| Estate Planning

Timing is everything. It’s easy to put off life planning decisions, but sometimes life doesn’t happen the way we expect. For your family, it’s important to decide what will happen to your assets and who will manage your financial and health care decisions well in advance of the instance an untimely event arises. Some strategic planning now can save you and your beneficiaries substantial frustration, and emotional or financial hardship in the future.

Everyone has an estate. Your estate includes everything you own at the time of your passing, and your estate is not simply limited to real estate, funds in your bank accounts, or life insurance. Estate Plans can include everything from issues identifying remarriage, creditor protection, protecting family members with special needs, and even caring for pets after you are gone. To pass away without a valid Will, Trust or some method of an Estate Plan, typically means that you die intestate, and that your estate is then divided and distributed pursuant to a statute  (a Florida law) which may not reflect your wishes. This means that your estate will go through probate and can be far more costly than simply administering your estate plan following your will, or even avoiding probate through a trust or other planning technique. If you are not certain how your estate plan will be implemented upon your death or disability, and how your family and assets will be affected, we encourage you to contact our office for a consultation.

There are many components involved in creating a comprehensive and effective estate plan. Many of these issues may be accomplished by you without the assistance of an attorney.  We will advise you how to get that done.  Your particular estate plan may be simple, and economical.  Depending upon the size and complexity of your estate, and your particular circumstances, some combination of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, or an Enhanced Life Estate Deed, may be needed to accomplish the goals of distributing your estate in a way which minimizes or completely avoids the legal costs of probate, and maximizes the tax advantages available to you and your heirs. Other important matters that must also be taken into account often include issues of asset protection and business succession planning. We counsel our clients that utmost consideration should be given to durable powers of attorney and advance directives which should be included in any estate plan to ensure that your health care and financial affairs are appropriately managed during any period of incapacity that may experience temporarily or permanently.

Stephen Willis has more than 30 years of experience in assisting clients in minimizing their estate planning needs, and providing appropriate cost-effective estate planning and asset protection planning to those clients requiring more detailed planning in relation to their estates.

We provide legal advice and assistance relating to the drafting of:

  • Your Last Will & Testament
  • Codicils (Amendments) to Your Last Will & Testament
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Specific and General Powers of Attorney
  • Revocable Family Trusts
  • Irrevocable Family Trusts
  • Directives to Physicians and Medical Providers
  • Quitclaim Deeds and Lady Bird Deeds

Stephen Willis can also represent you, and assist you in any probate litigation matter relating to the probate of a decedent’s Will, or in relation to the administration of a Trust that may be the subject of litigation.

For an initial consultation relating to an estate planning or probate matter, call our office for an appointment.

Stephen Clinton Willis
Attorney at Law
(850) 835-7083

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