Amelia Island Estate Planning Lawyer

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Best Amelia Island Estate Planning Lawyer

Amelia Island Estate Planning Attorney

Proper estate planning can lessen the burdens on your loved ones after you pass. Without legal documents like a will or trust, your family may be forced to sort out your wishes through a lengthy and costly probate court process. At the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., our Amelia Island estate planning lawyer will carefully and competently guide you through the steps of estate planning. The process is customized to meet the needs of individual clients.

With the help of our Amelia Island attorney, you’ll soon have peace of mind knowing that your hard-earned legacy is protected.

What Is Estate Planning and What Does It Involve?

Over a lifetime, people on Amelia Island accumulate property and assets that become the owner’s estate. Estate planning is the process of preparing for the disposition of those assets during life and after death. One goal of estate planning is to ensure that the estate owner’s wishes for dividing those assets are protected. There are several main elements to estate planning.


One way that you can avoid sending certain assets to probate is by establishing a revocable trust. A living trust avoids the need for probate court. The trustee has the authority to manage the trust assets, and the courts cannot touch those assets. Fully funding the trust can ensure that the trust avoids probate.

Testamentary Trust for Children

If you plan to pass property or assets to your children, having a testamentary trust can add clarity to that process. The purpose of a testamentary trust within a will is to set restrictions on how an inheritance can be spent. This ensures that the property or assets are used in a responsible manner.

Creating a Will

Creating a will is easily the most widely understood component of estate planning. The document directs how assets and property are disposed of after death. In order for a will to be valid in the eyes of the court, certain requirements must be met.

  • The testator (person making the will) must be 18 or older
  • The testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is signed
  • The will must be written
  • The signing of the will must be witnessed

The will does not become final until the death of the testator. Up until that time, the document can be altered or amended. A separate written addition is known as a codicil. A will cannot be altered, even for clarification, once the will is executed.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a powerful legal document. It delegates authority from one person to someone else. The person making the power of attorney is the principal. Through the power of attorney, they grant legal authority to an agent who then has broad powers to act on behalf of the principal.

This document can give someone the right to sell property and assets. It may also be used to access bank accounts or sign contracts. Or it can be used to create trusts. A power of attorney can be a useful resource when the principal is temporarily or permanently indisposed.

Healthcare Surrogates

When you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your healthcare surrogate can make those decisions for you. Designating a healthcare surrogate is an important part of estate planning. Old age, disease, and accidents can leave someone unexpectedly unable to make important medical decisions for themself. Delegating that responsibility to a trusted friend or relative can ensure that your interests are protected if and when you are hospitalized.

What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

Dying without a will is known as dying intestate. The probate courts will distribute your property and assets to your heirs based on intestate laws. If there are no heirs, the state will take ownership of your estate. Failing to have a will in place could create a significant burden for your family. They would likely have to hire attorneys to navigate the complicated probate system.

In the end, your wishes for how your property is divided up could be ignored. The cost of the probate court process may be taken directly out of your estate, which would diminish the inheritance you pass down to your heirs.

FAQs for Estate Planning Attorneys

Q: Do I Need an Estate Attorney in Florida?

A: You do not need an estate attorney, but having one comes with many benefits. Even something seemingly simple like a will has to be drafted in a specific way to be seen as valid in the eyes of the court. Estate planning should be revisited throughout your life as your estate grows and your goals evolve.

Q: What Is the Average Cost for Estate Planning in Florida?

A: Estate planning in Florida could cost as little as several hundred dollars for a single task or several thousand dollars for more comprehensive planning. The cost of your estate planning will depend on the documents you require and the number of hours our attorney and legal team put into your estate planning. Once in place, your estate plan will be ready to meet your needs, although revisiting your plan every several years can help your plan stay current.

Q: Do I Need an Estate Plan in Florida?

A: Estate planning is needed to avoid a drawn-out probate process. Without estate planning, your heirs will not know what your wishes are for dividing your property and assets. While estate planning is not legally required, it can ultimately save your relatives precious time and money. Our attorneys can streamline the process for you.

Q: How Do I Avoid Probate in Florida?

A: You can avoid probate by having a comprehensive estate plan in place. Having a trust in place, for example, transfers assets according to the language in the trust. Giving gifts toward the end of your life prevents those gifts from going through probate. Joint ownership of property allows that land to be passed to the surviving spouse without the need for probate.

Schedule Your Amelia Island Estate Planning Consultation Today

Planning how your assets and property will be divided after your death requires careful and attentive work by an estate planning attorney. The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., provides comprehensive estate planning services that can prevent the need for costly probate intervention after you pass. Reach out today for clarity, guidance, and support on this important topic.


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