Orlando Estate Planning Attorney
Serving Clients Throughout Greater Orlando, Including Winter Park, Conway, Pine Castle, Ocoee, Goldenrod, Castleberry, Altamonte Springs, Lockhart, Oak Ridge, Forest City, and Central Florida.
Estate Planning is not about how much money you have. It’s about legally protecting what you have during your life and ensuring your assets are distributed to the people you love, the way you want, when you want. Whether your estate is worth $10,000 or $10 million, it is crucial to plan for the future.
As a Florida Bar Board Certified Elder Law attorney and Estate Planning lawyer for greater Orlando, Kathleen Flammia and the attorneys at the Flammia Elder Law Firm can develop an estate plan that will allow you to control the handling and distribution of your assets throughout your life and after death, reduce or eliminate taxes, avoid probate, and protect the property of loved ones who may have special needs or who may face the costs of nursing home care or assisted living facilities.
What Is Involved in Estate Planning?
Estate planning involves several critical objectives:
- Protecting assets during life
- Providing for the protection of a person in the event they become incapacitated and cannot make their wishes known
- Identifying the healthcare wishes of a person if they are in a terminal state and cannot make their wishes known, as well as identifying a person to make critical healthcare decisions, and
- Providing for the distribution of an estate upon death in a tax-advantaged manner and in a manner beneficial to loved ones.
Comprehensive estate planning is the process of creating legally-binding documents and instruments that address all of these matters, taking into account matters such as cost and ease of administration.
Estate plans are not one-size-fits-all, as every asset portfolio and person’s objectives differ. As a highly respected estate planning firm serving Orlando, Winter Park, and the surrounding communities, we develop customized estate plans around the individual needs and objectives of clients.
What Documents are Included in an Estate Plan?
The specific documents included in an estate plan will vary depending upon the needs of an individual (or couple). We advise clients on a wide variety of Estate Planning matters, including:
- Asset Preservation
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Special Needs Trusts
- Surrogate decision-making, including Durable Powers of Attorney
- Living Will
- Health Care Surrogate Designations
- Pre-Need Guardian
- Guardian for Minor Child
- Pet Trusts
We can work with you to develop an estate plan with a solid strategy in place in the event of disability or long-term care needs, to avoid probate, and to safeguard your life savings should nursing home care, assisted living, or other long-term care become necessary. We have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex estate and probate cases.
We invite you to contact our firm today. As experienced Orlando estate planning attorneys, we can help you create an effective strategy that will ensure that your wishes are followed both after death, and in the event that you sustain a catastrophic medical event.
I had an exceptional experience at Kathleen Flammia’s firm. All of my concerns were addressed and I can go forward prepared for the future. Everyone on staff is friendly, knowledgeable and professional. I highly recommend this firm for all your estate planning needs if you need a peace of mind.
5 Star Google Review – B.S.
Estate Planning FAQ
What is an Estate?
An estate includes all assets owned by an individual at the time of death, which may include:
- Real property, such as a house
- Personal property and physical assets, such as a car and furniture
- Financial Assets, such as property held in bank accounts, stock accounts, retirement accounts, IRAs, and life insurance policies
- Legal rights, which may include contractual rights, royalties, or rights in equity (such as the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the death of the decedent).
In addition to having asset rights, at the time of death an estate also becomes legally responsible for all debts of the decedent, which must be paid before assets can be distributed.
When a person passes, the distribution of an estate can be overwhelmingly difficult. State and federal laws, income taxes, debt collection, will contests, and many other considerations often arise, placing unnecessary stress and strain on friends and family.
The Flammia Elder Law Firm can work with you to identify and diffuse possible roadblocks that can alter the intended distribution of your assets, such as property issues, children from prior marriages, divorce settlements, the Florida Homestead Law, estate taxes, beneficiary designations, and many more. This can help alleviate the burden placed on your loved ones.
What is a Living Will or Advance Directive?
A living will or advance directive specifies an individual’s wishes regarding the type of medical care they would like administered in the event of incapacitation or if a terminal event interferes with their ability to make care decisions for themselves. For example, a person may wish to be placed on life-sustaining support, or, alternatively, they may desire to avoid life-prolonging efforts and only receive medication to ease pain. Having a living will/advance directive can be highly advantageous, as it negates the need for loved ones to agonize over difficult care decisions.
What Is a Trust?
A Trust is an entity designed to hold and manage assets. It gives privacy and dignity to an individual’s personal affairs (both during lifetime and after death), provides a means for having someone else manage assets if a person is unable to do so, and allows trust assets to avoid probate upon death.
When executing a trust, one party (known as a trustor) appoints another person (known as a trustee) to hold title to property and assets for the benefit of third-party beneficiaries. The trustor executes paperwork that specifies how, to whom, and when assets are to be distributed. Because property is transferred to and owned by a trust, it is not considered part of an estate at the time of death (if it the trust is irrevocable and the assets are held for more than three years before the person’s death). Thus, it can help to avoid or reduce inheritance or estate taxes.
Trusts can be helpful in a number of cases, such as if there is a possibility that a parent may die before their children are adults, of there is a person with special needs who may be considered (in which case a Florida Special Needs Trust may be beneficial).
How Much Does a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Cost or Charge?
We appreciate that all clients (and potential clients) are naturally interested in the cost for a Florida estate planning lawyer. We provide estate planning on a fixed-fee basis. Once we know about your circumstances and needs, we can determine the documents required for you estate plan, and can let you know at that time what our legal fee will be.
Why Is Estate Planning Important for A Young Person?
When children become adults and go off to college, the last thing on their minds is who will act as their durable power of attorney if they become disabled. In most cases, they simply assume that one or both of their parents will act in this role. However, if a young adult is over the age of eighteen and is involved in a car accident or falls ill at college, a loved one might not be able to request medical information if there is not a durable power of attorney in place, is HIPAA rules have stringent regulations concerning the release of medical information (even to parents).
If you are a parent of a child age 18 or older, you will want to have your child execute a durable power of attorney authorizing the release of medical information and for you to act on their behalf if they cannot make decisions for their care due to a medical event. If you are a young adult, with proper estate planning documents in place, there should never be a problem. Estate Planning documents can direct an agent (such as a parent) on how to handle your financial or medical situations. These documents can also name a guardian for any minor children if you, as the parent, were to pass away.
Do I Need a Durable Power of Attorney in Florida?
Powers of attorney can be beneficial if a person becomes severely injured or incapacitated and cannot make decisions. With a Durable Power of Attorney in place, another individual is given the durable power to make critical financial, business, lifestyle, healthcare, and other decisions on behalf of an incompetent individual.
Without a Power of Attorney, it is usually necessary to get court approval for guardianship and/or conservatorship over a person. Such court approval can be costly, it opens up the possibility of being contested by other family members, and ongoing court oversight is usually required to monitor and/or approve ongoing expenditures. In these cases, court oversight can last for decades, and matters that otherwise should be private may instead become public.
If you would like to ensure that your business and personal interests are addressed according to your wishes, call us today. We can explain your legal options and help you construct powers of attorney that will protect your affairs.
Is Estate Planning a One-Time Event?
No. The most effective estate planning is a lifetime process. It changes as situations change. Births, deaths, adoptions, marriage, and divorce are all reasons to update an Estate Plan. A basic estate plan will not guarantee that there will be anything left of your estate. As an Estate Planning lawyer, Kathleen Flammia will help you create an Estate Plan that will serve an even greater purpose.