Practice Areas

Estate Planning

Regardless of your age, financial status, or family situation, you need an estate plan. Here at Your Caring Law Firm, we create a specialized estate plan to fit the needs of you and your family or other loved ones.

However great or humble your wealth, you want it to protect and support your loved ones and yourself. At Your Caring Law Firm, we help you arrange your property and memorialize your wishes so that you may enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that during your life, and after your death, your riches will go where you want.

Concerned that your child will not be mature enough to handle an inheritance? Think your spouse may be manipulated into poor financial decisions? Want to encourage your grandchildren to pursue an education? With thoughtfully prepared documents, you may continue to guide your loved ones with your wisdom even after you are gone.

We also help you to plan for yourself to be protected and supported, with minimal court intervention, in the event you become incapacitated. Does someone you love have special needs? Our documents allow your wealth to enhance your disabled loved one’s quality of life, without jeopardizing the government benefits that are so vital.

Estate Planning involves knowledge of many areas of law including taxes, insurance, retirement benefits, property, wills and trusts to gain maximum benefit. Take comfort in knowing that Your Caring Law Firm keeps a sharp focus on these issues to serve you well.

Estate Planning may seem like a complicated topic, but we are here to help. Call (407) 622-1900 and let our attorneys guide you through this process. Our experience in estate planning spans more than a decade. We provide the caring, compassionate counsel that makes estate planning just a little bit easier. Call us today.

Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which the court determines that someone is incapacitated. On behalf of the incapacitated person, the court appoints someone to be the guardian of the property or the guardian of the person, or both. The guardian (the responsible person) has a fiduciary relationship to the ward (the minor, or person the court has determined to be incapacitated). If you are the guardian, you have a legal right and duty to care for your ward. We guide you, as guardian, through the court system. We advise you of your legal responsibilities, which may involve making personal decisions on behalf of your ward or managing your ward’s property, for example. The court stays very involved and must approve your every action and expenditure as guardian.

On occasion, the ward may need legal representation. We represent wards, ensuring that their best interests are being met and that the guardians are doing their job. Incapacity is not a black and white concept. The ward may be capable of some things, and incapable of others. We help the ward maintain independence and dignity. Sometimes, one person files with the court a petition to determine the incapacity of another person’s and the person alleged to be incapacitated disagrees and does not wish to become a ward.

Guardianships can be heart-wrenching. Recognizing incapacity on behalf of someone you love is never easy. Going public by involving the court in every aspect of your loved one’s care can be frustrating and humiliating. On the other hand, if someone you love no longer can care for himself, having the court’s approval to keep your ward safe and healthy is a blessing.

Probate

Your Caring Law Firm’s attorneys are committed to helping you with your probate, trust administration, and intestacy proceedings.

There is a tremendous amount of paperwork to be completed when someone you love has died. Knowing where to start can be daunting, especially for those who are still in the grieving process. We are here to help you navigate through the process by providing competent and caring legal services.

– If your loved one had a will-based plan, we help you with the probate.
– If your loved one had a trust-based plan, we help you with the trust administration.
– If your loved one passed away intestate (meaning had no written estate plan or will at all), the State of Florida dictates to whom the
assets go; we help you with the intestacy proceedings.

Both probate and intestacy proceedings involve the court stepping in to make sure that the bills are paid and the assets are distributed properly. At Your Caring Law Firm, we will assist you throughout the court proceedings. If your loved one had a will, we help you submit the will to the court. From there, the probate and intestacy procedures are similar. We help you inventory the assets, publish proper statutory notice to the creditors, ensure that legitimate creditors are paid, and distribute the balance to the appropriate beneficiaries. The court must approve your every action; you must have a lawyer to represent you; expect to spend a substantial amount of time and money during this process.

If your loved one had a trust-based estate plan, the court does not have to be involved. This does not mean that you may do nothing! The trust must be administered. We represent trustees, advising them of their fiduciary and legal duties to creditors and beneficiaries of the trust. We help you inventory the assets, prepare trust accountings, keep the beneficiaries informed, and distribute the assets in accordance with the trust document. If the trust terms allow for immediate distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries, the trust administration may wrap up fairly quickly, and, compared to a probate or intestacy proceeding, relatively inexpensively. We also represent beneficiaries, helping to enforce your rights under the trust.

This may seem like a complicated topic, but we are here to help. Call (407) 622-1900 and let our experienced, compassionate attorneys guide you through this difficult process. We provide caring counsel that makes the probate and/or trust administration a little bit easier. Call us today.

Elder Law

Perhaps you have noticed that your parents aren’t quite as perky as they once were. Their steps are not as sure, their grip not as strong. Is Dad still safe to drive? Is Mom safe at home alone? If you do not live nearby, how will you know what to do and how to help?

Aging is not a topic discussed frequently in our society. It is not easy to make choices for ourselves, and even harder to make them for our beloved elders. Sadly, if we don’t make choices in advance, too often choices have to be made in crisis.

We are living through these issues ourselves with our own families. We have legal and personal experience to assist you in planning for yourself and your loved ones to ensure grace, competence and compassion in end-of-life planning.

Asset Protection

Asset protection is a broad term encompassing legal terms that affect you very personally. In a nutshell, if you own things, and you’d like to keep them, we help you to legally protect your assets from creditors and predators.

Many of our clients tell us that they do not want their wealth to be used to support their daughter-in-law’s next husband. Nor do they want their family-owned business to be taken away in a lawsuit resulting from a car accident. Rental property and vacation homes are another cause for concern—if your children’s friends visit your beach house, and someone slips, do you want your personal brokerage account seized?

We help you title your assets to make it easier for a creditor to settle than sue. We help you become unattractive to a predator. We help you make it much easier for them to go away rather than hang around making your life miserable.

Let’s discuss for a moment the concept of “inside liability” versus “outside liability”. An “outside liability” is an act that occurs outside of an entity that offers asset protection. If you are at fault in a car accident using your personal automobile, running a personal errand, for example—that would be considered an outside liability. You will be sued, and any assets that you own personally that your creditor may attach in a lawsuit are up for grabs. Our goal is to help you title your assets to make them difficult for your creditor to attach in a lawsuit.

An “inside liability” is an act that occurs within an entity, and for which the entity gets sued. If you own stock in a corporation, and the corporation owns a factory that builds widgets, and a customer injured himself on a widget and sues the corporation, that is an inside liability. As a result of an inside liability, a successful injured party can take anything the corporation owns. However, the injured party probably could not come after you, as a stockholder, and take your personal bank account or other assets that are yours and are not owned by the corporation.

Our goal is to help you thoughtfully create entities to hold wealth, and limit the amount to which the creditor is entitled from an inside liability. In this case, the creditor could take the corporate bank account, the factory, the land on which the factory sits, the factory equipment, the accounts receivable, and anything else the corporation owns. To maximize asset protection, we likely would advise you to wrap as many assets as you can in separate entities. We would have preferred, for example, that the land be held in one entity, the factory in a second, and the manufacturing operations in a third. Then a future creditor injured by a widget may not get the factory or the land.

Asset protection is not something that may be accomplished during a crisis. If you already have been sued, there is not a lot that you may do to avoid liability. If you have already been party to a wrongful act, even if you have not been sued yet (and may never be sued), there is a limit to the actions you may take to avoid liability. If nothing has happened, and there is not a sniff or a hint of impropriety going on, there are many actions we may advise you to take to help you avoid future creditors or predators.

Asset protection also is not a one-time effort. Most asset protection involves continuous maintenance to keep the wall between your assets and your creditors strong. For example, each entity should have its own checkbook and keep its financial life separate. Your corporation should have meeting minutes to document regular corporate decisions, and annual meeting minutes to document the annual meeting of shareholders that you have each year. Are you not actually holding your corporate annual meeting as required in your bylaws? If you do not respect your entity, why should a judge who is overseeing the lawsuit against you?

Ideal asset protection does not mean that you will never get sued. It means that your creditor (or your creditor’s lawyer) recognizes right away that it will be much easier and more lucrative for your creditor to settle now for whatever insurance money or settlement cash you are offering than to file a lawsuit or go to trial. That’s what you want. You want a creditor or predator to go away this instant, without a court fight. Asset protection planning allows us to help you provide your loved ones with a heightened sense of security and comfort.