If you are interested in planning your estate in the vicinity of Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, or St. Petersburg, getting in touch with Verras Law is a wise move. Principal attorney Spiro J. Verras has the extensive experience and consummate skill to assist you in successfully planning your future.
As a dedicated professional, he will listen carefully to the details that make your life unique, then draft documents tailored to your specific needs and goals. You can count on Verras Law to help protect your assets, your retirement, your loved ones, and your legacy. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
Advantages of Estate Planning with Verras Law
The benefits of estate planning with Verras Law are well-known by our peers as well as our clients. Our legal team has a comprehensive knowledge of federal and state law and an understanding of all matters pertaining to wills and trusts, probate, estate taxes, and planning for incapacity. We are known for our efficiency, dependability, and ease in explaining confusing concepts and terms. Most important, we have a well-deserved reputation for compassion when dealing with sensitive issues.
Whether you are a young adult beginning your independent life, a middle-aged person planning for a comfortable retirement, or a senior ready to prepare for the changes that aging brings, we will provide you with the personalized attention you deserve.
Basic Components of Estate Planning in Florida
While individual circumstances differ, the following are basic elements of estate planning:
- Drafting a will serves four important purposes:
- Determines how your assets will be managed and distributed after you pass
- Designates your personal representative (executor)
- Names your beneficiaries and the assets they will receive
- Selects a guardian for your minor children if your and their other parent should both die or become unable to care for them
Dying without a will (intestate) means that the person who will administer your estate will be chosen by the court and that the court will also name your beneficiaries through “intestate succession,” a protocol that prioritizes blood relatives, beginning with the spouse, children, and parents.
- Dealing with probate is the process through which a will is validated. Though the process may go smoothly, if your estate is of high-net-worth or contains multiple real estate properties or collections that require an appraisal, it can delay the distribution of your assets and be very costly. For this reason, at Verras Law we often help clients in the latter category to avoid probate through:
- Joint ownership
- Accounts with designated beneficiaries
- Accounts “payable on death” (POD)
- Establishing a revocable “living” trust to protect your assets from:
- Expensive probate
- Excessive taxation
- Divorcing spouses
- Lawsuit settlements
Another benefit of putting your estate in a trust that you no longer “own” is that then your finances remain private. If your estate goes through probate, it is a matter of public record.
You can count on Verras Law to work out these components of your estate plan in a way that is most efficient and cost-effective for your particular situation.
Verras Law Is Savvy When It Comes to Creating Trusts for Other Purposes
There are two major categories of trusts: the revocable trust just mentioned and irrevocable trusts. As you would expect, only revocable trusts can be altered, except in very rare circumstances. There are many types of irrevocable trusts, each with a specific purpose. One or more of them may be well-suited for your personal and financial needs.
A special needs trust will provide a disabled child or adult with access to financial resources while protecting their right to receive government benefits (e.g. Medicaid/MassHealth). A spendthrift trust, in contrast, will manage the funds of an adult beneficiary who is irresponsible with money or who has a problem with substance abuse or gambling, keeping them from squandering their inheritance.
Other trusts that may be right in your individual case include:
- Trusts for minors
- IRA trusts
- Gift trusts
- Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trusts
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)
- Charitable trusts
- Marital trusts
- Generation-skipping trusts
Planning for Unexpected Events
An important part of the estate planning process focuses on protecting you and your family in case the unthinkable happens and you become incapacitated. The reality is that anyone at any age can be incapacitated as a result of an accident, a catastrophic medical event (e.g. heart attack or stroke) or the progression of a disabling illness.
Though such things are troubling to imagine, working with one of our empathic attorneys will provide you with reassurance as we help you do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones from contingencies.
When you work with our competent, caring estate planning attorneys, we will ensure that the necessary documents are drafted and signed. Such documents include those pertaining to:
- Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Authorization
- Health Care Proxy
- Living Will (including possible organ donation)
- Business succession planning
At Verras Law, we make your priorities our priorities. Our insight and well-honed legal skills will help you to ensure that in the event of a calamity:
- Your minor children will be well-tended
- A vulnerable adult in your family will be protected physically and financially
- Your financial/legal matters will be taken over by the responsible party of your choice
- Your closest family members will have access to your medical data and physicians
- You will receive only the medical interventions you have requested
- Your business will be managed by individuals you have chosen while you are out of commission
Contact Our Experienced Tampa Bay Estate Planning Attorney Today
Taking steps to organize your life and protect your family is empowering. However, it pays to remember that life is constantly changing, so your estate plan has to be reviewed and possibly revised on a regular basis. Circumstances can change in a short period of time, altered by marriage, divorce, remarriage, birth or adoption, death in the family, the establishment of a new business, receiving a sizable inheritance, getting a big promotion, or losing a job.
Preparing for such eventualities is the best way to protect your accumulated assets, the well-being of those you love, and your own sense of dignity and control. Contact us now so we can begin customizing an estate plan that is just right for you.
Verras Law provides estate planning services for clients in and around Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg.