Trusts, Wills, and Probate

Brandon Attorneys Knowledgeable in Estate Planning Matters

Planning your financial future, whether for your lifetime or as a legacy to leave your loved ones, may be a complex process. Depending on the assets that you own, the kind of access that you want to them, and other considerations, such as tax issues, developing a strategy may require a nuanced knowledge of wills and trusts law. The Brandon estate planning lawyers at The Law Offices of Michael J. Owen help their clients make these important determinations and ensure that their life’s work is protected, even after they pass. We take the time to understand each individual’s needs and objectives in planning their estate and ensure that appropriate tools and instruments are used to meet those objectives. If you have questions regarding a trust, a will, or any probate matter, contact us for guidance. We also can assist you if you need attorney or assistance with a real estate, consumer protection, foreclosure, among others.

Considerations Involved in Trusts, Wills, and Probate

There are many different factors that go into determining which kind of instruments to establish when planning your estate. For example, a revocable living trust is created and utilized during the lifetime of an individual. These types of trusts may be modified or revoked by the person who creates them, known as the testator. Living trusts may contain clauses that pass on legal title to property after a testator’s death. Setting up a trust may be appropriate for individuals who own a business, other real property aside from a residential home, or assets with a net worth of several million dollars.

Trusts also may be useful for people who have minor children or who are otherwise protecting certain assets for the benefit of an heir. Following a divorce, an A-B Revocable Trust, which is a specific type of joint living trust, may be used to protect assets for children of a previous marriage, while making sure that a surviving spouse receives support as well.

In Florida, your primary residence is considered a creditor-protected asset under the state constitution, and thus it passes to surviving spouses or other legal heirs automatically, without going through probate. However, other real estate is subject to the probate process. Establishing a trust to hold real property assets may help avoid the costs of probate. Making sure that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can review your options with you may be helpful in determining which instruments are right for your situation.

A testamentary will specifically names beneficiaries who will inherit certain assets. A will, unlike a trust, is still subject to probate proceedings. This process takes at least six months, during which time a court determines the validity of the will, as well as whether or not there are additional claims or liens on the property to be transferred. Other estate planning documents that an individual may consider include durable financial powers of attorney or advance health care directives. A power of attorney designates another individual as the overseer of your finances in the event that you are unable to make important decisions for yourself, such as if you are incapacitated. Advanced health care directives are similar in that they allow another pre-determined individual to make medical decisions when you are unable to do so for yourself.

Explore Your Options with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Brandon

Having proper protocols in place helps to ensure that your loved ones and you avoid costly and contentious legal disputes in the future. Whether you have extensive assets to protect or certain business interests to consider, the Brandon estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael J. Owen can help you determine a strategy to serve your needs. We assist people in Riverview, Tampa, and other areas of Hillsborough County with all aspects of trusts, wills, and probate matters. Call us at (813) 502-6768 or contact us online today to see how we can help. We are also available if you need a real estate lawyer or representation during a divorce, after an accident, during a foreclosure or a bankruptcy, or in business matters.