Planning for your future can help protect your assets and ensure their smooth transfer to your heirs. However, estate planning can be a complicated process. There are two primary vehicles for estate planning: Last Wills and Testaments, or simply a Will, and  a Trust. Each legal instrument is governed by Florida State Law for Florida residents. Other documents to consider are: a Living Will, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, Power of Attorney, Pour Over Will, and Quit Claim Deed to cover all your estate needs addressed below.

What is a Will?

A Will is an imperative document where the procurer, or testator, has established how he or she wishes their assets to be distributed upon their passing. The Testator will appoint an executor of the estate within the terms of the Will. The executor of the estate then oversees the administration of the Testator’s assets after the Testator's death pursuant to the Will’s instruction. A Will can be destroyed or amended by the Testator by following specific requirements under Florida law however, they cannot be altered after the Testator passes.

What is a Trust?

With a Trust, the Testator transfers the assets while he is still alive. However, rather than transfer them to his heirs and beneficiaries, he transfers the assets to a trust. Usually, but not always, a Testator appoints himself the trustee so that he can maintain control over the assets while he is alive. Once he or she passes, the person named as the successor trustee takes control of the assets and is responsible for transferring them to the heirs named in the Trust.

What is the Difference between a Will and Trust?

There are two main differences between a Last Will and Testament and a Trust. An executor of a Will must file the Will in probate court and transfer assets through the probate process. With a Trust, the successor trustee does not have to go through probate court, and can make asset transfers without court supervision. Accordingly, a Trust may save the estate money by not having to pay out probate costs. It is also important to keep in mind, without court supervision, there is is little accountability if assets are transferred improplerly. The second major difference is, in Florida, when a Will is probated, the Will and other court documents become public record. In a Trust, this does not occur, making a Trust a desirable option for those individuals who value privacy. However, if there are assets left with the estate not named in the Trust, the assets will be devised according to Florida intestacy laws. Generally, a Pour Over Will is necessary to ensure all assets are devised pursuant to the Testator's intent.

Using Both:

While creating a trust helps avoid probate, some people use both a Will and a Trust. In such a case, any assets that are not legally transferred to a trust must be probated to effect their transfer.

  • For example, if one has not transferred stocks or properties obtained after he or she has created a Living Trust, those assets will have to go through probate.

Florida Firearm Trusts:

Gaining much popularity in recent years, especially in Florida, are  title II class 3 weapons. A title II class 3 weapon includes: short barrel riffles with a barrel length less than 16 inches or an overall length of 26 inches, short barrel shotguns with a barrel length less than 18 inches of overall length less than 26 inches, suppressors, fully automatic firearms. To legally own a title II weapon, the holder must apply and be approved by the American Tobacco and Firearms Agency, or ATF. The benefits of having a trust for your title II class 3 weapon include no CLEO signature required, no annual fees, the trust document does not expire, but most importantly allows for the immediate and legal transfer of your weapon upon your death or even a divorce. Violation of the National Firearms Act may result in substantial fines, criminal charges, and forfeiture of your weapon. Although many Florida revocable trusts hold firearms, most are in violation of the National Firearms Act. Weapons cannot be distributed like other assets would be upon the creator’s death.  Thus specific vehicles are necessary for their smooth and legal transfer. A firearm trust is tailored to the National Firearms Act to ensure the efficient and legal holding and transfer of your delicate assets.

Session and Pricing:

**One of the most heavily litigated issues are form prenuptial agreements, wills, and trusts. I advise never to use a basic form for my clients. I prepare each document soley for an individual client's specific needs. These forms leave clients unprotected and create a financial burden in the future for most who gamble with them.**

  • Basic Will: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A basic Last Will and Testement is $589.99 which covers the majority of client's needs. Costs will be revisited at the end of session one to ensure each client is informed and comfortable moving forward. 

 

  • Living Will: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A Living Will is $75.00 with the creation of an estate portfolio, $175.00 alone, and covers final wishes including, life support, DNR, and final arrangements.

 

  • Designation of Healthcare Surrogate: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is $75.00  with the creation of an estate portfolio, $175.00 alone, and allows a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are ever unable to do so.

Combine: Will, Living Will, 
& Healthcare Surrogate.....$689.00

  • Power of Attorney: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A Power of Attorney is $75.00 with the creation of an estate portfolio, $175.00 alone, and allows a trusted person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are ever unable to do so.

 

  • Basic Trust: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A basic trust  is $589.99 which covers the majority of client's needs. Costs will be revisited at the end of session one to ensure each client is informed and comfortable moving forward.  
    • Pour Over Will:  Often necessary when creating a Trust, a Pour Over Will will be discussed simoultaneaously with discussions regarding a Trust. A Pour Over Will is $189.00.

 

  • Florida Firearm Trust: Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A basic Florida Gun Trust  is $205.00 which covers the majority of client's needs. Costs will be revisited at the end of session one to ensure each client is informed and comfortable moving forward.  

Purchase two Florida Firearm Trusts, 
receive a complimentary third.

  • Notarization:  Florida law requires a Last Will and Testament or Trust be properly notarized.  Notarization is $10.00

 

  • Quit Claim Deed: A quitclaim deed  is a special deed form that transfers property with no warranty of title thus no guarantees the owner has an interest in the property or has good title to the property. A Quit Claim Deed is $205.00. If you would like my to record your deed for you, in Broward County, I can do so for an additional $90.00.

Please be advised, a deposit is require at the completion of the initial meeting.