Estate Planning

Establishing a personalized estate plan is very important to ensure your loved ones are protected in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away.

Creating an estate plan is not one size fits all. Many factors determine what type of plan and what documents are right for you and your family. You should consult a qualified estate planning attorney to review your family and financial situation and best advise you regarding accomplishing your estate planning goals.

Estate Plan Basics

Estate planning is not limited to listing on paper whom your assets will transfer to in the event that you pass away. A properly crafted estate plan can also assist with planning for incapacity, providing for minor children, avoiding probate and understanding and planning for estate taxes.

Most times, preparing a proper estate plan today can save your family substantial expense and heartache in the future. Probate and guardianship can be very expensive and confusing. By setting up a proper estate plan, you may be able to limit or avoid the need for these legal procedures.

Estate Planning Documents

At Bell Law Firm, P.A. in Palm Harbor, Florida, we can create one estate planning document for you or we can provide you with an entire estate planning package. Some common estate planning documents that may be prepared include:

  • Living Trust
  • Last Will & Testament
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Surrogate
  • Living Will

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Florida Homestead Laws and Estate Planning

Florida law provides certain protections and exemptions regarding a persons homestead property. A homestead property must be owned by the individual claiming homestead as well as serve as their primary residence.

Although many Florida residents are aware of the benefits of the Florida homestead exemption as it relates to property taxes, most people are not aware of the homestead law as it related to the protection from creditor claims. The Florida Constitution provides that the homestead of an individual is protected from many types of creditors’ claims during the life of the individual. Furthermore, this protection continues even after the death of the owner of the homestead property. As such, this homestead property shall pass to the spouse, children or other family members of the decedent free of most creditor claims.

When creating an estate plan, it is important to meet with an Attorney that is knowledgeable about the specific laws that apply to homestead property. Specifically, there are terms and provisions that may be added to a Last Will and Testament that may misguidedly waive this homestead protection. Additionally, it is important to note that Florida Law restricts to whom the homestead may be transferred when the individual is survived by a surviving spouse or minor child. Therefore, it is important to consider the specific laws when crafting your estate plan.