At Vassallo, Bilotta, Friedman & Davis, we can help you with your estate planning. We prepare:
Wills – A will is a legal document that contains instructions on how an individual’s property and assets are to be distributed after the death of the individual. A will must be in writing, notarized and witnessed by two independent witnesses. By creating a will, an individual is able to name the individuals or organizations (charities) that he or she wants their property to be distributed to after their passing. Property may be jewelry, artwork, house, car, motorcycle, boat, land, furniture, bank accounts, insurance policies or retirement accounts. The individuals or organizations named in the will are known as the beneficiaries.
If you pass away without a valid will, your estate will be intestate. Your beneficiaries will be determined by statute and the laws of Florida will dictate how your property, money, and assets are distributed. Although a will must still be probated in the appropriate Court, without a valid will, an administrator will be appointed by the Court, a bond may be required to be posted, and delays may occur if disputes arise among possible court determined beneficiaries. By having a valid will, you get to determine where your assets go upon your death.
Revocable Living Trusts – A trust is recommended for those individuals that want to avoid probate. By avoiding probate, your estate will remain private and pass more quickly to your beneficiaries. Unlike a will, which goes into effect after you pass away, a revocable living trust can be a helpful estate planning tool both before and after your death. Revocable living trusts should be funded upon formation and assets may be added to or removed from the trust during your lifetime. You retain complete control and use of the assets.
“Pour-Over” Wills – A pour-over will is prepared in conjunction with a revocable trust. Any assets that failed to be funded into the trust “pour-over” into the trust. This allows the transfer of assets as seamless as possible, with minimal probate involvement as trusts are not under the supervision of the Court.
Living Will – A living will outlines and provides directions regarding your preferred medical treatment and whether the use of extraordinary measures should be performed should you become unable to act on your own behalf, unconscious, or even terminally ill.
Health Care Surrogate – A Health Care Surrogate is usually a family member or very close friend. A Health Care Surrogate is someone you appoint to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options if you lose the ability to decide for yourself.
Power of Attorney (“POA”) – A Power of Attorney is useful to allow someone you trust to assist you with various tasks while you are still alive. You can give as much or as little power to that individual as you see fit. You may give your POA the authority to control your finances, pay bills, withdraw money from your accounts, perform estate planning, invest in and sell stocks, control operations of your business, take distributions from your IRAs, sell or refinance your home. The powers of the Power of Attorney end upon your death.