Estate Planning Attorney in Orlando
Creating an estate plan used to mean having an attorney draw up a will. But modern estate plans now accomplish much more, both during your lifetime and beyond.
Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. crafts custom estate plans that:
- Protect finances if you become incapacitated
- Avoid probate
- Reduce tax liability
- Protect minors or loved ones with special needs
- Ensure your desires for healthcare treatment are honored
- Conserve assets while establishing eligibility for public benefit programs
- Achieve other specific goals such as supporting charitable organizations
The process starts with taking the time to assess your needs. We not only develop documents to accomplish your objectives but also offer ongoing service to keep your plan up to date as your situation evolves or legal requirements change. We don’t just print out documents—we build relationships.
A Safety Net in Case of Incapacity
Many people mistakenly believe that their spouse or adult children can automatically take over for them if they become incapacitated. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The truth is they must petition a court to declare you legally incapacitated before they can access and manage your financial affairs. Bills may go unpaid and your business and living situation can quickly become precarious. The legal actions required can be lengthy, costly, and stressful.
However, if we prepare the right power of attorney documents for you, a trusted family member or friend may immediately take over for you if needed. A separate healthcare power of attorney (known as a Health Care Surrogate Designation) can be crafted to allow someone you trust to make medical decisions and authorize treatment on your behalf.
Pass Assets Efficiently and Avoid Probate
Having a will that names a trusted family member to administer your estate and divides your assets according to your plan is a useful first step, but it still leaves your loved ones stuck with the expense, delays, and confusion of the probate process. Additionally, there are legal requirements that must be followed, such as specific methods for notifying any potential creditors of your estate.
You can avoid probate by creating a revocable living trust and transferring your assets into that trust. During your lifetime, you continue to manage and use your assets as if nothing had changed, because you serve as both the beneficiary and the trustee of your own trust. However, when you pass away, your property is distributed by the Trustee to the beneficiaries based on the terms of the Trust document. Revocable living trusts offer a private, efficient means to transfer your assets.
Provide for Minor Children and Dependents with Special Needs
If you have minor children or care for a loved one with special needs, your estate plan must have the right components to meet their future needs if something should happen to you. We can work with you to develop a plan to name a guardian and establish trusts to provide for their care and maintenance. We can even establish a trust to meet the future needs of your beloved pets.
Experienced estate planning attorneys know how to use many different types of trusts to help conserve assets from government intrusion or dissipation both during your lifetime and after you pass away. Trusts can allow assets or income to be used but not be counted for tax purposes or eligibility for public benefits such as Medicaid.
Different types of trusts accomplish specific goals such as supporting charitable causes or providing for the needs of a loved one. Depending on your situation, it might be wise to consider a:
- Spendthrift trust
- Grantor retained annuity trust
- Qualified personal residence trust
- Education trust
- Charitable remainder trust
- Irrevocable life insurance trust
- Intentionally defective grantor trust
There are nearly limitless possibilities when it comes to trust arrangements, so by taking the time to thoroughly understand your objectives, we can tailor a plan to meet your specific goals.
A thoughtful estate plan will include provisions for your healthcare needs as well as financial concerns. In addition to a medical power of attorney, we can prepare a living will to specify your wishes for future medical care and a HIPAA authorization to allow family members access to medical information or enable them to assist with insurance and Medicare issues.
Talk to Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys to Learn More About Your Options
Sawyer & Sawyer, P.A. can prepare or evaluate and update your estate plan so that it serves you now and in the future. In addition, we offer Sawyer Support services to meet your needs as changes arise. Contact us for a confidential consultation to learn how we could assist.