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Winston Law PA
561-670-9375

Estate Planning

Broward County Estate Planning Lawyer

WE SERVE ALL OF SOUTH FLORIDA INCLUDING PALM BEACH COUNTY, BROWARD COUNTY AND DADE COUNTY

If you are considering writing a will or trust document, want to draft an advance directive such as a living will or designation of healthcare surrogate, need a Broward County Estate Planning Lawyer to guide you through the probate process, or have a loved one who is temporarily or permanently unable to manage their own affairs, please call Winston Law at (561) 670-9375 or email at susan@winstonlawpa.com for more information.

Estate Planning Overview
It is never too soon to begin planning your final property and health care wishes.  By using the proper estate planning tools you can make sure that your loved ones honor your final wishes and are provided for in your absence.  At Winston Law, P.A. we can help you draft estate planning documents such as Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Trusts, Trusts, Health Care Surrogate and Living Wills.

Wills
A will is a legal document controlling the disposition of property after death.  It is important to have a legally executed will to make sure your loved ones honor your final wishes and are provided for in your absence.  A will becomes final after the death of the testator (person who made the will).  At that time the court begins to administer the estate through a process called probate.  It is important to plan for how your estate will be administered before death in order to avoid questions about your intentions which can lead to a difficult and expensive probate process.

Revocable Living Trusts
A revocable living trust, also known as a living trust or a revocable trust is an estate planning tool used to manage your property so that after your death, court supervision is not required to distribute your property and assets.  In addition to putting your assets in a trust, a trustee will administer the trust.  You can appoint yourself as the trustee and name an additional trustee in the event of death or incapacity.

Irrevocable Trusts
Irrevocable trusts are trusts that remove all the rights of control and ownership of the grantor (person making the trust) over the trust and assets within the trust.  The trust cannot be modified or changed by the grantor, only the beneficiaries of the trust.  The benefits of an irrevocable trust are that it provides asset protection and tax benefits.  All assets within the trust are no longer included in the grantor’s taxable estate.

Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is an estate planning tool that allows for a designated person to manage your financial affairs such as buying and selling real estate, signing contracts, buying and selling a car, or signing tax and bank account documents. The powers of the designated agent (the party given the power) can be limited or broad depending on the language of the document.  Because a power of attorney document allows one person to act in the legal capacity of another, it is an extremely powerful document and should be written by an knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney.

Living Will
A living will is a document that allows you to determine how you want to be treated in certain medical situations.  Within a living will you can designate whether you want life-sustaining measures to be taken if you become terminally ill or have an irreversible end-stage condition.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate
A designation of healthcare surrogate allows you to name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make the decisions for yourself.  Florida law requires that designation of a health care surrogate be made in a written document in accordance with Florida Statute 765.203.

Probate
Probate is the court supervised process of identifying assets, paying off debts and distributing the remaining assets of a deceased person.  Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s property to the decedents beneficiaries and to wrap up the decedent’s financial affairs.  If the decedent left a properly executed will the court will admit the will and follow it when distributing assets.  If there is no will the court will pass ownership based on Florida law.

Guardianship
If a loved one becomes temporarily or permanently unable to manage their own financial or medical affairs due to mental or physical incapacity, Winston Law can help you by filing a guardianship proceeding.

In the State of Florida, a guardianship proceeding begins with filing a Petition to Determine Incapacity.  This petition informs the Court of the incapacitated person’s alleged lack of capacity and the daily activities the person is no longer able to perform. At the same time, a petition for appointment as guardian is filed by the person requesting to become the guardian for their loved one.  The Court will then appoint a panel of medical professionals (the Examining Committee) to evaluate the capacity of the alleged incapacitated person.   The Examining Committee will then make a recommendation as to guardianship.  The Court will also set a hearing date to make its official finding.

 

If you or a loved one need a knowledgeable and experienced Broward County Estate Planning Lawyer please contact Winston Law by calling (561)670-9375 or by emailing susan@winstonlawpa.com for your free consultation.

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