We at the Martins Law Firm are proud to say that we play a huge role in securing the posterity of the Brazilian community in the Miami, Florida, area through estate planning.

You don’t have to mince words with us.

Our skilled estate planning attorneys are fluent in Portuguese. We are both willing and able to listen. This conversation can be uncomfortable enough already. You don’t have to feel out of place when you see us.

Estate planning: What is It?

First of all, everyone has an estate; some are just smaller than others. Every estate and every person deserves the attention of an estate planning attorney.

With the help of estate planning, people can organize their estate to protect and maintain their assets for designated beneficiaries.

The Function of an Executor in an Estate Plan

The legal specifications for a Florida executor are simple. In order to be eligible to act as an executor, a person must:

  • Be at least 18
  • Be able to carry out the tasks allocated to you, both physically and mentally
  • Not have a felony conviction on their record
  • Have a Florida address

If a non-resident is related to the testator through blood, marriage, or adoption, they are eligible to be the executor. The person chosen must be highly competent.

Their duties will include:

  • Giving notification to all parties involved
  • Conducting an inventory of and taking possession of estate property
  • Determining and protecting an asset’s value
  • Managing the resources
  • Selling assets to pay taxes, creditors, or fulfill bequests if necessary
  • Taking care of or making arrangements for the taking care of assets like real estate
  • Distributing assets
  • Giving a report to the court

Why You Need an Estate Planning Attorney

The duty of the executor is not one recommended to be handled alone. The process of winding up an estate can be long, drawn-out, and very complicated, depending on the estate. The assistance of an experienced probate lawyer in the Miami, Florida, area is ideal.

We will help you do the following:

  • Complete the required legal paperwork
  • Inform the executor of any important due dates and specifications
  • Make sure that the inventories and other court reports are in order
  • Recommend professionals for services like valuations
  • Advise on the tax repercussions and other potential expenses linked to various distribution techniques
  • Register the executor’s reports with the court and appear in court if needed
  • Submit tax returns when all debts have been settled
  • Disperse assets and make sure the estate is properly closed out

When to Begin Planning Your Estate

Estate planning is not for the sick and ailing, nor is it for the wealthy. Everyone should have estate plan arrangements in place.

Do any of the following apply to you?

  • You are recently divorced. You may have drafted your will with a spouse in mind. If you get divorced, it’s time to update it!
  • You bought a house. Acquiring an asset of this value should spark the need to ensure your investment goes into the right hands after your death.
  • You now have a child. Just in case something were to happen, you should consider financial security and guardianship.

Revocable Living Trusts Vs. Wills: Which is Right for Me?

You do not want to have your family and friends in a tailspin after you die. Wills and trusts help to avoid that.

But which is right for you? What are the main differences?

At MLF, we often use both.. It might be appropriate to create your Trust if you have real estate or other investments. Trusts will avoid probate and give you control over how your assets are distributed during your lifetime and after your passing. However, even if you have a living trust, you still need a will to appoint an executor and designate guardians for young children since you cannot do those things with a living trust. Your estate plan will be unique to you.

Why DIY Estate Planning is a Bad Idea for the People You Love

America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers, but building a deck and creating a legally valid estate plan are two entirely different things — and a less-than-perfect deck won’t devastate your family’s financial future or the relationships among the people you care about most.

The prevalence of online legal services has led many people to believe that they can create legal documents cheaply and those documents will be just as effective as if they had visited an estate planning attorney.

And this is why that is wrong.

No Legal Advice

These sites are little more than document mills that churn out the same generic forms over and over. They are not attorneys and cannot advise or warn you if you make a mistake. Plus, who will be there for your family when something happens to you if you’ve used an online document drafting service?

Think your family doesn’t need an advisor to support them when you are gone? Think again.

Consider this: Erica’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident. Dad didn’t leave much behind, but he did leave an estate plan prepared by a trusted family attorney. Had the family attorney not been there for Erica and her brother, they would have taken what dad did leave and drowned their sorrows in a European backpacking trip. Thanks to this family attorney, though, Erica and her brother now have a healthy trust fund set up for them for life with the proceeds of a successful wrongful death case.

Leaving it to your family to know what to do after you’re gone is a big mistake for the people you love.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Your family is different from everyone else’s family. Just like every state has different inheritance laws, every family has different situations. An online form will not help you protect a special needs child or relative, or protect a child’s inheritance from creditors or a nasty divorce. An online form cannot tell you how to protect assets from taxes or help you achieve your goals.

And an online form cannot keep your family out of conflict during a time of grief. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets you are leaving behind, whatever you do have will be subject to distribution between the people you care most about.

Some of the biggest disagreements we’ve seen after death, aren’t about loads of money, but about the little things and those little things aren’t going to be dealt with well with form documents.

Save Now, Pay Later

You may think you are saving money by using an online service to create your will or trust, but it is impossible to make a fair comparison since the services provided are entirely different.

An estate planning attorney creates an entire plan tailored to your individual needs in a legal document that will stand up in court, and advises you on ways to cut taxes and save for retirement and long-term care. No online service does that.

In addition, your trusted advisor is going to be there for your family when you cannot be. The people you love will need someone to turn to after you are gone.

Do you want them to be stuck with figuring out who that should be during their time of grief? Or do you want to leave behind the gift of having taken care of things well during your lifetime and a trusted advisor to hold their hand when you no longer can?

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