Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyer
The term “estate planning” fails to truly capture the importance and scope of this crucial endeavor. It sounds clinical and abstract when in reality it translates hopes and dreams, care and responsibility, children, grandchildren, and other loved ones. “Estate planning” is about planning for life, yours and those of the people you care for the most. For these reasons, it is important to seek help with an experienced Boca Raton estate planning lawyer to ensure your wishes for both yourself and your family are carried out according to your exact specifications.
When done properly, estate planning can protect your assets and provide financial security for you and your family. Our clients garner the satisfaction and peace of mind, that accompanies having experienced and talented estate planning lawyers who understand their individual situations as much as they understand the law. Contact us today to get started on your estate plan.
Merging the Personal and Professional in Estate Planning
The Boca Raton estate planning attorneys at Ellis Law Group, P.L. have spent their careers helping individuals and families develop and implement comprehensive estate planning strategies. With decades of combined experience and an approach that merges the professional with the personal, our lawyers are valued advisors who see the big picture while still attending to the smallest details.
When you meet with us for the first time, you will see why so many clients have put their trust in us for their estate planning needs. We know that discussing these issues can sometimes be uncomfortable or unsettling, and it can certainly be complicated and confusing. That is why we will take the time to learn about you and your family, to truly listen to your concerns and desires, and to clearly answer all your questions without unnecessary legal jargon.
Each of our estate planning lawyers brings a wealth of experience and a wide range of perspectives to their work. As a client, you receive the one-on-one attention of your lawyer backed by the collective insights of a group of exceptional attorneys who work together to craft plans best suited to your individual needs.
What Can Estate Planning Accomplish?
While some people may think that their assets are too modest or simple to warrant comprehensive estate planning, they may fail to realize how much they actually have or what could happen to those assets and their family members if they fail to plan for the future. Without a will in place, for example, your assets will get distributed according to Florida law, and potentially in a way that runs contrary to what you would prefer.
Estate planning is also important if you want to minimize court interference in your private affairs. Parents can ensure that their minor children or those with special needs receive the protection and care they need in the event of a tragedy. End of life documents, such as powers of attorney and the designation of health care surrogates, can spare your family uncertainty and confusion if you are incapacitated.
Recognizing that each client has their own unique circumstances, priorities, and goals, estate planning can accomplish several personal, practical, and financial objectives, such as:
- Protecting your assets from creditors and others;
- Providing for the care and well-being of your minor children in the event of an unexpected tragedy;
- Minimizing your tax liabilities;
- Ensuring that your assets are distributed pursuant to your wishes and in a manner that minimizes court involvement or reduces the likelihood of family conflict after you are gone;
- Providing a loved one with special needs with the care and resources they need throughout their life;
- Helping you qualify for Medicaid benefits that can pay for a nursing home, assisted living facility, or long-term care while preserving your assets for yourself and your children; and Giving your loved ones and your physicians clarity and direction about your healthcare wishes and financial affairs decisions if you become incapacitated and are unable to make such decisions for yourself.
Developing and Implementing All Estate Planning Strategies
We help clients reach these goals by strategically using the full array of available estate planning documents and mechanisms; choosing, tailoring and personalizing each one for optimal effectiveness.
Our complete suite of estate planning services includes:
- Wills. This fundamental estate planning document will keep you in charge of how your assets are distributed when you pass away, without Florida law or a probate judge making such decisions for you. You can appoint a trusted individual to be the executor of your estate and the guardian of your children. Our Boca Raton will attorneys prepare wills that are clear, concise, and complete.
- Revocable Living Trusts. Through a living trust, you transfer specific assets (such as real estate, stocks and investments, vehicles) to a trust established for your benefit. You will still have access to and be able to use your assets, but upon your passing, assets do not have to go through probate or become public since you already transferred ownership in advance. A properly constructed trust established by an experienced Boca Raton living trust lawyer can also be a powerfully effective way of minimizing tax liabilities. After your death, the assets in the trust will be managed and distributed pursuant to your directions as outlined in the trust documents.
- Powers of Attorney. Life’s business does not stop if you become incapacitated due to illness, injury, or age. If you are unable to make decisions or communicate your intent due to incapacity, a power of attorney allows a trusted individual chosen by you to manage your financial affairs within the scope of their designated authority.
- Powers of Attorney for Minors. This document allows you to designate an individual to have authority to make decisions concerning your minor child if you unable to.
- Designations of Health Care Surrogates. Similar to powers of attorney, documents designating health care surrogates help physicians and family members understand your wishes regarding your care and treatment if you can no longer communicate or capably make such decisions. By selecting a trusted family member or another person as your health care surrogate and delineating your wishes as to care or end-of-life issues, you can spare your loved ones from having to speculate about what you would want during a difficult time.
- Irrevocable Trusts. These trusts are an effective way to minimize tax obligations and protect assets from creditors, while also preserving eligibility for available public benefits.
- Life Insurance Trusts. Death benefits paid on insurance policies, while providing intended security for those left behind, can also create tax complications and be diminished if they are not treated properly. By transferring ownership of policies to a special life insurance trust, these benefits can be excluded from the decedent’s taxable estate and can be distributed to beneficiaries through the trust.
- Special Needs Trusts. Children and adults with special needs can lose their eligibility for critical public benefits if they inherit substantial assets. By establishing a special needs trust, parents and others can ensure that their special needs loved one continues to have access to these resources as well as the additional financial security that comes with the amounts you provide in your estate plan for their care and well-being.
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs). This tool can be used to shield substantial gifts to family members from often-hefty gift taxes. It can help individuals maximize the sums that their heirs receive.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs). These specialized irrevocable trusts exclude the value of your residence or a second home from your taxable estate, reducing your estate and tax liabilities.
- Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs). A DAPT is an irrevocable trust under which a person creating the trust can be a beneficiary and, under certain conditions, the assets of the trust cannot be reached by that person’s creditors.
- Charitable Trusts. A number of Charitable Trusts exist which may offer you tax benefits while also fulfilling your philanthropic goals. These include Charitable Lead Trusts and Charitable Remainder Trusts.
- Private Foundations. Rather than giving your assets directly to charity, a Private Foundation allows your loved ones to continue your philanthropic goals and carry on your legacy long after you are gone.
- Estate Tax Planning. Without proper planning, high-net-worth individuals are often subject to astronomical – and avoidable – estate tax exposure. Our estate tax planning attorneys know how to keep your assets out of government coffers and keep them in the hands of your loved ones.
Your Partners on Life’s Journey
Life goes on long after the ink dries on your estate planning documents. New family dynamics, changed financial circumstances, or shifting goals are just a few of the reasons you may need to modify your estate plan. At Ellis Law Group, our Boca Raton estate planning attorneys stand by our clients throughout all of life’s changes.
Whether we prepared your initial estate plan or not, whether you need a small modification or a wholesale review of your arrangements, we can help ensure that your estate plan keeps up with your life
Contact a Boca Raton Estate Planning Lawyer Today to Schedule a Consultation
No matter your age, means, or goals, a well-crafted estate plan is well worth the investment. It pays dividends in security and accumulates value in peace of mind. The attorneys at Ellis Law Group have made it their life’s work to help individuals and families in South Florida obtain and maximize these benefits through comprehensive, practical, and individualized plans focused on each client’s unique goals.
If you are considering an estate plan for your family or have questions about what is involved, how things work, and how we can help, we invite you to reach out to us. Call 561-910-7500 or contact us online to speak with an experienced Boca Raton estate planning lawyer. We welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family.