View related topics

Deciding Between A Will And/Or Trust

Skilled estate planning can spare your loved ones unnecessary stress at a difficult time. Careful use of trusts and other estate planning vehicles can avoid a time-consuming probate process and costly disputes.

At Meador Johnson & Bushnell, P.A., our Pensacola attorneys can help you create a well-crafted, individualized estate plan that gives you peace of mind that your assets will transfer to the people and organizations you want in the manner you decide. Planning ahead can also minimize the cost of probate and estate administration.

An Estate Plan That Achieves Your Objectives

Though no two estate plans are the same, most have certain elements in common. These start with a basic will, perhaps supplemented with a trust. A comprehensive estate plan also includes a durable power of attorney for financial decisions and a health care power of attorney for medical decisions and end-of-life decisions if you become incapacitated.

There may also be specialized arrangements based on your unique situation. For example, you may have a family member who requires special care. In such a circumstance, a special-needs trust may be necessary.

What Is A Will?

A will is the centerpiece of any estate plan and specifically allows you to decide and determine who will receive your property at death. If you fail to make a will, Florida law will decide how your property is distributed at your death. You may create a will as early as the age of 18. You must have legal capacity and understand the nature and extent of your property, identify your heirs and how gifts will be distributed.

A will created for a person domiciled in Florida must be signed with certain formalities to be valid. In addition, a prior will may be altered only by another written document signed with the same formality.

Why Do I Need A Trust?

Trusts are set up to hold assets or property that will be distributed according to a schedule or with the approval of a trustee. A trust can be created for certain specialized needs, such as property ownership in multiple states or tax planning purposes, or if you have children from a prior marriage and a current one and want to provide for all of them.

Informed Decisions

Our lawyers can make sure you have all the information to make smart decisions as part of the estate planning process. To get started, call 800-785-4969 or 850-483-0773. You can also schedule a consultation by sending us an email.