Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fort Lauderdale Estate Planning Attorney Focused on Your Future

Wills, trusts & strategic gifting, can help protect those who matter most

No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario or dwell on the potential consequences of their sudden incapacitation due to a car accident, cardiac arrest, or fall. However, the risk of not being prepared can be severe. Without a solid estate plan established by a trusted Fort Lauderdale estate planning lawyer, no official guidance or direction will be available regarding what you would want in serious situations that may involve:

  • Life and Death Medical Decisions
  • Child Guardianship
  • Wealth and Asset Distribution
  • Inheritance
  • Management of Business and Finances

Disagreements about what you would have wanted can be ruinous for your legacy and your loved ones, but there are many proactive steps you can take to prevent familial discord.

“Geoff is in a class of his own. He helped me every step of the way and was only ever a text away if I ever had any questions or concerns. I definitely recommend The Levy Firm.”
Lana D.

Our customized estate planning process puts you in control

We can help with the first step. Contact The Levy Firm PLLC in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to learn more about how our customized estate plans can accomplish your legacy goals with:

  • Offshore Planning
  • Trusts
  • Wills and Testaments
  • Choosing the Right Personal Representative (Executor)
  • Updating or Changing Estate Plans
  • Advanced Medical Directives

Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about how you can protect your assets and safeguard your family with a comprehensive estate plan.

Florida’s 5 essential estate planning documents

Estate plans address medical and financial decisions in case of incapacitation and implement strategies to minimize taxes and streamline the transfer of assets to beneficiaries. Everyone, regardless of age or wealth, needs an estate plan to ensure their wishes are carried out, family disputes are avoided, and taxes and court costs are minimized. Common components of a Florida estate plan include:

  1. Last Will and Testament is the cornerstone, specifying how assets should be distributed after death.
  2. Living Will provides guidance on medical decisions, maintaining control over one's healthcare.
  3. Health Care Surrogate is a named person to make medical decisions if the individual is unable to do so.
  4. Durable Power of Attorney ensures seamless management of financial matters if incapacitated.
  5. Trusts serve as a versatile tool, facilitating the organized and private distribution of assets during and after one's lifetime, often bypassing the probate process.

Avoiding probate in Florida

Avoiding probate is a major driving force behind estate planning. Probate is a court process in which your estate is assessed, taxes are levied, debts settled, and assets distributed. The best way to avoid probate is to make proactive plans.

In Florida, all estates without a will are probated. If there are disagreements in settling the estate, probate can be time-consuming and expensive as the State of Florida – not someone of your choosing – makes decisions about guardianship as well as division of property and finances.

The Levy Firm PLLC is committed to understanding our clients' needs, keeping estates out of probate, and minimizing tax impact. Our holistic approach to estate planning involves:

  • Attentive Understanding. Truly comprehending each client's unique needs and goals.
  • Innovative Solutions. Offering creative and tailored strategies to enhance financial well-being.
  • Expert Coordination. When a plan calls for it, we connect with our network of other skilled experts and professionals, such as an investment adviser, actuary, insurance specialist and tax accountant, to complete a proper estate plan.
  • Peace of Mind. Providing step-by-step assistance and expert guidance through the estate planning process.
  • Lifetime Support and Availability. When you hire The Levy Firm PLLC, you have a lawyer for life and probate. Every client gets Geoff’s personal cell number and a promise to respond within 24 hours. Our law firm provides ongoing support, attentiveness, and availability for your legal needs, throughout your lifetime.

South Florida estate planning FAQ

What is better in Florida: a will or a trust?

Wills and trusts are separate estate planning tools that serve different, complementary purposes. A will allows individuals to specify guardianship for minor children, outline funeral and burial wishes, nominate an executor, and distribute their assets. Conversely, a trust focuses on managing and distributing assets during and after an individual's lifetime, avoiding probate, and providing ongoing control. Everyone needs a will, but many people can benefit from setting up a trust in addition to a will. Consulting with our Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney can help you determine the most suitable option based on your preferences and objectives.

How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in Florida?

Florida does not technically have a “Small Estate Affidavit or Application” that allows people with consolidated assets to avoid probate. Instead, the Sunshine State allows “Summary Administrations.” To qualify for a summary administration, an estate must meet two requirements:

  • Estate assets are valued less than $75,000
  • A clear, legal pathway exists for distribution of assets

Summary administration is typically sought in cases with sole beneficiaries and limited complexities. However, it's important to note that qualifying thresholds for such administrations may undergo changes. Therefore, consulting with a Florida estate planning attorney is critical to ensure compliance with current legal requirements.

How long do you have to settle an estate in Florida?

Every estate is unique and the length of time it takes to settle will depend on circumstances and the jurisdiction where it was filed. Generally, though, a well-prepared and straightforward estate could be complete within 5-6 months. However, if the executor of the estate is not responsive, the will is contested, there is no will, or the last will and testament documents don't adhere to the law, it could take a year or longer for an estate to be settled.

Protect the people who matter most

Estate planning offers a valuable opportunity to streamline the distribution of assets, reduce tax implications, and provide individuals with control over their financial legacy. The Levy Firm PLLC is dedicated to ensuring your assets are distributed to your loved ones and the institutions the way you want them to be. Contact The Levy Firm PLLC for a free and confidential consultation. We can answer questions and explain the process.

Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.
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Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.

If protecting your legacy and the financial security of your loved ones is a concern of yours, it’s a concern of ours. Let’s talk. Our law firm provides legal services in English and Spanish. Free consultations for new clients.

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