Wills & Trusts Attorney in Ocala, Florida
Wills and trusts are vital estate planning tools that allow you to leave assets for beneficiaries and provide specific instructions regarding how you want your final affairs to be settled and how your assets should be distributed or disposed of when you're gone. Whether you have a large or small estate, having a properly-drafted will or living trust can help protect your assets, property, investments, and family members when you die or become suddenly incapacitated.
If you are considering drafting a will or trust, consulting with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney is crucial for detailed guidance. At Michael A. Siefert, P.A., I'm committed to offering personalized guidance and reliable advocacy to individuals, families, and fiduciaries in the legal matters of estate planning. As your legal counsel, I can enlighten you about the benefits of having a will or trust and determine the ideal choice for your unique needs and goals.
My firm – Michael A. Siefert, P.A. – is proud to serve clients across Ocala, Florida, and surrounding areas throughout Marion County.
Overview of Wills
A will or last will and testament is a legal document that allows you (the testator) to provide detailed instructions regarding how you want your estate to be administered and your assets to be distributed or disposed of after your death. In Florida, if you die intestate – without creating a will – your estate will be administered using the state's intestate succession laws.
Types of Wills
The following types of wills are recognized in Florida:
Attested Will: An attested will is a last will and testament that is written and signed (executed) by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.
Out-Of-State Wills: An out-of-state will is a will written and executed in another state. Such a will is valid in Florida if it is in writing and valid within the jurisdiction where it was executed.
Military Will: A military will is a last will and testament that is written by an eligible person according to the procedures set under federal laws. Military wills are often similar to attested wills and feature the same formalities.
Content of the Will
Here are some important elements you must include in your will:
Details about asset distribution
Details of any trusts
Details of inheritors – beneficiaries and heirs
The name of your personal representatives or executors
Careful financial planning to avoid inheritance tax liability
Guardianship wishes for minor children
Funeral and burial arrangements
Commonly Inherited Assets
Here are some commonly inherited assets in a will:
Personal belongings and household items
Trusts and shares
Houses or any other property
Pension or life insurance payout
Money in a bank account
Money to pay outstanding debt
Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
Other physical possessions
If you're considering drafting a will, it is important that you speak with an experienced estate planning attorney straight away. Your lawyer can determine the various assets to include in your will and help you navigate crucial decisions.
Overview of Trusts
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement whereby a person (the trustor, settlor, or grantor) allows another person (a trustee or successor trustee) to hold or manage assets on the beneficiary's behalf. The trustee will manage trust assets and distribute them to rightful beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust documents.
Types of Trusts
In Florida, living trusts are created and funded while the trustor is alive. A living trust may be categorized as "revocable" or "irrevocable."
Revocable Trust: A revocable trust is a trust that is flexible and can be amended, terminated, or revoked by the settlor at any time. The settlor will maintain total control over the trust while they are alive.
Irrevocable Trust: An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be revoked, modified, or amended by the settlor once executed. The trustor will relinquish control over the trust after funding it. Also, the trust assets will be exempt from estate taxes.
Others: Some other types of trusts include:
Special needs trusts
A knowledgeable attorney can enlighten you about your available options and guide you through the process of creating your trust documents.
Process of Creating a Trust
Here are the steps involved in creating a living trust in Florida:
Determine the type of trust you want to create.
Select the assets and property you want to place in the trust.
Choose a trustee to hold trust assets.
Determine the beneficiaries of the trust assets.
Draft the trust document with the guidance of a trusted estate planning lawyer.
Sign the trust document in front of a notary public.
Change the title of the trust assets.
Fund the trust.
An experienced lawyer can walk you through every procedure involved in creating your trust and ensure that it is legal and valid.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
It can never be too early to start planning for an uncertain future. Should you become unavailable, incapacitated, critically ill, or otherwise unable to voice your opinion, your surviving family members can benefit from knowing your exact wishes and desires. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can evaluate your available legal options and decide the right estate plan that best suits your personal needs and those of your loved ones.
At Michael A. Siefert, P.A., I have the resources, diligence, and experience to advise and guide clients in estate planning-related matters, including wills and trusts. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate your unique situation and help you understand the different estate planning options that are available to you. Also, I can guide you through the legal process involved in drafting a will, living trust, and other estate planning documents. I will outline a strategic plan to protect your property, assets, and investments and help you achieve your goals of transferring your accumulated assets to your family members.
Wills & Trusts Attorney
Serving Ocala, Florida
If you need assistance when creating your will, trust, or estate plan, contact my firm – Michael A. Siefert, P.A. – today to schedule a simple consultation. I can offer you the experienced legal counsel, support, and knowledgeable advocacy you need to navigate crucial decisions in your estate planning. My firm is proud to serve clients across Ocala, Florida, and surrounding areas throughout Marion County.