Securing Your Family’s Future under Florida Law

Sound estate planning advisors for the Treasure Coast

The experienced attorneys of McCarthy, Summers, Bobko, Wood, Norman, Bass & Melby, P.A. provide the legal counsel you require to develop creative, comprehensive solutions to your estate planning. Our lawyers advise and work with you to provide appropriate care for yourself and your loved ones as you age, and to plan for wealth preservation, business succession and transfer of family assets. Steven J. Wood, who is Board Certified for Wills, Trust & Estates by The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education, leads our estate planning division.

What is estate planning?

Many people are confused about what estate planning entails. Essentially, it’s the use of legal instruments to implement protections for retirement, the infirmity of old age and the eventual transfer of assets to heirs and other beneficiaries. The goal of estate planning is to create safeguards for your health and welfare, as well as asset protection strategies to guard against liability and reduce your tax burden. Our firm provides counsel and assistance via creative wealth preservation and estate planning strategies utilizing:

  • Asset protection planning
  • Business succession planning
  • Charitable trusts and foundations
  • Dynasty trusts
  • Estate and gift tax reduction techniques and structures
  • Family limited partnerships
  • Florida homestead planning
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts
  • Retirement benefit planning and distribution
  • Joint ownership planning
  • Life insurance trusts
  • Revocable living trusts
  • Planned charitable giving
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Private foundations
  • Probate and trust administration
  • Tenants by the entirety
  • Wills

Choosing the right estate plan for your specific needs

There are certain elements that every estate plan should contain, such as a will, living will, designation of health care surrogate and durable power of attorney. The remaining elements of your estate plan depend on your assets, your family structure, your heirs and your other intended beneficiaries. Common estate planning problems include:

  • Second marriages —  Improper titling of assets and laws of inheritance can reduce or eliminate the share of your children from your first marriage, unless you make special provisions.
  • Family homes — Your family home may have appreciated in value to such an extent that none of your children can afford to inherit it.
  • Family businesses — Business succession planning can help you retire with confidence, retaining income from the business. It can also help ensure that the children or other person you intend to gain control, so the business can continue to prosper after you hand over the reins.

Our estate planning attorneys work closely with you to craft a comprehensive plan for your unique circumstances.

How to avoid the expense and delay of probate

Even if you leave a valid will, your estate must pass through probate, preventing your heirs from accessing assets they may need immediately. A variety of trusts may be used to hold assets for your use in life and later for your heirs. Since you transferred the property during your lifetime, is not subject to probate at your death. Your trust still holds it, and your heirs can use it without waiting for the rest of the estate to be settled via probate.

Trust our estate planning attorneys in Stuart, Florida to help secure your future

At McCarthy, Summers, Bobko, Wood, Norman, Bass & Melby, P.A., we deliver reliable legal advice for your estate planning needs. We work closely with you to achieve your goals for your future and succession. For assistance anywhere along the Treasure Coast, contact the firm online or call us at 772.286.1700.