Law Office of Peter C. Limberis

Personal Service in Estate Planning, Probate,  and  Personal Injury

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

 

Will your Estate be a gift or a burden to your heirs? Many of Florida's residents have little or no  estate  planning.  Some residents either have been given bad advice about their estate planning needs or are reluctant to do anything about it until it is too late.

 

Did you know that lack of estate planning could result in unnecessary guardianship (court) proceedings while you are alive and probate (court) proceedings after your death? There may be unnecessary confusion and stress (with guardianship) and exorbitant costs and undue delays (with probate). Providing you have a functional supportive family, you can minimize the risks of guardianship and probate by creating and implementing effective estate planning.

 

What do we mean by effective estate planning? Well, each individual or couple is unique. There exists an estate plan that better suits your particular situation than others. By and large, the majority of Florida residents need an uncomplicated estate plan, which may include: a living trust,  pour-over  will, power  of attorney, health care surrogate appointments and living wills. For many, a combination of some or all of these documents plus good investment counseling will leave them most able to provide for their needs and the needs of their family. Larger estates may require additional documents to take advantage of existing tax laws such as AB Trusts, Q-Tip Trusts,  Life-Insurance Trusts,  Skip-a-Generation Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Family  Limited  Partnerships,  Land  Trusts and a host of  other trusts and estate planning devices are available.

 

Estate Planning includes not only making financial and legal decisions, but also emotional ones such as funeral directives and health care planning. With prearranged planning for funeral services, you can ease the burden of having your children make a very emotional decision.

And, an effective Estate Plan would not be complete without considering nursing home or long term care, health planning.

 

The Law Office of Peter C. Limberis focuses on assisting Florida residents to select and implement the best estate plan for them.  Consultations are free of charge.

 

Investment Consultation

 

We integrate our complete estate plan with investment consultation provided by qualified independent financial and investment professionals to enable a client to have " a true comprehensive estate plan ." Proper estate planning documents need to be funded with profitable, growth and income oriented assets. It is especially good if you can be educated by qualified financial consultants who aren't out for a fast buck. We take great care to recommend qualified professionals who share our philosophy of creating an informed client. There is just no substitute to understanding what you own and how it will be managed in the event of your incapacity or death. To the extent that you have the time, we will work along with  independent financial experts to educate you about every phase of your estate plan. After all an estate plan is only good to you if you are able to accomplish your life's goals and post-life 's purposes.

 

Funeral and Cemetery Planning

 

Besides taxes and medical  bills, funeral payments  are one of the biggest  expenses family members must confront with a loved one's death. To avoid high costs and the  emotional stress of choosing a funeral  service, casket, headstone, flowers,  etc., we strongly recommend advance arrangements with  a reputable  qualified funeral home and memorial  garden or cemetery.

 

Estate Administration and Probate

 

If needed,  we can and will  assist you to efficiently probate  an estate, the court process of distributing your assets and paying your creditors, with or without a Last Will & Testament, upon your death. We also can administer both testamentary  and trust estates. Why pay  annual percentage fees to banks and financial institutions?  Our firm will negotiate an hourly  rate or flat rate to perform those same services (to be charged  only when  work is required).  Those who don't have family  or close friends can utilize  our estate administration  services (which  includes investment consultation  as described above ). We adhere strictly to prudent  investor rules and applicable Florida Statutes. Enclosed herein, please find the Attorney's Fee Schedule for Probate from Florida Statute 733.6171 Be aware that some attorneys charge more than the Florida Statute Schedule. Our firm charges according to the Statute and many times less than the Statute fees.

 

Home and Hospital Bedside Services

 

We are on-call for your immediate needs. Many times we have executed documents in hospital rooms, homes and retirement facilities. 90% of our clients prefer a home visit to an office visit. So in 1992, we began a home and hospital bedside service at no additional charge to our clients. It also gives us a chance to get out of our office.

 

Estate Contests

 

The two major areas that disgruntled  heirs are successful  in estate contests are challenges to mental capacity  or assertions of undue influence at the time of preparation  and execution of an estate plan. Our office works  closely with qualified psychiatrists and psychologists to do competency  evaluations, examinations  and reports where competency  or undue influence may be an issue.


DO YOU HAVE AN ESTATE PLAN?

 

  • WHAT IF you become incapacitated? Who will take care of you?

 

  • WHAT IF you can no longer handle paying your bills? Who can be trusted to do it for you?

 

  • WHAT IF you can no longer handle your money? Who might take advantage of you?

 

  • WHAT IF you worried about privacy? How can you protect yourself?

 

  • WHAT IF an accident occurs? Would you want an impersonal court- appointed guardian or you or your children?

 

  • WHAT IF assets from probate were held up for over 18 months? Would this cause financial hardship for the recipients?

 

A revocable living trust package can secure the future of all the above and more. Asset management can help you maintain your control through incapacity and redistribution of you wealth. You can learn how to secure your future.

 


Revocable Living Trust

 

A revocable living trust or inter-vivos trust is a written declaration in which you state that you, the "grantor" or "settlor", or creator of this document, are transferring your qualified property into a living  trust for the benefit of yourself during your lifetime (lifetime beneficiary) and then after your death to the benefit of your heirs (remainder beneficiaries). You can name yourself, another person, or an institution such as a bank as the "trustee" to  manage  and control the assets you place  in trust  during your lifetime. You also name a backup or successor trustee  to  manage   your trust assets should you  become  unable  to  do  so  and  to  distribute  the assets according to your wishes after your death.

 

Pour Over Will

 

This Will is used with a Revocable Living Trust as a backup for those assets which have not been titled (either intentionally or by mistake) in the name of the Revocable Living Trust. Any asset not held in the Revocable Living Trust at the time of  death  will  be  placed  ("poured over") into  the Revocable Living Trust, but only after probate  has  been completed for that asset(s). Your Revocable Living Trust becomes the beneficiary of your Pour Over Will .


Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

 

A power of attorney (POA) is an instrument in writing where by one person  (the principal)  appoints another his /her agent and confers authority to perform  certain specified acts or kinds of acts on behalf of the principal. Black's Law Dictionary.  In other words, you're allowing your named agent to step in your shoes and act on your behalf. However, in 2011, the Florida Legislators passed a new statute regarding Powers of Attorney, effective October 1, 2011. This new Florida Power of Attorney Act now more closely conforms to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act enacted by many other states.


The new Act states an Agent may only exercise authority that was "specifically" granted to him/her by the principal. And, certain powers called "enumerated powers" (7 such powers) can be performed by the agent only if the principal signed or initialed his/her name next to each enumeration in order for the power to be effective.


We invite you to sit down with us to go over your old Power of Attorney as there have been many changes enacted by the new law.

 

A Durable Power of Attorney, on the other hand, continues to function even with the incapacity of the person who granted the power. This document must expressly state that it is a durable power with the granting of authority surviving your incapacity.

Our Durable Power of Attorney documents also includes the Health Surrogate provisions that allows your agent to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Living Will

 

Not to be confused with a Living Trust, a Living Will is actually a Dying Declaration stating you either want to be kept alive by artificial means or not be kept alive by such procedures. If your death is  imminent with no hope of recovery, or you are in a persistent vegetative state, or at the end stage of your life, you need to state through this living will document whether you wish to have your death prolonged, not your life, but your death, by artificial means. For example, do you want to have food and water given to you intravenously while you are in a comatose state? Do you want certain diagnostic or surgical procedures performed  during this period of imminent death? Do you know the difference between a Do Not Resuscitate Order and a Living Will Order? Our Living Will addresses these issues and many others.


Funding a Living Trust

A revocable living trust is invalid unless you transfer (fund) those qualified assets into the trust; otherwise, your revocable living trust is nothing more than a testamentary trust, a trust that is funded after time of death. If your revocable living trust is not "funded" before time of death, your assets will be probated and your trust will become the beneficiary of those probated assets through the pour over will.

 

Advanced Estate Planning

A Revocable Living Trust avoids probate (a state court proceeding in which your assets are distributed  to your beneficiaries  and your  creditors paid) and  guardianship  (a state court proceeding naming a guardian over your person and I or your property  upon  determination  that you're incapacitated  to handle your affairs or care for yourself) . A Revocable Living Trust does  not  avoid taxes, nor protect your  assets from creditors and lawsuits.

If your estate is over 4.5 million dollars or approaching that amount, you need to consider estate planning to avoid or reduce your estate taxes, income or capital gains taxes, and to protect your assets against creditors. Some of the estate planning tools used to meet these objectives are the AB Trust, Life Insurance or Wealth Replacement Trust, The Family Limited Partnership, the Charitable Remainder Unit Trust.


Other Trusts, such as Pet Trusts, Gun Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, IRA Trusts, Spendthrift Trusts, are all available depending on your needs and plans.

 

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. If we can answer any questions for you, please call.


Seminars  and Lectures


We regularly conduct free seminars and lectures of Estate Planning topics for groups, associations and clubs as a public service to our community. If you would like Mr. Limberis to speak to your group, we will be happy to set up a presentation that will suit your needs.

 

If you have an interest in any or all of our complete estate planning services, call us toll free 1-888-335-1529 (out of county or out of state) or 352-592-9003(local). We will be happy to assist you. All consultations are free and we review existing estate planning documents free of charge.

 

Main Office located at: 2621 Forest Road, Spring Hill, FL 34606