Our firm has an exceptionally active and sophisticated trusts and estates practice. Although we draft scores of estate planning documents for our Florida clients every year, we generally prepare such instruments as part of a more comprehensive estate plan designed to preserve wealth and minimize taxes.
Serving Clients Across Generations
Our representation generally spans many years, and continues from one generation to the next. Several families that were among our first clients still rely on us as a bridge between generations, thereby assuring that their goals and values are maintained.
We often serve as advisor to family trusts and foundations.Entrepreneurs frequently retain our services to coordinate personal, business and tax planning and deal with financial issues in ways that benefit both the family and the business.
The Estate Planning Process
In the estate planning process, we will meet with the client to discuss his or her situation, wishes and the various alternatives. Within about one week after the client has chosen an estate plan, we will prepare and deliver to the client drafts of the documents needed to implement that plan – including Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Deeds, and Advance Healthcare Directives. After the client is comfortable that he or she understands the effect of the documents, we will meet for signing. We are able to complete the entire estate planning process within about two weeks, provided that time frame is consistent with the client’s availability, needs and desires.
After the client’s estate plan is implemented, we perform an ongoing role in advising and assisting the client in such matters as making gifts, filing gift tax returns, establishing or operating family business and investment entities, selecting other professional advisors, and updating or revising documents in the event of changes in the law or in the client’s circumstances.
Trust and Estate Administration
In the event of a client’s death, we will assist the client’s family in the transfer of the client’s assets to the beneficiaries named in his or her estate planning documents. We recognize that this can be an unfamiliar and complex process, and that it confronts family members at a extremely difficult time. However, our experience in administering hundreds of estates makes us particularly adept in guiding the client’s family through the transfer of assets, any necessary probate proceedings, filing estate tax returns, handling tax audits, and assisting with the sale of real estate, securities and other estate assets to provide liquidity or facilitate distribution to the beneficiaries.
Computer technology has enabled us to render services in a personal, efficient and cost-effective manner. Document drafting and client communications are streamlined, allowing us to devote ample time to each client’s specific needs and wishes. Also, because we maintain “paperless” files, even documents signed years ago are immediately accessible from attorneys’ desktop computers. Therefore, a client calling with questions concerning legal instruments we have drafted may anticipate receiving answers (or having a copies sent by e-mail) during that same call.