Special areas of Florida estate planning

There are several commonly encountered circumstances in Florida Estate Planning which require special attention.  People who encounter these special situations include:

  • Parents of handicapped children
  • Parents of minor children
  • Disabled persons
  • Unmarried couples
  • Elderly people


Valid Wills in Florida

Preparing the estate of an elderly person or a gift to a handicapped child or other beneficiary frequently involves dealing with Medicaid or other government programs. Learn more about Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid planning.

A person who makes a will is called the testator. At the time of signing a Will, a testator must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Of sound mind and body

The will also needs to be witnessed by two competent people and it must be signed by the witnesses in front of the testator and each other, as well as signed by the testator in front of the two witnesses.

The validity of these signatures may be challenged in court. Such a challenge is less likely if the Will is made self-proving and is made by a qualified lawyer. If you engage my services, I often recommend a pour-over will, which automatically transfers your probate assets into a trust at the time of your death. This reduces probate costs and delays.

Revocable Living Trusts

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs a revocable trust.  Before deciding to create a revocable trust, you should meet with a qualified estate planning lawyer to:

  • Review your current financial statement
  • Determine which assets would be subject to probate upon your death.
  • Discuss alternatives to utilizing a revocable living trust.
  • Discuss transferring ownership of your assets to the trust.
  • Trust administration.
  • Probate administration.
  • The cost involved in creating and funding a revocable living trust.

A revocable living trust, also known as a revocable trust or living trust, is a method of managing your assets so they may be administered without court supervision in the event of your death or incapacity.  To be fully effective, title of your existing assets must be transferred to the trust.  A revocable living trust has two main advantages:

  • The person designated to serve as successor trustee takes over management of your assets without court proceedings upon your death or in the event you become incapacitated.
  • Assets placed in the living trust avoid the probate process upon your death.

Although a living trust avoids probate, the trust must still be administered.  A living trust should only be drafted by an attorney. You also need informed legal counsel when choosing which assets to transfer to the trust.

Let us help you determine the best Florida Estate Planning strategy that will work for your particular situation. Call us in Jacksonville at (904) 739-9747 or you can fill in and submit the form below.