Orange Park Estate Planning Lawyer

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Orange Park Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning should be a top priority for all Floridians. Drafting and signing a will, establishing a trust, and other measures can protect your interests in the event that you become incapacitated or die. The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., is here to help you plan for the inevitable. Our Orange Park estate planning lawyer will guide you through the steps of estate planning and formulate a plan that meets your needs.

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Estate planning in Orange Park, FL is not mandated by law, but it can make life easier for your family when you pass. The death of a loved one following an unexpected car collision or illness can cause immense stress and grief for surviving loved ones. Uncertainty over how to settle the deceased person’s estate can add to that stress. Certain assets could be unavailable for funeral expenses when they are needed most.

Without estate planning, the probate courts will manage disposing of the estate. A judge will decide which heirs inherit what property and assets, and those decisions may go against your personal wishes.

While many people associate estate planning with events that occur after death, estate planning offers benefits for you during your life. Designating a healthcare surrogate, for example, can add clarity in the event of an unexpected accident. A car accident, serious illness, or fall could leave you temporarily indisposed.

As part of your estate plan, your attorney will discuss whether you should assign a healthcare surrogate to make important medical decisions on your behalf. This appointed individual could be vitally important as you recover. The surrogate will also make decisions based on your wishes as part of end-of-life care.

What Goes Into Estate Planning?

Estate planning with the help of your Orange Park estate planning lawyer could involve drafting a single legally binding document like a will. In Florida, wills must be written and signed before two witnesses. Then, the witnesses must sign the will in front of the testator. Although people may think any written document counts as a valid will, Florida law mandates that certain guidelines are followed. Failure to do so could invalidate the will.

Your estate planning attorney can guide you through the process of creating a trust. The fiduciary arrangement allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. One of the main benefits of setting up a trust is the ability to forgo probate court. Any assets listed in the trust will transfer to another person upon your death. The probate courts cannot interfere with that process if the trust is written lawfully and for lawful purposes.

If you plan on passing assets to one or more children, your lawyer can help you create a testamentary trust for your heirs. This document within a will adds clarity to how the inheritance can be spent. Often, parents set restrictions on how the money can be spent to prevent the property or assets from being misused.

Another important task your estate planning attorney can perform in Florida is the creation of a power of attorney. This document delegates power from one person (the principal) to another person under certain circumstances.

Having a power of attorney could be useful if you are temporarily indisposed or not of sound mind. Under the terms of the power of attorney, the agent who is granted legal authority to make decisions on your behalf could sell assets and property, sign contracts, give gifts, or create a trust on your behalf.

Estate Planning Lawyer FAQs

Q: What Assets Do Not Pass Through Probate in Florida?

A: There is a wide range of assets that do not need to go through probate. Your estate planning attorney can help you understand the full list of exceptions. Some of the more common assets that avoid probate include any assets designated to a revocable trust, assets with designated beneficiaries, jointly owned property, and joint accounts. Estate planning can reduce or even eliminate the need for your estate to go through probate in Florida.

Q: What Assets Must Go Through Probate in Florida?

A: Assets that go through probate in Florida are assets and property that do not have provisions for automatic succession of ownership. This means that any property or assets that you own that are not designated to be automatically passed to a beneficiary or heir at death will be handled through probate court. You can avoid the need for probate by working with an estate planner to set up a trust, will, or another court document or fiduciary arrangement.

Probate assets are those assets that the decedent owned in his or her sole name at death or that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners and lacked a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death.

Q: What Is a Typical Executor Fee in Florida?

A: Executors are paid along a sliding scale of 1.5% to 3.0%, based on the estate’s gross value. The executor, also known as the personal representative, is tasked with disposing of the assets of an estate. The work can be time-consuming, and Florida holds estate executors to a high standard. You can name your executor through estate planning. Executors can also be appointed by a probate court that has jurisdiction over the case.

Q: How Much Do Elder Law Attorneys Charge in Florida?

A: Elder law attorneys who practice in estate planning services charge between a few hundred dollars per hour to upwards of several hundred dollars per hour. Lawyer fees are generally based on experience and reputation. When seeking out an elder law attorney, consider their years of experience in the field of estate planning.

Schedule Your Orange Park Estate Planning Consultation Today

Proper estate planning comes with many benefits. Your relatives and beneficiaries will not have to struggle to understand your wishes if you become incapacitated or die. The probate court process can be expensive and costly. Establishing a trust and taking other precautions can protect your property and assets from being divided by the court system.

The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., is here to help. Reach out to our Florida office today for guidance, clarity, and support on this important topic.

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