Peace Of Mind Through Purposeful Estate Planning
Every person over the age of 18 should have a will and advance directives in place as a hedge against future events. You cannot assume that your spouse, siblings or children will know your wishes or have the power to act if you are unexpectedly incapacitated. You cannot assume that your assets will magically pass to the right people if you died without a will.
I am Michelle Hollister, an experienced estate planning lawyer who is board-certified in elder law by the Florida Bar. My Boca Raton law firm serves people throughout South Florida who are ready to create or update these important documents. Let’s set up a time at your convenience to discuss my services.
Protection For You And Your Loved Ones
My clients come from all walks of life: newlyweds, parents of minor children, young adults leaving for college, baby boomers who are helping their own aging parents, new Florida residents who want to update their documents, and seniors who are concerned about being a burden to their children. The common thread is that they are looking ahead to plan their legacy and put their wishes in writing.
I can explore with you the basic estate planning components that will protect you and give direction to your family:
Last will and testament — Your will specifies who will inherit from your property, and the nature and amount of each person’s inheritance. Without a will, the Florida intestacy laws would dictate how your estate is distributed.
Living trust — A trust transfers title to some or all of your assets. While you are alive, you still control those assets, but upon death the contents of the trust pass to the beneficiaries you have named. The main advantage of a trust is that it goes directly to your heirs, bypassing the long and expensive probate process. Another benefit of trusts is controlling when your children inherit. Under Florida law, a minor child cannot inherit more than $25,000. A trust sets that money aside until they come of age.
Durable power of attorney –This document grants authority to act in your place regarding financial decisions if you become incapacitated by accident, illness or mental decline. I can help you choose the right person for this job, someone you trust who has financial smarts.
Health care power of attorney — This appoints a family member or other health care surrogate to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
Special needs trust — First Party (Self-Settled) and Third-Party Trusts for persons with special needs to protect government benefits or ensure eligibility for government benefits.
Living will — Also known as an advance directive, this spells out your specific wishes regarding life support and end-of-life care. A living will gives clear guidance to medical staff and spares your family members from agonizing decisions.
Guardianship – A preneed guardianship designation names who you would want as guardians of your minor children if both parents died or became incapacitated. Guardianship is also used to ensure that a special needs or incapacitated loved one has someone to look after their best interests.
Medicaid planning — A large part of my practice is advising families on how to maintain eligibility for Medicaid subsidy of nursing home care without depleting their life savings.
Comprehensive And Affordable Estate Plans
A simple will cannot cover all the bases. Most of my clients also create durable powers of attorney (advance directives) and a trust to avoid probate. All of these companion documents are typically provided in an estate planning package. I believe in being thorough but I have no desire to sell you things you don’t need. My practice is devoted to helping and protecting.
This upfront investment will give you peace today and make life easier for your loved ones in the future when they are coping with your death or declining health. To start the estate planning process, give me a call at 561-401-0743 or use the email form to reach out.