in St. Pete & Pinellas Park, FL
A will is a document prepared in accordance with Florida law provides guidance for how you would like your property to be distributed. It makes estate administration significantly easier on those you leave behind.
If you pass without a will, you are considered ‘intestate’ at which point the state will appoint an administrator on your behalf. That administrator will be responsible for ensuring your property is distributed in line with Florida intestate laws, which do not often reflect people’s wishes.
Most wills provide a plan for property distribution, name an executor of the estate, and have provisions for what happens to underage children who were in the custody of the deceased. They can also establish a testamentary or special needs trust, which helps to provide for minor children or individuals with special needs.
Wills are an important tool for easing the hardships that naturally arise when a loved one passes. Whether you have a large estate or a small one, a will is something your loved ones can benefit from.
A Trust is a document created by a person in order to manage their assets. A trust is created and then managed by a trustee, who is responsible for that trust. A person can be the trustee of their own trust, or they can have someone else manage it. A revocable trust is one that be revoked by the “grantor” (creator of the trust) at any time.
In the even of your demise, a trust is responsible for paying all claims and taxes arising from the asset and then distributing that asset to your beneficiaries as described in the trust agreement. A trust can be used not only to avoid the probate process, but helps to protect your assets from taxes.
In order to determine if a trust is beneficial for you, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, like the attorneys at Oldham & Delcamp.
A living will is a written statement that informs others what level of treatment you desire if you become incapacitated or suffer from an illness or injury that renders you unable to make decisions of your own. A living will is applicable when a person is in a persistent vegetative state or an end stage or terminal condition.
Powers of Attorney
There are two common Powers of Attorney documents that are drafted on the behalf of clients.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that designates a trusted person to act as your agent in matters specified on the document.
This can include financial decisions, the ability to conduct real estate sales/purchases, and the ability to execute contracts on your behalf. You can also empower trusted individuals to purchase, sell, or invest in property on your behalf.
The other common type of power of attorney is a Health Care Surrogate. This document allows for someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated.
When a loved one passes on, there can be many confusing situations that arise. Who is entitled to their property? What about their debts and assets? Who is responsible for ensuring everything is done properly? In many cases, the answers to these questions is not immediately clear.
Oldham & Delcamp can provide you with the assistance you need in order to resolve the deceased’s estate. When the improper administration of an estate can lead to direct consequences for those involved, it is better to turn to experienced attorneys to ensure that the estate is administered properly and efficiently.
Before determining if a formal estate needs to be opened, there are 3 important questions to ask:
- Are the assets of the estate held jointly with a spouse? If they are, an estate may not be necessary.
- Did the decedent have a will? If there is a will, a probate estate may need to be opened in order to create the ability to properly change the title (ownership) of the estate’s assets.
- Is the will valid? If there will is not valid under Florida law, or there is no will, Florida intestate succession laws will need to be followed. For a lay person, this is extremely difficult, if not possible.
At Oldham & Delcamp we understand that the time after the passing of a loved one can be difficult. We do our best to ensure that not only is an estate’s process through the probate process efficient and timely, but that it is done in a sensitive and empathic manner.