Jacksonville Trust Attorney

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Jacksonville Trust Lawyer

Probate is a complex and lengthy process, and it is often the last thing that people want to manage when they are grieving a loved one. Living trusts enable your beneficiaries to bypass the probate process. Without a trust, your assets and estate may be tied up in probate court for months to years, and your beneficiaries cannot access it during this time.

Probate court will also impact the financial benefits that you want to give to your loved ones. Court costs and federal estate taxes will also lessen the value of your estate. Our firm’s clients in Jacksonville, Florida, who have living trusts can utilize their assets during their lifetimes. After death, assets that are placed in a trust avoid probate by remaining in the ownership of the trust and the trustee.

The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A.: Jacksonville Trust and Estate Planning

The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., knows that the probate process can be problematic for your beneficiaries if they do not have the funds to maintain their inherited property. A comprehensive estate plan and a living trust can prevent this issue from arising. It can also provide other benefits by protecting your loved ones and safeguarding your assets.

Our attorneys can determine your goals for estate planning and work to create a will, a trust, and any other documents that support your goals. For 20 years, our firm has provided compassionate legal care to those dealing with the sensitive and complex issues of estate planning and probate court. Call us today to learn about how a living trust could benefit your heirs.

Plan Ahead to Protect Your Best Interests

Proactive estate planning allows you to anticipate both you and your beneficiaries’ future needs, and is one of the smartest ways to ensure your family’s security for years to come. There are a variety of trusts that we can institute to accomplish your goals:

  • Living trusts: You can use a living trust to make the transfer of your assets easier for your loved ones and avoid probate court. A living trust can be made irrevocable or revocable, but either becomes irrevocable upon your death. A living trust places certain assets from your estate into a trust, which is its own legal entity. When you create a trust, you can name yourself the trustee, ensuring that you have power and control over those assets. The successor trustee that you name will become the trustee after your death, and they will then be responsible for the care and distribution of the trust’s assets to your heirs. Because these assets are always within the trust’s ownership, they never pass to public ownership.
  • Revocable and irrevocable trusts: A revocable trust can be altered and updated throughout your life while you are competent to do so, while an irrevocable trust cannot be altered once it is made. Each trust has its specific uses, and an attorney can help you determine what aids your goals. Whether you wish to change the terms of a trust or not, we can create an arrangement that suits you.
  • Gun trusts: This type of trust allows you to pass your firearms to the next generation and ensure the government does not take them when you die.
  • Pet trusts: This trust allows you to provide for your beloved companion animal’s care after you pass away. You can assign a caretaker and provide finances for a pet’s care.
  • Medicaid protection trusts: This form of irrevocable trust makes sure that you have assets to pay for your care yet still qualify for Medicaid.
  • Special needs trusts: Do you have an adult in your life who has special needs? Use a trust to provide for them. This is another form of irrevocable trust. It allows an individual to qualify for the governmental benefits that they need to live while ensuring that they have a source of funds.

For a trust to be successful, it must be carefully created and legally enforceable. With a solid trust drafted by our firm, you will have a plan for the equitable distribution of your wealth to the people or organizations you name as your beneficiaries. Learn more about how you can use wills and trusts in your estate plan.

Why Do I Need an Attorney to Create a Living Trust?

Many people create trusts and estate plans to protect their assets and ensure that their family and loved ones receive the benefits of their estate. If your trust or will is found to be invalid, your wishes will not be followed after your death.

Trusts and wills can also be disputed by those with interest in your estate, which could undo the work you’ve put into your estate plan. By collaborating with an attorney, you can minimize these risks and create a legally enforceable document that you can feel confident in.

An attorney can also tailor your estate plan to meet your unique needs. You may have specific requirements for the care and guardianship of minor children, how a business is handled, or other specific provisions. An experienced estate planning attorney can determine what estate planning documents in Jacksonville fit your needs.

The Benefits of Creating a Living Trust

Avoiding probate is one of the primary benefits of creating a trust. A living trust has several additional benefits, including:

  • Keeping Your Affairs Private
    Probate court is a matter of public record. By keeping the majority of your estate out of probate, you are maintaining your privacy and that of your family and assets. Your estate can be settled more quickly, at a lower cost, and will not be accessible on public record. This privacy also limits potential challenges to the validity of your trust. Although it does not prevent the trust from being contested, it mitigates the risk of a challenge from those who are not included as heirs.
  • Limiting Federal Estate Taxes and Other Costs
    Assets that pass through probate may be subject to federal estate taxes. By placing most assets into a trust, you can gain tax advantages and maximize the benefits left to your heirs. You also avoid the probate court costs and loss of time for your loved ones.
  • Avoiding a Guardianship
    If you become incapacitated or incapable prior to your death, your successor trustee will be left in charge of the finances in the trust. They will have the ability to handle certain financial affairs, which can prevent the need for courts to become involved with guardianships. In a comprehensive estate plan, you can also assign medical and financial powers of attorney, providing more clear authority over financial needs and instructions about your medical care.
  • Ensuring Control Over Your Assets
    Your trust can have provisions specific to your family, estate, and needs. Assets can be provided to beneficiaries when they reach certain ages or be used for a clearly stated purpose. You have more control over your assets and can be more confident that your wishes will be followed.

What Does a Trust Cost in Florida?

Creating an enforceable and effective trust with an attorney can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. An attorney’s fees will depend on whether they charge a flat fee or an hourly fee, where their firm is located, and how complex your estate planning needs are. A more thorough estate plan will be more expensive.

What Is Better in Florida: A Will or a Trust?

A will and a trust are different documents with different purposes. Both wills and revocable trusts can be altered and updated throughout your life to adapt to changes in your needs. Many comprehensive estate plans include both a will and a trust, and these documents can reinforce the provisions of the others.

A will lists your wishes for your estate after your death, including which heirs receive what assets. A will is a matter of public record and does not keep your assets from probate court. All the assets in a will still go through the expensive and lengthy probate process. Unlike a will, a living trust is a private document and a separate legal entity.

Learn About Estate Planning Possibilities

A trust and complete estate plan are useful for anyone hoping to protect their assets and save their loved ones stress, time, and money. At the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., we want to help you create a trust that meets your needs and ensures that your assets are in the control of someone you trust. You can contact us online today or call us at 904-299-6913 to begin your own estate plan to uniquely address your situation. We serve clients throughout the Jacksonville, Florida, metro area.

Practice Areas

Probate & Estate
Elder Law


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