Estate Planning

Wills & Trusts • Revocable Trusts • Advance Directives

Wills & Trusts

Elder Law Associates PA is a full service estate planning firm, using wills and trusts to accomplish the most proper end of life plan for our clients. These documents provide for asset protection during life, asset distribution upon death and may allow the estate to avoid probate. We advise clients regarding the benefits, advantages and disadvantages of different trusts and assist clients with funding issues.

Following are some examples of documents in which we specialize:

  • When drafting last will and testaments, we take all issues into consideration including choices of personal representatives; payment methods; testamentary plans; trusts for spouses, children, and pets; and pourover provisions.
  • We use revocable trusts to allow our clients to avoid the probate process, provide a means for proper asset distribution and ensure the proper management of assets in the event of incapacity.
  • We create irrevocable trusts to protect client assets from creditors (including Medicaid as a creditor), provide a means for asset preservation, create a vehicle to receive asset transfers, maximize tax benefits and facilitate planning for Medicaid.
  • We establish supplemental care trusts within a last will and testament to provide financial support for a spouse who is or may be receiving Medicaid benefits to enhance the spouse’s quality of life while preserving the spouse’s ongoing Medicaid benefits.

Revocable Trusts

We use revocable trusts to allow our clients to avoid the probate process, and provide a means for proper asset distribution and proper management of assets in the event of incapacity.

Revocable trusts name a trustee who will continue to properly manage one’s assets in the event of permanent loss of capacity, temporary unavailability or upon death. A revocable trust may be used to retain assets for many later generations and leave a legacy from the grantor while properly planning for all available tax benefits. The administration of a trust typically results in considerably less attorney fees then otherwise applicable probate fees.

Within the revocable trust there are many available planning options. For example, the trust can provide for protective trusts in the event one beneficiary is an inappropriate spender or too immature to handle the assets, if a beneficiary is disabled in any way, or if a beneficiary is going through a divorce. It may also plan for charitable gifts and specific gifts of property.

Furthermore, under Florida law, the trustee must provide accountings to all beneficiaries thus ensuring all loved ones are properly and adequately informed and that the assets are being disbursed and handled as the creator of the trust intended.

Advance Directives

Elder Law Associates PA assists clients in planning for incapacity by preparing durable powers of attorney. The durable power of attorney is a detailed document providing legal authority for the client’s designee to act on the client’s behalf when the client is unable physically and/or mentally to act on his/her own. The language we use in power of attorney documents relates distinctly to clients who are elderly or have disabilities.

Our firm prepares designations of health care surrogate. The health care surrogate document allows clients to choose loved ones who will make vital health care decisions when they are unable to make those decisions for themselves. We take care to ensure all state and federal regulations are complied with, including HIPPA language and Florida statutory requirements.

Our attorneys prepare sophisticated living wills. This legal document specifies the client’s wishes regarding all life sustaining devices and must be revised continuously to remain current with new and evolving laws. Living wills are most appropriate for adults aged 21 years and above under various circumstances. The younger population is most susceptible to trauma-related persistent vegetative states. In contrast, seniors’ hospital stays and related illnesses are often the impetus for persistent vegetative states prompting the need for a living will to limit unnecessary and undesired prolonged medical treatment.

We provide Estate Planning services to the following cities/municipalities and the surrounding communities in South Florida.