Estate Planning in all areas of Wealth Protection Services
Gallese Law Firm of Port St. Lucie and Stuart Florida is staffed by legal professionals, who focus on estate planning and wealth protection. We understand the emotional and financial impact of a death and the need to eliminate expensive probate and court interference, provide quick distribution of your assets, designate guardians for your children, reduce or eliminate estate taxes and to ensure privacy of your financial affairs.
An estate plan is comprised of one or more documents that provide you with control over the decisions about your loved ones and financial affairs in the event of your death or incapacity. Such documents include wills, living trusts, powers of attorney, and living wills. A good Estate Plan has three main goals: (1) to pass your property to the people you choose, (2) to reduce or eliminate expenses, taxes, court interference and wasted time during the transfer of the property, and (3) eliminate the ability for others to interfere in your decisions.
Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Many people believe that only the very wealthy need an Estate Plan. However, anyone who owns any property – a home, a car, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, jewelry, clothing, household goods, etc., or has minor children or has a desire to ensure that your loved ones and financial affairs are taken care of needs an estate plan. Your age, marital status, or wealth doesn’t matter when considering whether or not you need to plan your estate.
Whatever the size of your estate, you should designate the person who, in the event of your incapacity, will have the responsibility for the management of your assets and your care, including the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf. How that is accomplished is discussed below in this pamphlet.
If your estate is small in value, you may focus simply upon who is to receive your assets after your death and who should be in charge of its management and distribution. If your estate is larger, your lawyer will discuss with you not only who is to receive your assets and when, but also various ways to preserve your assets for your beneficiaries and to reduce or postpone the amount of estate tax which otherwise might be payable on your death.
If one does no planning, then Florid law provides for the court appointment of persons to take responsibility for your personal care and assets. Florida also provides for the distribution of assets in your name to your heirs pursuant to a set of rules to be followed if you die without a will; this is known as “intestate succession.” Contrary to popular myth, if you die without a will, everything does not automatically go to the state. If you have any relatives (whether through your own family or that of your spouse), regardless of how remote, they will be your heirs ahead of the state. Nonetheless, they may not be the people you would want to inherit from you; therefore, a will is the preferable approach.
For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions for Estate Planning or you can contact us and one of our professional legal staff members will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our firm handles estate planning, trusts and wills for clients in the state of Florida and on the Treasure Coast. Please contact the Gallese Law Stuart Florida law office at 772-220-2088