Experienced Tampa Bay Attorney for Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
Pinellas Legal Center offers comprehensive wills and trust estate planning services in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and throughout Pinellas County and Tampa Bay. Attorney John P. Joseph takes the time to sit down with you and listen to your needs regarding your estate planning. We advise you on your options and draft all the legal instruments necessary to accomplish your goals, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills and advance health care directives. Our goal is to help you make the best decisions to ensure that you are properly taken care of during your lifetime while also leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.
The will is a central instrument for your estate planning. Through a will, you can express your desire for how you want your property distributed, including inheritances of money and specific gifts of money, property or personal possessions to friends, families and charities, including gifts to religious or educational institutions. The will is also the proper place to name an executor/personal representative of your estate, and to appoint a guardian for your children if necessary. Even if you are placing most of your assets into trusts, a will can contain an important “pour-over” provision to make sure that all of your property is properly accounted for and distributed according to your wishes. Any property left out of your estate plan is distributed by the state according to Florida probate law.
To be valid, a will must meet certain specific legal requirements as outlined under Florida law. Common mistakes often occur in the drafting, revising or revoking of wills, leading to unnecessary agonizing and emotional disputes among family members in a time of grief and mourning. Pinellas Legal Center can make sure that any new or revised will meets the legal requirements to be valid and enforceable while also meeting your needs and goals.
A revocable living trust is an excellent tool that should be considered as part of your estate planning. A trust offers some distinct tax advantages and has the added benefit of removing property from the probate estate, making the administration of your estate faster and less costly. With a trust, you can decide who will receive your property after you are gone, while still retaining control and receiving the benefit of the asset during your lifetime.
Powers of Attorney
Estate planning is about more than just where your property goes after you die. It is equally important to decide in advance what would happen in the event you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, either physically or mentally, and are unable to care for yourself or manage your finances. By drafting powers of attorney in advance, you choose people whom you trust to make decisions on your behalf and carry out your wishes during a period of incapacity. Powers of attorney can be made to last as long as necessary, even permanently, or the power and authority can revert back to you once you have sufficiently recovered.
Advance directives are like powers of attorney directing certain actions to be taken under specific circumstances. Common advance directives in Florida include living wills and health care surrogates. Through a Living Will, you can make your wishes known regarding the provision, withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event of a terminal condition. A Health Care Surrogate is a person you designate to make health care decisions on your behalf during a period of incapacity.
Advance directives must be drawn up properly according to law in order to be effective. Pinellas Legal Center provides knowledgeable and experienced assistance in drafting, reviewing or revising these documents to ensure their legal validity and enforceability. It is important once you have created advance directives that you let others know about their existence and contents, so they can easily be found and given effect if they are ever needed.
Probate is the court-supervised process of giving effect to your will and other testamentary documents, and settling your estate in accordance with the law and your expressed wishes. Pinellas Legal Center conducts estate planning with an eye toward reducing the time and cost commonly associated with probate and estate administration, and to avoid any disputes that sometimes arise when a will is improperly drafted or ambiguously worded.
Experienced Tampa Bay Wills & Trusts Attorney for All Your Estate Planning Needs
For nearly 30 years, attorney John P. Joseph has been providing sound advice and professional assistance to people of all ages in the Tampa Bay area who are creating or revising their wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. Get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family will be taken care of. Contact Pinellas Legal Center for your estate planning needs.