets owned by a person at death – it does not control assets held in trust or that are subject to other transfer mechanisms, such as property owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. A Last Will and Testament also designates the personal representative (also known as the executor) who will administer the estate.
- Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts. Trusts can be valuable estate planning tools during a person’s lifetime and can continue after death. They can also provide for matters such as limited payouts to minor children if the person creating the trust dies before the children reach a specified age.
- Special Needs Trusts. Many children with special needs require lifelong care, which can come at an exorbitant cost. A special needs trust can be utilized to help enhance the life of a child while ensuring that full government benefits remain accessible. The Special Needs Trust is usually created in advance as a vessel that will receive funds (for example, insurance proceeds) after the creator’s death and be used to benefit the individual with special needs.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney (also known as Healthcare Surrogate). A healthcare power of attorney can be used to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions if a person becomes incapacitated and cannot make their wishes known.
- Durable Property Power of Attorney. A durable property power of attorney gives an agent (“attorney in fact”) the authority to access and manage financial assets.
- Living Wills. A living will is a type of advance directive. It is a written statement detailing a person’s wishes regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they can no longer make their wishes known. A living will applies if a person has sustained an injury or medical event that is likely to lead to death, and they cannot communicate their care wishes. In such case, an individual can make known in the advance directive/living will the care that they would like to receive; which can range from life-prolonging treatment to only palliative care to relieve pain.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning, as the needs and objectives of each person and family vary significantly. As such, some clients may benefit from a few of these estate planning tools, while others may significantly benefit from a strategy that incorporates them all.
Protect Your Assets and Family – Schedule A Consultation with An Experienced Palm Beach Gardens Estate Planning Attorney.
As estate planning attorneys with decades of combined experience serving Palm Beach Gardens and the surrounding communities, we can help create an effective will and estate plan that is right for you and your family. Please call our office to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about your options for safeguarding assets, providing for loved ones, and ensuring your wishes are followed.