Start Working With an Amelia Island Wills & Trusts Lawyer/Attorney
Many people prefer not to think about the need for a will or trust here on Amelia Island. However, putting your affairs in order with a trust or a will can help you feel more comfortable about the future because you know your wishes will be respected. An Amelia Island wills and trust lawyer can help you put these legal documents in order.
You can seek help from a law firm here in Nassau County when you contact Montague Law. Our team can answer your questions about wills, estate planning, and probate when you contact us at 904-234-5653.
Reasons To Consider a Will or Trust in Nassau County
You may have specific ideas in mind for how you want your estate handled after your death. However, the state only adheres to your wishes if you have the proper legal paperwork filed. A Nassau County wills and trusts attorney can help you ensure you have everything in order.
Your estate may end up in probate court if you do not file the appropriate paperwork for your will or trust. The probate court can tie up all of your resources for years, preventing your family and loved ones from getting the inheritance you meant for them to receive.
You can work with our team to discuss all of your wishes. We can ensure you file all the legal paperwork necessary to protect your legacy.
Purposes of a Will on Amelia Island
Many people think first of a will when they consider estate planning. A will serves as a legally binding document that spells out all of your wishes for your property and other assets after your passing. You can use a will to perform various actions, including dividing your assets and protecting your children.
Divide Up Your Assets
Some individuals in Florida wish to leave all of their possessions to one person, but, in many cases, wills prove more complicated. Your will lets you:
- Choose all of your beneficiaries
- Decide which assets you want each beneficiary to have
- Transfer said assets to your beneficiaries
Leaving a will often streamlines the process for handling your estate. Making sure your wishes are known can provide your family with the direction they very much want, helping them avoid stressful arguments or confusion over your last wishes.
Protect Your Children
Do you have minor children? A will allows you to state a guardianship decision for your children in the event of your death. You can legally name the individuals you want to care for your children, increasing your peace of mind.
Consider Creating a Trust on Amelia Island
If you create a will, do you also need a trust? Some people prefer to have both because a trust allows you to secure more extensive protections against creditors and taxation. An Amelia Island wills and trusts attorney can help you review the differences between a will and a trust.
When you set up a trust, you have several options. Some of the common types of trusts used in Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas are explained below.
Revocable (Living) Trust
You can modify a revocable (or living) trust after you set it up with your attorney. Therefore, you can adjust the terms based on changing situations in your life. A revocable trust gives you the option to:
- Remove current beneficiaries
- Add more beneficiaries
- Add or change stipulations on asset usage
Many individuals find revocable trusts valuable because we live in a world where change can happen at any time. With this trust, you can adjust to marriages, divorces, births, or deaths in your family. You can easily ensure the trust reflects your present wishes.
However, you can face drawbacks with a revocable trust. Living trusts provide limited legal protection, and the assets protected by the trust may be liquidated if the trust faces a lawsuit. Additionally, the state and the federal government can tax all assets contained in a living trust after your death.
Irrevocable trusts vary from living trusts in a few noticeable areas. For one thing, you cannot typically change the terms of an irrevocable trust once you sign the paperwork. You give up control over the assets you transfer into an irrevocable trust in many situations.
However, irrevocable trusts have some benefits, as well. All funds put into an irrevocable trust are no longer part of your estate, which means the government cannot tax them in the event of your death. The beneficiary of the trust also faces no tax burden.
A charitable trust represents a sub-type of an irrevocable trust. You may set up this kind of trust if you wish to leave a portion of your estate to a charitable organization.
Asset Protection Trust (APT)
You may also set up an asset protection trust to shield some of your assets from creditors, judgments, or lawsuits. You can set up a domestic asset protection trust for assets within the legal system in the U.S. You also have the option to form a foreign APT to protect funds in offshore accounts.
Special Needs Trust
Finally, you may consider a special needs (or supplemental needs) trust. This kind of trust gives you the option to set aside some of your assets for a beneficiary who may have a disability. You can discuss all of your options with a Nassau County wills and trusts lawyer.
Distribution of Your Property Without a Will
What happens to your estate if you have no will or trust? In this situation, the State of Florida steps in to handle the dispensation of your assets. Your entire estate may end up in probate court, where a judge determines how to handle the matter.
Generally, the court distributes your assets to your:
- Spouse (if you were married)
- Children (if you have no spouse)
- Parents (if you have no spouse or children)
- Siblings (if you have no spouse, children, or parents)
Many people may find this distribution method acceptable, but it does not adhere to everyone’s wishes. You may want to leave a portion of your estate to another family member, a partner, a friend, or a charitable organization.
You can legally specify all of your wishes by working with a lawyer here on Amelia Island.
Understand Probate Court in Florida
The State of Florida uses the probate system to settle decisions about an individual’s debts and assets. Your estate may end up in probate court even if you have a will. However, the process may move more quickly and easily with a will in place.
In many cases, your family does not have to go through the probate system if you left a trust, instead.
Probate Court and Wills in Amelia Island
What happens if you have a will and your estate ends up in probate court? Generally, the court assesses the will in this situation. The court might validate the will if you completed it legally. The court system generally follows the provisions outlined in lawfully binding wills.
One of the main focuses of the probate court is naming a personal representative to execute your estate. If the court validates your will and you named an executor, that individual can handle all the details of your estate.
If you do not have a will or did not name an executor, the court steps in to appoint a representative. This individual has the legal right to:
- Find all your property and assets
- Determine the value for your assets
- Pay your estate taxes or debts
- Look into claims from creditors on your estate
- Find your named beneficiaries
- Handle the distribution of your assets
Finally, the estate administrator closes your estate. You may have no choice in the individual who handles your estate if you do not complete a will and name your executor. Make sure you have control over the future of your estate by speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Consider a Living Will on Amelia Island
In addition to a will and trust, you may want to set up a living will with a legal professional. A living will does not handle any financial matters. Instead, this legal document helps you record your wishes for medical care in the event that you become incapacitated.
You may use a living will to inform medical professionals whether you want extreme measures taken to save your life in the event of an accident. This kind of document can provide your friends and family members with guidance so they can follow your wishes.
A lawyer can also help you set up a medical power of attorney. This document gives another person the legal right to handle medical decisions when you cannot speak for yourself.
Protect Your Future With a Will or Trust
An Amelia Island wills and trusts lawyer can help you handle all aspects of estate planning. Our team at Montague Law understands the different kinds of trusts and the probate court system. We can start answering your questions when you call us at 904-234-5653.
Let an Amelia Island Estate Planning Attorney Help
Do you have more questions about estate planning? Our team at Montague Law can provide you with the answers you want. You can easily contact an Amelia Island estate planning attorney by calling us at 904-234-5653. Allow us to walk you through each step of this legal process.