Estate planning is the process of forecasting and arranging for the short-term and long-term needs of either your family or your intentions for the distribution of your personal property and assets after you die. Even if you do not have an immediate family but have specific desires for the disbursement of your assets, such as a donation to a favorite public institution, it is essential that your specific wishes be expressed in a legal context using legal instruments such as a will or a trust. This also provides you with an opportunity to minimize the sizeable expenses that can be passed on to your heirs or designated recipients.
Properly planning your estate with the assistance of an attorney is among the greatest services you can provide to your family in the event of sudden death. Estates may be carefully planned through the establishment of a will or a trust. Both wills and trusts are complicated legal instruments with regard to opportunities to reduce taxes and other costs, such as probate court fees, for your designated heirs. Our seasoned attorneys have the experience to help you determine which legal instrument is the most appropriate for your individual needs.
Trusts and Wills
At Eastham Law Offices, we specialize in the drafting of both trusts and will – and we make sure that you understand the differences between these two legal instruments to ensure you will make the best decisions for your estate. For instance, a trust will enable your heirs to avoid the probate court process, which can be a significant advantage. Assets placed in a trust are immediately accessible to the trustee whereas assets left to beneficiaries of wills cannot be formally distributed until the probate process has been completed. Probate is a court-supervised legal progress wherein the court manages the distribution of a deceased person’s estate – and it is a process, which makes demands on both the time and finances of your heirs. If the deceased had a will, the probate courts of Florida will interpret the will to ensure that all debts and claims are resolved and that any remaining assets are distributed as intended by the decedent. If a trust is drafted by Eastham Law Offices, the assets in the trust are immediately transferred to the trustee upon the death of the trustor (also known as the “settlor”) and probate is avoided. Additionally, while it is unusual for a trust to be contested, in the event that there is a legal dispute, it would be unlikely that the assets would be frozen until resolution. When a will is contested, the court generally freezes all assets until the matter is settled. This scenario can be avoided through the establishment of a trust.
At Eastham Law Offices, we also specialize in drafting wills. It is important to know that a will can be revoked at any time, whereas some trusts may be irrevocable.This means that at any point, even at the very end of life, an individual may revoke or rewrite his or her will. Not only are there advantages to each type of estate planning instrument (wills and trusts), but some estates require both a will and a trust to ensure that all needs and desires are met. This is why is it imperative to enlist the counsel of a qualified attorney with experience and knowledge, most especially as it pertains to Florida state law, when you plan your estate. At Eastham Law Offices, we understand that some individuals may find peace of mind knowing that their wishes are set in stone while others may want the option to change the terms of the trust as they navigate the various chapters of their lives.