Palatka Estate Planning Lawyer Helping You Secure Your Assets and Your Future
At Douglas Law Firm, we help Floridians gain the confidence that comes with knowing there is a plan in place for how their assets will be distributed and loved ones cared for in the event they pass away. Work with a Palatka estate planning lawyer to draft a Will and explore a full range of other estate planning legal tools that may be used to avoid Florida’s probate process.
An estate plan will provide many benefits to your loved ones. First, your estate plan will help you distribute your assets in the way you see fit. Your estate plan can also help you protect the assets you have earned over the course of your life. In addition, an estate plan can clarify your wishes if you become disabled or incapacitated. The best way to accomplish these goals is by working closely with a knowledgeable, experienced Palatka estate planning lawyer. At Douglas Law Firm, we help families develop effective estate planning strategies serving the Palatka, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville area.
Our Palatka estate planning attorneys have exceptional knowledge. We also recognize that building strong client relationships is key to our success. Our lawyers and staff provide our clients with the personal attention they need. By doing so, we can customize your estate plan exactly to your needs.
If you have been named the personal representative (also known as executor or administrator) of a loved one's estate, we can help you perform the many duties associated with this role.
How a Palatka Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help You & Your Family
An effective estate plan has a number of benefits. For the person whose assets are covered by the plan, it provides that peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have made your own choices about where those assets will go when you die rather than leaving it up to a judge to decide. For your loved ones, an estate plan can offer another layer of financial security in the event of your death.
At Douglas Law Firm, we know that every person’s situation is different. We also appreciate that end-of-life planning can be uncomfortable and the legal issues it raises can be complicated. Every Palatka estate planning lawyer at our firm takes the time to understand each client’s specific circumstances and goals and fully explain their rights and options without confusing legal jargon. We also tailor a unique estate planning strategy to meet those goals.
Our attorneys combine decades of experience as trusted legal advisors to provide comprehensive and personalized estate planning services. Make an appointment to learn more about how a Palatka estate planning lawyer can assist you and your family.
Common Palatka Estate Planning Lawyer Tools
A Palatka estate planning lawyer at Douglas Law Firm can help you understand the various estate planning tools available and craft a plan to ensure your rights and assets are protected including:
- Wills: These binding legal documents designate how your property will be distributed in the event of death. They also often name a personal representative, the person tasked with ensuring that the Will is carried out and that any creditors are paid by the estate.
- Revocable Living Trusts: A living trust is a popular alternative to a will that allows you to avoid the probate court process required to carry out the will.
- Special Needs Trusts: These documents are written in a way to provide for children and other loved ones with special needs while also ensuring that they remain eligible for various government disability and other benefits.
- Powers of Attorney: These tools authorize someone else to make key financial and other decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacitation.
- Health Care Directives: Various legal instruments can be used to decide the type of medical care you want to receive - and the care some don’t want to receive - in the event you cannot make that decision in the future. They can also be used to designate a representative to make those decisions for you.
Fundamental Questions About Estate Planning
Who Should Inherit Your Assets? If you are married, you must consider marital rights before deciding who should inherit your assets. If you die without a will or living trust, state law dictates how much passes to your spouse. Once you've considered your spouses rights, ask yourself these questions:
- Should your children share equally in your estate?
- Do you wish to include grandchildren or others as beneficiaries?
- Would you like to leave any assets to charity?
Which Assets Should Your Survivors Inherit? Below are some special questions to consider when transferring certain types of assets.
- If you own rental properties, should all beneficiaries inherit them?
- Do they all have the ability to manage property?
- What are each beneficiary's cash needs?
- If you own a business, should the stock pass only to your children who are active in the business?
When and How Should They Inherit the Assets? Below are some things to consider:
- The potential age and maturity of the beneficiaries should be considered.
- The size of your estate versus your and your spouse's need for income during your lifetimes, and
- The tax implications of your estate plan.
Every Palatka estate planning lawyer on our team has had significant success in helping clients plan for the future using these and other estate planning options.
CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUSTS
A Charitable Remainder Trust normally is used as a strategy for converting highly appreciated assets into income producing assets, without income tax liability. The Charitable Remainder Trust is an irrevocable trust with both charitable and non-charitable beneficiaries.
The donor transfers highly appreciated assets into the trust and retains an income interest. Upon expiration of the income interest, the remainder in the trust passes to a qualified charity of the donor’s choice.
If properly structured, the Charitable Remainder Trust permits the donor to receive income, estate, and/or gift tax advantages. These advantages often provide for a much greater income stream to the income beneficiary than would be available outside the trust.
Charitable Remainder Trust – Potential Benefits
- Eliminate Capital Gains Tax
- Tax deductible transfers to trust
- Trust income can be significantly greater than income generated outside trust
- You choose duration of income from trust
- Increased retirement income
- Eliminate estate tax on trust assets
- Preserve estate for family & heirs through survivorship policy funded with added income
- Provide charitable bequests to the causes of your choice
Those Who Would Benefit Most From a Charitable Remainder Trust May Have Some of the Following Characteristics
- Own highly appreciated assets
- Would like to reposition such assets
- In a high income tax bracket
- Subject to estate tax at death
- Have philanthropic desires
Trust a Palatka Estate Planning Lawyer To Minimize The Impact of Probate
One of the biggest concerns people have about estate planning is dealing with the probate process. Probate is costly and time-consuming. There are, however, strategies that can help you bypass the probate process. A Trust is one of the most effective ways to help your family avoid probate. Any assets placed in a trust do not have to go through the probate process. As a result, your loved ones will have access to these assets quickly.
We prepare all kinds of Trusts, such as Living Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. When appropriate, we will also help you prepare your Last Will and Testament and Advance Directives. Every step we take in the estate planning process will be geared toward protecting your assets and achieving your goals.
Planning For End-Of-Life Issues
Another major concern associated with estate planning involves end-of-life planning. We also help families create Advance Health Care Directives, Living Wills, Health Care Surrogates, and other documents to make certain that our clients' wishes are carried out. By planning now, you can help avoid disagreements between your loved ones.
Contact a Palatka Estate Planning Lawyer Today and Get Started on Your Estate Plans
Call 800-705-5457 to set up your free initial consultation. A Palatka estate planning lawyer can meet with you at your home if you cannot travel to us. We look forward to helping you and your family with your estate planning needs. Contact us today.