Clearwater Estate Planning Attorneys
Protect Your Loved Ones & Secure Your Assets
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., we believe that your assets should be protected against creditors, predators, divorce, and even the poor decisions of your heirs themselves. We believe that you, not the government, should determine how your assets are distributed when you pass away. Your estate should not be gutted by onerous death taxes, and your life savings should not be depleted in order to obtain long-term medical care. Our Clearwater estate planning attorneys
can help you protect your legacy and your loved ones.
How Can an Estate Planning Attorney in Clearwater, FL Help?
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning
is not only for the phenomenally wealthy. Every family should have an estate plan
of its own.
Foundational Estate Planning Documents Include:
- Last Will & Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advance Health Care Directives
- Living Will
- Revocable Living Trust (optional)
Whatever your unique situation, the Clearwater estate planning attorneys
at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. will custom tailor a solution that meets your specific needs in a sensitive and confidential environment.
What Type of Estate Plan Is Best for My Family in Clearwater, FL?
The primary vehicles for estate planning in Clearwater, Florida are a Will-based estate plan
and a Revocable Living Trust-based estate plan
. Our estate planning attorneys
can help you decide which type of plan is better suited for your family and your personal estate planning goals. We will explain the different estate planning options available to you so that you can make the most informed decision regarding who should inherit your assets (your beneficiaries) and how your beneficiaries should inherit your assets, as well as whom you trust to be Personal Representative of your Will and/or Trustee of your Revocable Living Trust. Our estate planning attorneys also advise on the pros and cons of using beneficiary designations and Lady Bird Deeds (also known as Enhanced Life Estate Deeds) as part of your overall estate plan. Read more about Revocable Living Trusts
While most clients express their primary estate planning goal as “probate avoidance,” this is but one of many aspects of the estate planning process our estate planning attorneys will cover with you.
Other Important Factors to Consider During the Estate Planning Process Include:
- selection of fiduciaries
- selection of beneficiaries
- the particulars of your individual asset and liability profile
- business succession planning
- special beneficiary concerns.
Special beneficiary concerns can include planning for: beneficiaries with special needs, beneficiaries who are prone to irresponsible spending habits, and beneficiaries with addiction issues or mental illness. Our estate planning and living trust attorneys are skilled at customizing estate plans that are individually tailored to the unique needs of your family situation. Read more about Probate & Guardianship.
Do I Need to Update My Estate Plan If I Move to Clearwater, Florida?
We are frequently asked whether clients who move to Florida from another state must update their entire estate plan when they become Florida residents. In most cases, our estate planning attorneys
recommend that, at a minimum, these clients update their Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives to be compliant with Florida law. We will review your out-of-state estate planning documents to determine whether additional updates are recommended. When meeting with our estate planning attorneys, you can expect a straight-forward explanation of what must be updated versus what should be updated so that you can make an informed decision based on your goals and budget.
Will Florida Taxes Affect Our Estate Plan?
We will advise you on any estate tax and related tax concerns that may affect your estate plan. For instance, Florida does not impose a state-level estate or death tax. On the federal level, the amount a person can pass on at death without incurring a federal estate tax currently is $11.4 million per person. Under current law, a married couple in Florida can own more than $22 million combined without owing any federal estate tax. The majority of estate plans no longer are driven by tax avoidance as a result of the increased estate tax exemption. Instead, they focus on probate avoidance and protecting your legacy for your loved ones, charity, and any other individuals or entities you wish to benefit.
Our estate planning attorneys and trust lawyers frequently advise on maximizing the creditor protection benefits already available to Florida residents under Florida law. For example, our estate planning attorneys can give you a full asset analysis that discusses which of your assets are protected by the Florida Constitution
, Florida Statutes
, and other protections established by Florida common law. In our litigious society, it is important to include asset and creditor protection as part of the overall estate planning discussion.
What Happens to My Business If I Become Incapacitated or Pass Away?
Our Clearwater estate planning attorneys and trust lawyers can advise on special issues relating to business succession planning. We will inform who should control your business if you become incapacitated or pass away, income tax issues, buy-sell arrangements, and restrictions on the transfer of company stock.
Is Long Term Care Planning Right For Our Family?
Another important aspect of estate planning is long term care planning. Our elder law attorneys can explain the complicated process of qualifying you or your loved one for Medicaid and other important government benefits. Given the exorbitant rates charged by skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, Medicaid Planning has become a major sector of the estate planning field in Clearwater, Florida. Our estate planning attorneys can assist you with qualifying for Florida Medicaid benefits while sheltering the majority of your assets for you. As a result, preserving your legacy for your loved ones.
In addition to estate planning services, our attorneys are experienced trust and probate litigators. If you find yourself subject to a probate or trust lawsuit, or if you or a loved one has been taken advantage of by a relative or caregiver, contact us today.