Have you taken the proper steps to protect your assets?

Are you aware that you can avoid becoming nursing home impoverished?

Are you aware of the benefits that may be available to Veterans and their family?

Contact us to arrange for a free consultation.

Practice

Below is a list of the areas
we practice in.

Frequently Asked

Q: Why a Trust?

A:  When a decedent establishes a Revocable Trust during their lifetime, then upon their death, the Successor Trustee makes distribution of the Trust assets in accordance with the Trust Agreement.  If you create a Revocable Trust and properly fund it by re-titling your assets in the name of the Trust, then your estate will not be subject to probate proceedings.

Additionally, the Successor Trustee may pay any enforceable claims of the decedent’s creditors and any federal estate taxes payable from the Trust assets. All tasks which must be performed by a Personal Representative named under a decedent’s Last Will and Testament are instead performed by the Successor Trustee and generally, there is no need to file any documents with the Clerk of the Court, other than the Notice of Trust.

Q: Why a Will?

A: It is preferable to have a will. A will advises every one of your final wishes as to the disposal of your assets upon your death.  Merely telling your family members how you would like your assets distributed after your death is not sufficient.  Unless you have a Last Will and Testament drawn up by a qualified attorney familiar with your financial situation or family situation, when you die, the State determines who receives your assets and in what shares. 

Without a Will, when you pass away, ALL of your assets will need to be either liquidated by your personal representative, including any, art collections, coin collections, jewelry and other items of personal property. Additionally, any items determined to have no monetary value may be disposed of.

Q: What if I already have a Will from another state?

A: Although a Will is “good” until it is changed or revoked in the manner required by law, if you have moved to Florida from another state, it is wise to have your Will reviewed by a Florida lawyer in order to be sure that it is properly executed according to the laws of Florida, that the witnesses are readily available to prove your Will in Florida, and that your personal representative is qualified to serve in Florida.

Q: What is Probate and when is it required?

A: Probate is the process by which a decedent’s assets are distributed by direction and Order of the Court either in accordance with terms of their Last Will and Testament or, if a decedent dies without a Will, in accordance with Florida State.  When an individual passes away with assets titled in their name such as a bank account, securities, real property, etc., the only way to transfer such assets to the appropriate beneficiaries is through the probate process.
There are two types of probate proceeding and which is determined by the value of the decedent’s assets and whether or not they died with outstanding financial obligations.  The decision to choose the appropriate proceeding is based on a case by case analysis.

Q: If I become ill and cannot make decisions for myself, who will make them for me?

A: It is important that your loved ones be aware of your wishes when it comes to medical choices in the event you are unable to make such decisions yourself.  Advanced directives are invaluable to the individual appointed to make such decisions on your behalf via a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Decisions, as well as a Living Will as it may pertain to end stage life decisions.  Having a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Decisions and a Living Will prevents your loved ones from having to make important decisions as what is usually a stressful and difficult time.

Additionally, if you are unable to act on your own behalf due to illness or unforeseen circumstances, it is important to have a Durable Power of Attorney appointing an individual to act as your Agent in your place and stead.  The individual will be given only those powers you desire them to have, which may include application for Medicaid and Veteran benefits, managing your finances, and performing any other such acts in accordance with your wishes.

Q: Do I need to dispose of all my assets in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits?

A: NO.  This is an area of the law that is greatly misunderstood.  Many people believe they must “spend down” their assets before they can qualify for Medicaid benefits.  Florida is a liberal state when it comes to Medicaid planning.

We have numerous planning opportunities available in order to preserve your assets.  We are able to ensure your assets are paid to the intended beneficiaries whether or not the applicant is married or if the spouse has predeceased the applicant.  We specialize in Medicaid planning and would welcome an opportunity to discuss your options.

Q: My husband was in the military, can I qualify for any benefits from the Veteran’s Administration?

A: The Veteran’s Administration offers a little known benefit called Aid and Attendance.  This benefit is available to a veteran who served during wartime and was honorably discharged.  The spouse of a veteran may also be entitled to an Aid and Attendance benefit. 

This benefit can greatly assist an individual in meeting their monthly obligations if they require assistance at home or are required to enter an assisted living facility.  While there are asset limitations, we can provide you with the proper planning which will result in an award to the individual.  The benefit continues for as long as it is needed to help support the individual.