Estate Planning

The term estate planning refers to the considerations one must address and the financial safeguards one must establish in order to protect one's assets and family in the long-term. Without an adequate estate plan in place, the courts have broad authority to determine how your assets will be distributed among your creditors and heirs; moreover, your estate will be subject to a wide array of taxes that may drastically diminish its value.

At the Law Offices of Craig Donoff, P.A., we can help you avoid such a scenario. Drawing on more than 40 years of experience, our attorneys can examine your finances and provide a detailed explanation about how living trusts and skillful tax planning can protect your surviving loved ones from unnecessary disputes in the future.

How Our Free Consultation Can Help

We offer free 45-minute consultations. When you discuss your estate with us, we will tell you what you should do, why you should do it and how much it should cost. We understand that these topics can be challenging to discuss, but we can give you the power to decide who gets what and when after you die. Our firm has a great deal of experience answering even the most complex questions, including those relating to the protection of family members with special needs.

The Six Most Important Documents

There are six documents our lawyers typically prepare to carefully dictate our clients' wishes:

  • A living trust, wherein your assets are placed for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to designated beneficiaries at your death. A living trust helps avoid probate, eliminate expensive court proceedings and delays, preserves your privacy and minimizes the emotional stress on your family.
  • A "pour over" will that is designed to transfer property inadvertently left out of the living trust. This document insures that the plan of distribution is followed; however, the assets transferred under a "pour over" will have to be probated. This document is also designed to dispose of tangible personal property (i.e., jewelry, antiques, personal effects, etc.)
  • A last will and testament, which ensures your personal property is distributed as you see fit.
  • A living will, which informs your family and health care providers to terminate any life-prolonging procedures upon the end stage of a disease, a terminal condition or if you are in a permanent vegetative state with no reasonable recovery.
  • A durable power-of-attorney agreement that gives a trusted individual the power to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are disabled or incompetent.
  • A medical power of attorney, which allows a designated individual, often either a family member or friend, to make health, medical and surgical decisions for you should you become incompetent.

In addition, we help our clients understand tax laws and leverage them to their benefit. Federal tax laws are in a constant state of flux. Opportunities to avoid certain levies against your estate arise unexpectedly — and, just as unexpectedly, disappear. We can work to protect future appreciation and income from your taxable assets.

Legal Support To Protect Your Finances And Your Family

To learn more about how proper estate planning can help you and your surviving loved ones avoid probate and potential will disputes, contact the Law Offices of Craig Donoff, P.A. Based in Boca Raton, and serving throughout southern Florida, we can be reached by calling 800-416-4543 or by completing our online contact form.