Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Disposition of Assets

The Shipley Law Firm & Title Company provides legal assistance for the proper disposition of assets to protect you and your loved ones. The legal process of distributing the decedent’s assets to heirs and creditors is called probate. If there is a valid will, the personal representative named in the will is responsible for filing the will with the probate court and beginning the probate process.

If there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to Florida intestacy statutes. For example, if there is a surviving spouse with no children, the decedent’s entire estate goes to the surviving spouse.

If you are the personal representative of a Florida estate, the Shipley Law Firm & Title Company can represent you during the probate process so that everything goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We can help you discharge your duties as personal representative, such as filing the proper documents with the court, distributing property to the heirs, and coordinating debt payments. If there is no will, we can also represent the estate during the probate process.

Protection of Wealth

The state of Florida grants many protections for homestead property. For example, under Florida law, homestead property is exempt from the claims of most creditors. However, Florida homestead protections do not apply to federal creditors such as mortgage holders or the Internal Revenue Service.

Call the Shipley Law Firm & Title Company today for a consultation to discuss whether these real estate protections apply to you.

Property Tax Protection

Florida law includes some protections for property tax on the homestead. For example, the Florida Save Our Homes Act provides that the yearly assessed value of the homestead is limited to a 3% increase or less per year.

Minimization of Taxes

Florida attorney Christopher J. Shipley can advise you on how to minimize estate taxes through:

  • • Life insurance trusts, where life insurance proceeds are kept out the taxable estate and invested for the good of the beneficiaries
  • • Dynasty Trusts, which protect the decedent’s assets [from creditors and estate tax] for future generations
  • • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that gives another person (the attorney-in-fact) legal authority to make decisions on the grantor’s behalf. The attorney-in-fact has the power to withdraw money from the bank account, transfer title to real property, change the beneficiary on life insurance, and more.

In some cases, the power of attorney can be abused by the holder. The attorney-in-fact may commit embezzlement, self-dealing, and financial abuse; in these cases, the beneficiaries may have a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty. If you require specific legal assistance regarding a power of attorney, contact the Shipley Law Firm & Title Company for a consultation with an experienced Florida attorney.

Trusts

The Shipley Law Firm & Title Company can help establish various types of trusts so that you can provide your family with the security they need. We have experience working with different trusts including Life Insurance Trusts, Dynasty Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, and Living Trusts. We have experience helping clients establish trusts that will minimize estate or gift taxes so that your assets are protected for the beneficiaries.

The Shipley Law Firm & Title Company represents trustees who need assistance with fulfilling their duties under the trust. We also provide aggressive legal representation for individuals who wish to bring suit for breach of fiduciary duty or other improper conduct by a trustee.

Wills

When a person passes away, their assets are distributed according to the probate court process. If there is a will, our firm can assist personal representatives of the estate through probate. If there is no will, we can represent the estate itself during probate.

At the Shipley Law Firm & Title Company, we also provide aggressive representation for clients who wish to challenge the validity of a will for undue influence, fraud, or lack of capacity on the decedent’s part.

Florida attorney Christopher J. Shipley has successfully handled all types of wills, trusts and estate planning matters for clients throughout Florida. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Florida wills, trusts and estate planning attorney, please call (352) 383-3397 or fill out and submit our online Contact Us page.