Need an Estate Plan?
Estate Planning Attorney in Clearwater, Florida
Wills, Trusts, Guardianship, Probate, Estate Law
An unexpected death can be a catastrophic event for any family, but it’s worse if your loved ones have to deal with court costs, burial expenses and who gets what while they’re grieving your loss. Without an estate plan, decisions are left up to the state, which means a lengthy court process and the government deciding who takes care of your children (if you still have minor children), who gets your assets, and (if you are still alive, but unable to care for yourself), who is responsible for your care. If you want to be the one to make these decisions, you need an estate plan in place to protect your last wishes. We can help. Call now or schedule a consultation.
If you do not have a plan…
Your FAMILY suffers. Help them now by having a plan that secures their future if you are unable to care for them.
Estate Planning Attorney in Clearwater
Need to talk to an estate planning attorney in Clearwater, FL?
If you have children, assets and do not have a will or estate plan, you should speak with a local Florida estate attorney to understand what you can do to protect your family and last wishes.
Your entire estate will AUTOMATICALLY be entered into probate if something was to happen to you that would prevent you from handling your affairs. This means that the State of Florida would decide who gets what if you die — or who will take care of you and control your assets if you can’t take care of yourself.
An estate plan prevents this from happening and lets you decide now how you want your affairs to be handled. Probate is a lengthy, costly process that can be stressful. The last thing you want is your family to have to deal with something like this while they grieve your loss.
If you are curious about how an estate plan can help you protect your family and loved ones, we can help. Sherri Stinson is considered one of the best estate planning attorneys in Clearwater, with over 15+ years experience specializing in Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Guardianship, Probate, and Florida Estate Law.
What most people don’t realize is that everyone has an estate. An estate plan helps protect the people you care about the most by saving them from the chaos of court while they deal with your loss. An estate plan is the only way to look after your loved ones after you are gone. Don’t make a painful time more difficult for your family when you can help them now.
A Clearwater estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that protects your loved ones and last wishes. All it takes is one call to get insights and ideas on what you can do — schedule a 100% FREE consultation now.
Clearwater is a wonderful city with many things to do. Maybe you’re the outdoorsy type and prefer a trek through Wall Springs Park or like to take the family and the dog down to John Chesnut Sr. Park for some boating and a picnic.
If you’d rather spend the day practicing your swing with your golf buddies, of course there’s the Innisbrook Golf Academy.
But, maybe you just want to check out the Clearwater Museum, or stop by the Sprouts Farmers Market and call it a day.
The reality is when you are enjoying life, it makes sense to think about what’s next, and what that means for your family.
In either case, if you’ve read this far you’re likely wondering “what can I do to protect my family when I’m gone?”
That is exactly what a Florida estate plan is designed to do, and we can help you help your family with the proper plan now, not later.
You’re likely wondering what exactly is an estate plan. That’s a common question, and how we like to educate our clients is by letting them know that an estate plan is a plan that anticipates life’s changes before they happen, so you and your family do not have to struggle with important decisions during a painful time. An estate plan also maximizes the value of a person’s estate by minimizing the taxes, costs and fees that come from probate and other end of life expenses.
Here are the most common legal documents every estate plan should include.
Last Will and Testament
This is the most commonly known legal document in any estate plan. Essentially, your “Will” outlines what you want to happen after you are gone. In some cases, depending on the amount of assets you have, a Trust is another vehicle that would be used in your estate plan.
A Trust can essentially “own” your beneficiaries assets, and has some unique advantages that allow you to lower tax liabilities and make transfership of assets much simpler, especially for real estate and shares in a company.
In simplest terms, a trust is a legal agreement between at least three parties: the trustmaker, the trustee, and one or more beneficiaries. The trustmaker is the individual who creates the trust agreement and is also sometimes referred to as the grantor, trustor, or settlor. The trustmaker then transfers ownership of certain assets to the trust, and the trustee manages those assets for the benefit of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. — The Balance
Do You Need a Florida Estate Plan?
Durable Power of Attorney
Accidents, aging and illness can all cause you to not be able to care for yourself as you normally would. A durable power of attorney is a legal document that grants another person the power to act on your behalf and make financial and healthcare decisions for you, should you not be able to on your own.
This is an important document to have — and something every estate plan should include — because it will allow one trusted person you designate to handle your affairs, pay your bills, and make sure everything you have worked hard to build stays intact.
If you do not have a durable power of attorney and you become incapacitated, your family will likely have to go to court in order to get permission (and the authority) to handle your affairs.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An Advance Healthcare Directive is also known as a “Living Will and Designation of Health Care Surrogate”. This is a legal document that outlines who you want to take care of you if you were ever incapacitated, and what you want your family to do if you were injured, unresponsive, and/or on life support.
Pre-need Guardian Designation
This is another document that typically is included with your Advance Directives. The purpose of this document is to name a trusted person to make decisions in regards to your finances and medical decisions if a court was to determine you are unable to care for yourself.
This is important to have if you are aging, considering the fact that Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly 5.8 million Americans, and is the 6th leading cost of death in the United States. Dementia, and especially memory loss, are also common in old age, so it’s important to designate someone you trust to be your guardian.
Obviously, it’s common to have a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to making the right decisions. An estate plan is a simple document to create but can have lasting repercussions that impact you and your family if done incorrectly. That is why it is important to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in Clearwater to get the expert legal help you need.
As a law firm who specializes in wills and trusts, estate planning, guardianship and probate, our lead estate planning attorney in Clearwater understands what’s important when it comes to protecting your family, your loved ones, and the legacy you have worked so hard to build.
Here’s the reality: Not having an estate plan is the single biggest mistake people make. And it’s often completely overlooked by people in their 30s and young, married couples with children.
It actually makes ZERO sense to not have an estate plan, especially if you have kids.
Here’s why: Most people falsely believe that the only people who need estate planning are the super-wealthy.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you are married, have kids, own a home, or have a business, and live in Florida, YOU need an estate plan.
- What happens to your children if something happens to you?
- How will take care of your spouse if you cannot take care of yourself?
- What decisions do you want your spouse or family to make if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself?
- What happens to your home and other assets if you are incapacitated or are killed in a freak accident?
These aren’t easy questions to answer, but the solution is not to avoid the question. The solution is to actually have a solution.
Do you have questions about estate planning in Florida?
Get the expert opinion of an experienced estate planning attorney in Clearwater — schedule a 100% FREE consultation now.
Ready for more information? Speak to an expert estate planning attorney lawyer in Clearwater and get 100% insight into what you can do to protect the people you love the most.
Contact us today for a FREE consultation. You can contact us by phone, live chat or by filling out this form.
Don’t forget to download our free Florida Estate Planning Checklist for more information.
Consultations are available by phone, office and video chat. If you prefer that we come to you, we do offer at-home consultations.
WHY CHOOSE SHERRI M. STINSON, P.A.?
REAL CLIENTS, REAL REVIEWS
CAN YOU MAKE CHANGES TO A WILL OR TRUST?
A will does not go into effect until you pass away. Thus, you can change or revoke it at any time. You can also modify and cancel a revocable trust. However, if you create an irrevocable trust, it cannot be changed. Some people choose irrevocable trusts because they shield assets from creditors. Also, these trusts reduce the tax burden even further. Your estate planning lawyer in Palm Harbor will discuss the benefits and drawbacks to help you determine what type of trust is right for you.
CAN YOU DISINHERIT YOUR SPOUSE?
Florida law protects spouses during the estate planning process. Even if your marriage is breaking down, you cannot disinherit your spouse. Your spouse will be entitled to his or her elective share. The only way to avoid this is with the proper legal documents. However, if you divorce your spouse, you can change your estate plan to avoid leaving any property to him or her. Talk to an estate planning lawyer about your options.
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