Accumulating wealth and assets are the mark of a prosperous life; however, asset protection is necessary to prevent significant financial losses when you die. The probate court could seize holdings if you have outstanding balances and a creditor has secured a lien against your estate.
Estate planning is the only effective strategy for protecting your estate, assets, and money. These practices let you decide who receives your assets and money and set up safeguards for your estate.
With the many steps of estate planning, you decide how to handle everything from wealth distribution to giving legal authority to a family member to manage your wealth. The only way to create an ironclad estate plan, secure your wealth, and ensure your family receives everything is to hire an estate planning attorney in Miami.
Estate planning is essential if you have wealth or assets. It is the only way the probate court knows how you want to divide your estate among your family members. The practices can also help you set up plans for managing debts after your death and lifting the burden from your family.
An estate that enters probate without a will or other documents dictating asset division is subject to the probate court’s decisions. Under the circumstances, if you have outstanding debts, your creditors could seize your assets, or the state could claim your assets if an heir isn’t identified. The Gallardo Law Firm can help you create a solid estate plan and prevent these complications.
Our Estate planning attorneys in Miami provide invaluable services and help you avoid mistakes that could cost your family. The purpose is to secure your assets and wealth, support your family financially, and address potential issues among your family members.
A will directs your family or executor and explains who receives each asset after you die. Any stipulations you wish to add to these assignments appear in the will. For example, if you want to leave your family home to several heirs, you could stipulate that if they sell it, all heirs must agree.
In the will, you create guardianships for minor children or disabled adults who cannot support themselves financially. You should also set up separate forms for guardianship designations to ensure there are more options should a preferred guardian die.
In the letter of instruction, you can discuss your final wishes with your executor, such as your funeral arrangements. Many funeral homes offer advanced funeral planning services, and you can work with the funeral home and your executor to manage these requirements. If you don’t want to set up these services earlier, your letter of instruction could guide your executor through your final wishes and take the burden off your family.
A power of attorney gives one family member the legal authority to manage your assets and money, and they can act on your behalf when paying debts. You can set limitations on the P.O.A. to prevent them from selling or misusing assets. A power of attorney is critical to ensure your wishes are upheld if you become incapacitated or your mental capacity is questioned.
A trust helps transfer assets out of the estate and decrease its value. You have a choice between revocable or irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts let you transfer assets into and out of the trust as you wish, but transfers into an irrevocable trust are permanent. You retain control over all assets and wealth in the trust until you die then a successor of your choice takes over.
A healthcare directive gives one person authority over your medical decisions. In the directive, this person is identified as your healthcare proxy. They set up and coordinate all health services for you and decide if or when you are removed from life support per your living will.
In Florida, heirs pay inheritance taxes on all assets they receive through your estate. Estate planning helps reduce these taxes and make them more manageable for your heirs. For example, if you transfer your assets into a trust, the trust becomes their legal owner. Your heirs can receive the assets from the trust after you die, and they won’t pay inheritance taxes. The key is to reduce the total value of your estate to reduce its time in probate or to avoid probate altogether.
The essential steps start after you have discussed your wishes with your family to avoid conflict later. Unhappy family members may contest your will and start a court battle. If you get your family on board with your plan, issues are less likely to arise, and your estate plan lets you dictate all terms according to what you want for your family.
Hiring an estate planning lawyer is the next step. An attorney can prevent oversights and gaps in your plan to secure your assets and wealth. When hiring an attorney, you should ask questions about each document involved. For example, you may ask what documents you need, how to reduce tax implications, and if the attorney conducts periodic reviews to ensure all details remain updated.
Next, you'll provide your estate planning attorney in Miami with a statement of assets for review, such as bank account statements, investment documentation, and pension or retirement account information. They’ll also need a list of your policies and declarations, including life insurance, automobiles, real properties, birth certificates or adoption certificates for your children, and intellectual properties such as patents, copyrights, social media accounts, or trademarks.
The final assessment is to review your debts, such as mortgage documents, loans, and credit card account statements. Document preparation and reviews of your estate help the attorney create a plan to prevent asset seizure, financial losses, and lengthy probate processes.
A carefully directed estate plan protects your assets and wealth for your family. Hiring a Miami estate planning attorney helps you make vital decisions about your estate, protect your estate, and avoid probate. Contact Gallardo Law Firm to start planning today!