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Estate planning helps to prepare for the unexpected. Estate plans are customized to address what happens to your family and property after your death and prepare you for incapacity while you are still alive. Unfortunately, we never know when an accident or illness may strike.

If you don’t have an estate plan, Florida state laws and courts will decide who gets your assets when you pass and who can make healthcare or financial decisions while you’re alive, should you be disabled or incapacitated. They may or may not align with decisions you would have made for yourself.

Who Needs a Florida Estate Plan?

Estate planning is for anyone with property and assets or loved ones who depend on them to provide for their income or care. If you have a bank account, retirement fund, or own a car, home, or other property, you’ll need to think about where it will go after your death.

We take you through a process of outlining specific instructions to discover how you want to distribute money, property, and other valued assets upon your death. You’ll also need to make decisions about your medical care and final arrangements. Then primary estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, healthcare surrogates, and powers of attorney, are used to achieve those goals. The sooner they are in place, the sooner you and your family can relax, knowing that you are prepared for both unexpected and potential situations that could cause a financial and emotional crisis.

Five Foundational Estate Planning Documents

Last Will and Testament (Will)

A will defines the executor and manager of your estate who pays debts and distributes property as you have specified. The administration of assets in the will can be as broad or detailed as you like and address beneficiaries and guardians for minor children. You can also direct family members about your funeral and burial wishes to avoid conflicts.


Setting up a trust also distributes assets and property. But a trust doesn’t have to go through probate if it’s well-designed and routinely updated. Property is still distributed at death privately, without public court interference.

A revocable living trust — You can change its terms and move property and assets in and out of the trust’s ownership at any time.

An irrevocable living trust — Assets are under the care and control of a named trustee. It has unique tax advantages and other worthwhile benefits, including protecting a person’s home and savings from the high costs of long-term care.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are created using a living will and health care surrogate designation. A living will outlines your wishes for end-of-life medical care. It can include instructions regarding medical treatments in specific situations so family members don’t have to stress over making difficult decisions. It helps keep peace during emotional times.

A health care surrogate lets you choose someone you know and trust to make medical decisions for you when you are unable. It remains in effect until you recover. This person is guided by your living will and ensures healthcare professionals understand your wishes.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney designates a person to have the authority to act in your place for financial matters. The durable power of attorney stays in effect even if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your affairs, removing the need and expense of appointing a guardian should one become necessary.

Quitclaim Deeds (Ladybird Deeds)

A quitclaim deed in Florida legally transfers property to someone else, your designated grantee. It allows you to transfer the title and ownership to an individual or a trust automatically upon your death.

Probate & Estate Administration in Florida

Probate covers the entire legal process necessary to settle a person’s estate after they die. The appointed personal representative (usually a family member) opens the probate case in court. With the court’s help, they will work through disposing of personal property, money, real property, or anything else the deceased owned at the time of their death, including debts. It can be a bit overwhelming to gather the necessary documents, inventory assets, and notify beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. Homeowner Legal Solutions, LP can guide your personal representative (executor) or take over the entire process.

If you prefer to avoid Florida probate in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, Lee, Collier, Orange, Osceola, or Hillsborough counties, there are many estate planning tools that can help, including:

  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Joint Title
  • Payable-On-Death Accounts
  • Quitclaim Deeds

Probate Litigation in Florida

A Notice of Administration alerts all interested parties of the decedent’s death and the filing of a will. It also prompts them to submit any objections to the will within a certain period.

Interested parties can dispute a will or estate for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Undue influence
  • Improper signing of the will

There is a limited time period to settle any promises, representations, or guarantees regarding the estate dispute or disagreement. The first step is negotiation to reach an official settlement agreement. If that doesn’t work, the attorneys at Homeowners Legal Solutions, LP will litigate on your behalf.

If you are a personal representative or heir of an estate in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, Lee, Collier, Orange, Osceola, or Hillsborough counties, contact us for advice and guidance.

Homeowner Legal Solutions, LP was founded by Robert Gioia and Stephanie Balint. Our team of attorneys has over 40 years of combined experience in real estate and title services, insurance law, and property damage claims. After representing thousands of families, business owners, and real estate professionals, we realized how important it is for them to take the next step and protect their property through estate planning. If you want to preserve the assets you worked so hard to purchase and insure, talk to us about your family and business goals today.

Protecting Homeowners
from Property Damage and Complex Real Estate Transactions
to Preserve Their Homes, Health, and Legacy.
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