Dana Hankins - Family Law

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Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

Law Office Establishing an effective plan to protect your hard-earned assets and provide the best for your family members and other loved ones can be complicated and stressful. Postponing the preparation of a Will or estate plan, or lacking the information to do so properly, may cost your intended beneficiaries large financial losses and sometimes even a complete loss of intended benefit.

Estate planning may include a Will, a Trust, a Living Will, a Power of Attorney, a Prenuptial Agreement, a Postnuptial Agreement, a Pre-Need Guardian Designation, or some combination of these instruments. Over the years, Ms. Hankins has witnessed unfortunate situations in which the potential beneficiaries of a deceased person suffered unnecessarily. Timely preparation on the part of the person passing might have minimized the damage.

Florida law dictates how assets are transferred upon death and to whom in the absence of a Will or other proper estate planning document.

In the State of Florida, a Will governs only the disposition of certain assets upon death; these assets are called "probate assets." This means that no matter what the Will says, certain "non-probate" assets will not pass according to the terms of the Will. For example, in Florida, a spouse enjoys the right to claim particular assets and benefits from the estate of the deceased spouse, regardless of the provisions of the Will or other estate planning document. These rights cannot be abrogated no matter the provisions of the Will.

Trusts can also be useful for estate planning purposes such as maintaining control over the management of assets for a beneficiary over a period of time, protecting a beneficiary's inheritance from potential creditors, appointment of a trustworthy individual to manage funds for a financially irresponsible beneficiary, reduction of tax liabilities, and the like.

There are also specific requirements in Florida concerning how a Will or other testamentary document must be executed in order to prove its authenticity, if challenged. The person making the testamentary instrument must also be legally competent to do so.

More Helpful Links & Resources

Florida Statutes Concerning Estates & Trusts

Estate Planning Questionnaire

Orange County Bar Association Facebook
Dana Hankins. The person you need when your needs are personal.

Dana H. Hankins, P.A. - 2510 E. Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32803-6312 - Phone (407) 896-9650

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