Orlando Estate Planning Attorney

As leading estate planning lawyers in Central Florida, we know how to navigate the many complexities involved in comprehensive estate planning. When you need top-tier legal services, there’s no better law firm than William C. Roof Law Group. Schedule a free consultation today

You worked hard your whole life to achieve financial security for your family and to build a lasting legacy. You made the hard, necessary sacrifices and the smart financial moves, and now you want peace of mind that your family members and loved ones will continue to be provided for after you pass away.

Here’s what you need to understand: The only real way to ensure your beneficiaries continue to benefit from your financial diligence is to establish a comprehensive estate plan. In the absence of an expertly designed estate plan, you can never really guarantee that your wishes will be carried out or that your loved ones will receive their intended inheritance.

Fortunately, finding a trusted estate planning attorney in Central Florida is easy: The William C. Roof Law Group is here to assist you in all of your estate planning needs. This article will explain everything you need to know about estate planning in Florida, including what it is, the various types of legal documents and tools involved, and more.

Contact Us

What Is Involved in Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a comprehensive process that involves preparing for how an individual’s estate will be managed, divided, and distributed after their death or incapacitation. Here are a few of the key steps involved in the process:

 

  • Assessing assets and liabilities. The first step to creating an estate plan is compiling a detailed list of all assets and liabilities, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal property, business interests, mortgages, loans, other debts, and more.
  • Setting estate planning goals. It’s important to identify estate planning goals, such as minimizing estate taxes, providing for family members, etc.
  • Creating a valid will. Your last will and testament will provide the roadmap for asset distribution after your death, as well as establish an executor (or personal representative) to administer your estate.
  • Establishing trusts. If necessary and appropriate, you will create trusts to help manage and protect your assets, provide for beneficiaries, and, potentially, reduce estate taxes.
  • Designating beneficiaries. You will need to name beneficiaries to your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, payable-on-death accounts, and any other asset.
  • Appointing a power of attorney. Your power of attorney will make key financial and legal decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
  • Creating healthcare directives. You can establish a living will to outline your medical treatment preferences and to designate a healthcare surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so.
  • Minimizing tax burden. Comprehensive estate planning should also involve tax planning, which can help you minimize estate and gift taxes.
  • Business succession planning. If you own a business and need to ensure its continued operation, business succession planning can ease the transition of ownership to your chosen successors.
  • Updating your estate plan. It’s critical to regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect changes in your financial situation and family circumstances, as well as changes to Florida estate laws.

This is not an exhaustive list of steps involved in creating a top-notch estate plan but rather a generalized overview of the process. The specific aspects of creating your estate plan will depend on the unique details of your situation, financial goals, and needs.

What Documents are Included in an Estate Plan?

Designing a comprehensive estate plan relies on weaving together various strategies and legal documents. The following are among the most commonly utilized documents in estate plans:

 

  • Last will and testament, which specifies how assets will be distributed upon your death, names beneficiaries, and appoints guardians for minor children (if applicable)
  • Revocable living trust, a tool that allows a grantor to manage and control assets during their lifetime and then, upon the beneficiaries’ death, distributes them to beneficiaries without the need for probate
  • Durable power of attorneya document that allows you to appoint a trusted individual to make financial and legal decisions for you, should you become incapacitated
  • Healthcare power of attorney, a document that appoints a person to make medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to do so
  • Living will, also called advance healthcare directive, is a document that outlines your specific preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care options if you become terminally ill or incapacitated
  • HIPAA authorization, a document that grants permission for healthcare providers to share your medical information with certain individuals and loved ones
  • Pour-over-will, a legal document that works in tandem with a living trust to specify that any assets not included in the trust at the time of your death should be transferred into that trust thereafter
  • Letter of intent, a document that provides additional instructions or information regarding your wishes for your estate, care of dependents, and other specific instructions

Again, these are not the only important estate planning documents. When designing your ideal estate plan, you may utilize a different set or combination of legal agreements.

Common Misconceptions Regarding Orlando Estate Planning

Estate planning is an essential process for almost every Floridian, regardless of the size of their estate. However, that doesn’t mean it’s well understood. In fact, several misconceptions can negatively affect the preparation process, including the following:

    • Estate planning is only for high-net-worth individuals. Estate planning is important to everyone, regardless of their financial situation, assets, or wealth. The main goal of estate planning isn’t asset protection or wealth management (although those are important aspects) but about distributing your estate according to your wishes.
    • A will is all you need. Although a last will and testament is an essential roadmap for your estate plan, it is typically insufficient to ensure an estate is managed, divided, and distributed according to the decedent’s wishes. It also does little to address healthcare decisions and incapacity planning.
    • Estate planning revolves around death. Although many people associate estate planning with death and inheritance, it involves so much more. Documents like durable powers of attorney and healthcare directives ensure that financial and medical decisions are made according to wishes in your lifetime.

      • Estate planning is complicated and expensive. Although estate planning requires an eye for detail, it is more than manageable when you partner with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Orlando. The costs of planning are typically far outweighed by the benefits, such as reducing the tax burden, probate costs, and stress incurred by loved ones and beneficiaries after your death.
      • Estate plans are one-and-done. Estate plans need to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they still align with your wishes, goals, financial situation, family circumstances, and Florida laws.

Estate planning isn’t a niche legal service or a luxury reserved for the wealthy — it is a critical undertaking for the majority of responsible individuals. A Florida estate planning lawyer can review your situation and explain the specific ways in which a custom-tailored estate plan can benefit you and your family.

Orlando Estate Planning Lawyer FAQ

If you are new to estate planning, you probably have a lot of questions. The best way to get clarity is by soliciting legal advice from a trusted estate planning law firm in Orlando. In the meantime, check out the answers to a few of our most frequently asked questions.

 

• How can an estate plan distribute my property quickly and inexpensively? 

By utilizing tools such as revocable living trusts and beneficiary designations to avoid probate, an expertly designed estate plan allows for the direct transfer of assets to beneficiaries. By circumventing the probate process, your beneficiaries are able to save time and money on legal fees and administrative expenses.

 

• How much does estate planning cost?

There is no simple answer to this question because the cost of estate planning depends largely on the complexity of an individual’s estate, as well as the specific legal documents required to accomplish their goals. Typically, though, consulting with an Orlando estate planning lawyer costs between a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

 

• Can I just give away my assets before I die?

Yes, you can certainly give away your assets before your death. However, this does little to address the other key components of estate planning, including tax planning, providing for certain beneficiaries, and ensuring your end-of-life care aligns with your preferences. Additionally, many people pass away without warning — and without an opportunity to bequeath valued items and assets to their heirs.

William C. Roof Law Group: Top Orlando Estate Planning Attorneys

Estate planning is critical for anyone who wants a say in their end-of-life care, asset distribution, and management of their legacy. When you are ready to create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses these key components, don’t settle for subpar legal services — contact the William C. Roof Law Group to speak with a dedicated expert. Ready to get started? Schedule a free initial consultation today.

contact us

We’re here to answer all of your questions. Feel free to give us a call, or fill out the form to the right and we’ll get in touch with you soon.