It is never too late – nor too early – to consider writing your will or setting up a trust for the future distribution of your assets. It may not always be easy to confront your own mortality, but planning for the allocation of your assets on your passing is one of the best things you can do for your family while you are alive, to ease their bereavement once you are gone.
At Gary I. Handin, PA., we have over 50 years of experience in providing legal assistance and advice on Estate Planning and the creation of wills and trusts, and will help you to make informed decisions about the best way in which you can plan for the distribution of your estate.
Why Should You Consult An Attorney Experienced In Drafting Wills and Trusts?
There are a number of reasons why it is important to consult an attorney when you are considering setting up a will or trust for inheritance.
First, an experienced trust attorney will have a detailed understanding of all of the requirements and formalities for the creation of a valid will or trust, and will be able to provide insight as to the different testamentary mechanisms available under law which can best give effect to your wishes.
Second, an attorney is an objective third party who will be able to help you to navigate the sometimes difficult and emotional decision of how you plan to distribute your estate, and will make you aware of all the legal implications of your choices.
Third, many clients may desire to minimize their tax exposure, or keep their distributions confidential, or avoid probate. Wills and trusts attorneys will have the necessary legal knowledge to help clients to achieve these results.
At Gary I. Handin, PA., we strive to provide all this and more when we advise you on the best way to proceed with your estate planning.
Wills: What To Consider
When drawing up your last will and testament, a number of important decisions will need to be made. These include identifying a suitable individual to be the executor – also known as the personal representative – to represent your estate; determining who you will leave your assets to; deciding whether you will create a testamentary trust; and nominating a trusted person to be the guardian of your children should you need to do so.
Some clients may also wish to create a living will, to instruct loved ones as to life support decisions in cases of medical incapacity. Legal assistance will not only help you to navigate these decisions, but it will also ensure that your will is properly executed and valid under Florida law. From the signing and witnessing of the will, to the wording of your dispositions; to the inclusion of certain important clauses, such as revocation clauses, executor empowerment clauses, and survivorship clauses; it’s essential to have an expert attorney managing and guiding your through the process.
At Gary I. Handin, P.A. we are proud to have assisted many clients with the writing of their wills, and will do our utmost to ensure not only that you will is valid, but that it is properly tailored to suit your family’s personal and financial needs.
Trusts: Types & Technicalities
You may wish to create a trust instead of, or in addition to, a will.
There are two types of trust mechanisms available:
- Living Trusts (inter vivos trusts)
- Testamentary Trusts (those contained in a Will).
It’s important to understand how these two trusts forms work, and what their legal implications are, if you intend on using one to distribute your assets.
Living trusts are trusts that are created and come into operation during your lifetime.
On creation of the trust, you will need to place your assets in the trust – this is known as ‘funding’ the trust. You may appoint yourself to be the trustee of the trust, and will be expected to administer the trust on behalf of your trust beneficiaries. You will also need to appoint a successor trustee, who will then administer the trust upon your death.
This is an important decision as the selection of the successor trustee will directly impact whether your assets are managed and distributed as per your wishes. Living trusts can be a useful mechanism for avoiding probate, but ideally they should always be used in conjunction with a pour-over will, as there may be assets which you acquire which, if not placed in trust by the time you die, will fall into your intestate estate and be distributed according to state law.
Testamentary trusts are trusts that are included in your will, but only come into existence once you have passed away.
You will need to appoint the trust beneficiaries and trustees in your will, and provide for the purpose and administration of the trust assets. Many variations of trust provisions are possible, and trust laws can be complex, so ideally an experienced trusts lawyer will set up your trust for you. Testamentary trusts are especially useful for providing for financial security for minor children or spouses.
The decision as to which trust type will best suit the distribution of your assets must be carefully taken. Living trusts tend to be more expensive to create than testamentary trusts, but they are more private as they do not become public records, unlike testamentary trusts.
At the offices of Gary I. Handin, PA.. we will be able to provide you with comprehensive legal advice so that you can make your will or trust work best for you and your loved ones.
Consult An Experienced Wills and Trusts Attorney For Ultimate Peace Of Mind
Our practice is known for its diligence and attention to detail, and we pride ourselves on having delivered exceptional legal services to the broader Florida and New York communities for a number of years. Don’t hesitate to contact the offices of Gary I. Handin, PA. – give us a call, check out Handin Law on Facebook, or visit our offices, and experience for yourself our outstanding wills and trusts legal advisory services.