If you die without a will in Florida, you are said to have died intestate and the state of Florida applies its laws of intestate succession to determine how your property is distributed and in what proportion to your survivors. But what the state decides may not be what you want — especially if you have a complicated family situation. Having a will enables you to articulate your decisions about who will receive your property. A will may also prevent any future disputes among your heirs, especially when there are surviving spouses and offspring from other marriages involved.
Creating an estate plan requires attention to detail, foresight and a tailored approach to address your unique needs. At the law office of James W. Magaha, I take the time to learn about you, your family and your assets. I also work with any advisors, such as your personal financial adviser, insurance agent and other professionals helping you plan for your future, to draft a plan that accommodates your resources as well as your personal goals.
By understanding you and your assets and by speaking with your advisers, I can help you prepare a wide range of estate planning documents, including:
Most commonly set up to care for minor children or disabled adult relatives, a trust enables you to transfer assets out of your name to another individual. One of the benefits of including a trust in your estate plan is avoidance of probate. Probate is the legal process required to transfer the ownership of your assets to your beneficiaries. Because a trust contains instructions for the distribution of your assets without court proceedings, a trust bypasses probate.
If probate administration is required, I am experienced in the procedures involved, including finding and collecting assets and paying estate taxes.