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Estate Planning

When it comes to Estate Planning, there is no “one size fits all” plan. Some clients may simply be seeking to update existing Estate Planning documents, and some may be considering Estate Planning for the first time, whether it be due to a recent inheritance, medical diagnosis, or just being prepared for whatever life may throw at you. Regardless of the scenario our potential clients may fall into, one thing is constant: The Law Office of Laurita & Lentini will provide our clients with comprehensive legal assistance, which will eliminate the stress and complexity of the Estate Planning process. Our firm will create a customized plan that covers the most pressing concerns that arise with Estate Planning and will remain easily accessible for any questions or future legal matters.

What is an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities after your death or incapacitation.

What does an estate plan consist of?

Last Will and Testament

A legal document executed with certain formalities, that expresses a person's wishes as to how their property is to be distributed after their death and designates a person to serve as a personal representative, who will manage the property until its final distribution.

Living Will

A legal document where the right is given from one person to another to discontinue life support and permit the person to die naturally, if they are found to be mentally or physically incapacitated.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate

Authorizes a chosen person to make health care decisions on their behalf if they are unable to.

Power of Attorney

A document in which a person (the “principal”) designates another person to act on the principal’s behalf, for the length of time designated, or upon being found legally incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney

This document, while similar to a Power of Attorney, is distinct because it designates another person to act on the principal’s behalf beyond a finding of incapacitation.

Can I revoke or amend my existing will?

Yes, an existing will can be revoked or amended. A person with testamentary capacity—meaning a person who has not been found legally incapacitated—may revoke their will at any time prior to death. This may be done either by operation of law, a subsequent instrument, such as a codicil, or by a physical act. Moreover, a will may still be revoked even if it has been contractually agreed to not be revocable. On the other hand, an existing will can be amended via a Codicil, which is a supplement to a will that modifies it, or by operation of law, such as, in the case of a divorce or premature death of an intended beneficiary.

Common Misconceptions

I am not rich enough to have an estate plan.

False! Estate Planning is for all, regardless of their wealth. Any person that owns real property, personal property—such as jewelry, furniture, and other items of sentimental value—, own insurance, or functions as the main provider for their family or others should have an estate plan in place, regardless of value or size of their estate, marital status, or age. In addition to the distribution of your wealth, an estate plan is also comprised of other important decisions, such as, what should happen in the event of potential incapacitation, end-of-life medical decision, the appointment of a legal guardian for your children, etc. Having an estate plan is crucial for the protection of those who rely on you the most.

If I pass away without a will, the state will keep my assets

True and False! While it is true that one’s assets can escheat to the state, it is false that this would occur automatically upon death. When a person passes without an estate plan, the laws of intestacy of their state will dictate how the estate will be divided amongst the heirs. However, if a person does not have heirs, then their assets will escheat to the state. By having an estate plan, you can avoid having the state dictate who will inherit upon your passing. This puts you in control in the designation of your beneficiaries, what they stand to inherit, or not inherit…

I don’t need an attorney; I can write my own will.

True and False. While it is true that you can draft a will without an attorney, you must still adhere to all of the requirements that makes a Last Will and Testament legally valid in the state of Florida. Having an attorney draft your will, guarantees the validity and enforceability of that will should it be contested.

Let us guide you through Estate Planning