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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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