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Estate planning ensures that your property and assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes. There are many different estate planning tools that can benefit you depending on your property, concerns, and desires. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Mark Shalloway and the attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., have helped thousands of clients with estate planning, including drafting wills and trusts. Because there are tax consequences, legal implications, and other issues that arise during estate planning, you should always seek legal counsel in order to safeguard your assets and meet your estate planning needs.
When it comes to estate planning, we immediately think of drafting trusts or a will. To the contrary, estate planning involves a careful review of your assets and property as well as considering your health to prepare documents that will interact with one another in the event your health deteriorates or upon death. Estate planning documents include powers of attorney (financial and health care), trusts, wills, living wills, do not resuscitate orders, and others.
Trusts are valuable tools to help avoid probate. Probate is the court process by which a person’s assets and property are distributed. Probate, unlike trusts, require mandatory court involvement, and distribution of assets can be costly and time consuming due to court requirements and waiting periods. Florida courts impose statutory fees for administrating estates through probate. These fees will come out of the estate, which means less money to your beneficiaries. Trusts, on the other hand, allow for smooth and private handling of asset distribution with no or limited court involvement. Revocable or living trusts are trusts that are created during the grantor’s lifetime and can be amended or revoked. Revocable trusts are helpful in avoiding probate and will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes upon death. However, revocable trusts will not help you qualify for Medicaid or protect your assets in event you need long-term care in a nursing home. In the event of disability, you or a loved one may need a Special Needs Trust. Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., are experienced estate planning attorneys who will help you determine which type of trust is best for your life situation. Depending on age, health, and financial situation, certain trusts may be better suited for you.
Wills are an important part of the estate planning process and are designed as a straightforward document listing your wishes upon death. A will, unlike a trust, will not protect you from the probate process. Even if you have a will, your will must be administrated in probate just as if you died without a will (called dying “intestate”). If you have a trust, then you will still have a will called a “pour over will,” which means that the will acts as a catch-all to distribute any assets outside the trust to “pour” into your trust and then be distributed according to the terms of the trust.
Avoiding the probate process is ideal, and the attorneys at Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A., can assist you in developing an estate plan that right for you. We specialize in elder law, revocable trusts, Medicaid/Asset protection trusts, and Special Needs Trusts in West Palm Beach. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with all your estate planning needs.