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A faith based law firm
What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is a comprehensive package of legal documents that are tailored to your individual situation and created to protect you and your family. It typically includes a Revocable Trust, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Healthcare Surrogate, and other legal safeguards that serve as the foundation in the management of your assets.
What Does Estate Planning Accomplish?
Having an Estate Plan gives you the ability to direct where your property will go after your death and how your assets will be managed in the event you are not able to do so yourself. Without a Will, the State will designate someone to administer your estate, which can lead to further expenses charged against your property.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
We've all seen the "Will Kits" available online. Wills are governed by state law, which changes frequently. Many Will Kits say they are valid under Florida law, but the reality is that most are drafted to be generally used in most states. Additionally, few are updated to reflect the latest legal changes. The signing or execution of a Will in Florida is very specific to ensure the Will is valid. The Florida Probate Court views an improperly executed Will the same as not having a Will.
Please download and complete an intake form before your initial appointment. You may also return it to our office by email.
What is Probate? When a loved one dies owning assets in their name (their estate), Probate is the court process to transfer those assets from the deceased person to the person(s) named in their Last Will and Testament. If the loved one died without a Will, the assets will be transferred to a preset hierarchy of your relatives, as determined by Florida law. The Probate process also determines which of the loved ones’ creditors should be paid and finalizes tax payments and tax filings with the IRS
Can Probate Be Avoided? ABSOLUTELY! With proper estate planning, we can avoid probate. Assets titled to a Trust or with a named, living beneficiary avoid probate, as well as specific titling on real estate deeds.
Types of Probates?
The Florida Probate Code provides for three types of probates and is determined by the total value of the assets of the estate.
Small Estate Administration: $6,000 and less can be handled without an attorney and is created to provide reimbursement for funeral/burial/cremation costs. Summary Administration: between $6,000 to $75,000 in Estate value. Formal Administration: $75,000 and greater Estate value
The Florida Probate Code requires all Summary Administration and Formal Administration Probate to be handled by an attorney.
Please find a list of our initial forms here to help us better serve you. Filled out forms may be returned by email, fax, or regular mail.
What is Guardianship? This is the court process to remove the rights of an incapacitated person and transfer the rights to someone willing and able to handle the decisions for them. An incapacitated person is someone who due to accident, illness, age or infirmity is unable to make their own financial and/or personal care decisions.
Can Guardianship Be Avoided? ABSOLUTELY! If your loved one is able to understand and sign incapacity documents before becoming completely incapacitated, your family can avoid the unnecessary expense and time of obtaining Guardianship.
What if Your Loved One is Already Incapacitated? Incapacity documents are no longer an available option but the Guardianship process is and consists of a two-step process. The first phase is to determine the person’s level of capacity by a 3 member evaluation team appointed by court to interview the loved one.
Phase two is the process of determining if the proposed Guardian is qualified to serve and is determined by the Guardianship application, fingerprint card, FDLE background check and a court hearing. Once Guardianship is established, Letters of Guardianship are issued which empower the Guardian to make decisions for the incapacitated person.
Please find a list of our initial forms hereto help us better serve you. Filled out forms may be returned by email, fax, or regular mail.
New Business? Our firm can help you establish your business entity and advise you how to protect your personal assets from liability caused by your company. Your initial consultation will help you decide which entity is best for you.
Established Business? Our firm routinely helps established businesses maintain their corporate formalities to safe-guard your liability protection offered by the entity choice.
All successful businesses have a foundation of well-drafted contracts and agreements. Our firm routinely negotiates and drafts the documents you will need.
The Aust Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services to adoptive parents and adoption agencies in various areas of adoption. The Aust Law Firm represents parties involved in the following types of adoptions: private adoption placements within Florida, interstate adoptions involving Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), State (DCF) adoption finalizations, relative adoptions, grandparent adoptions, stepparent adoptions, adult adoptions, as well as re-certification of foreign adoptions.
Adoption law is complicated and challenging and it requires the dedication of an experienced legal staff. We invite you to contact us to learn more about our practice and how we can meet your needs with the personal attention you deserve.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Needs Trusts are created to preserve the eligibility for government benefits of a person with special needs. The Trust is funded by inheritance, personal injury settlement and awards or wrongful death settlement and awards. The funds in the Trust must be used to supplement, not replace the government benefits the person is receiving. The Trustee of the Trust, who cannot be the person with special needs, should make distributions only to enhance the care and quality of life of a beneficiary.
Why do I need a Special Needs Trust?
If the person is entitled to receive government benefits or may need to qualify for government benefits in the future and they accept or receive funds from an inheritance, settlement or award, it may cause them to become ineligible to receive the benefits. By funding these Trusts with their inheritance, settlement or award and naming someone else to act as Trustee, the Trust funds would not count as their asset even though they would be the beneficiary of the Trust. These trusts are meant to preserve their government benefit eligibility while preserving the assets of a person with special needs.
If you are considering a second marriage, please consider a prenuptial agreement. These agreements are important if you have children from the first marriage because they help protect the children’s financial future. When new family members join the family they usually want a portion of your assets you had before the second marriage, should you pass away or divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are also important if you have acquired assets before the second marriage that you may not want to split with your spouse and their family, should that marriage end in divorce.
Do I need one?
In cases where you do not have children, assets, or if your fiancée has a fair amount of assets and you have very little, it may be not in your best interest to draft a prenuptial agreement. If the person you are marrying demands a prenuptial agreement, seek legal counsel that is independent of your fiancée and let your attorney either draft or review the document before you sign it.
What is Medicaid?
The Medicaid Program provides government benefits for senior or disabled individuals who are in need of skilled nursing care. Medicaid eligibility is determined by the amount of assets and income a person or married couple has.
The maximum asset level has remained constant for several years at $2,000 for a single person. The maximum income level increases every year. The application process is typically submitted online to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and requires evidence reflecting the assets and income of the person needing the government assistance. Currently there is a five (5) year look back period at what the person owns and owned.
How we can assist you?
With a variety of services to help an individual qualify for Medicaid. We also partner with appropriate organizations and personal already working with you.