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Estate Planning

Athan & I

At the Bonavita Law Firm our primary concern is to provide our clients with peace of mind that their loved ones, as well as themselves, will be cared for consistent with their wishes without court intervention while preserving family harmony.  Scott provides his clients with effective and creative estate planning strategies in order to ensure that their assets will pass according to their wishes in the most cost efficient and timely manner.  Our goal is to provide our clients with the peace of mind that their heirs and loved ones will inherit the bulk of their estate rather than it being depleted elsewhere, such as on the costs and delays of probate or the costs associated with assisted living.  Estate planning encompasses a variety of planning strategies, tailored to a client’s specific circumstances and needs.

Too many people fail to protect their family and loved ones by putting off the estate planning process because they don’t want to think about death or disability.  What people fail to realize is that estate planning is a method of asset preservation, a way to hold on to your hard earned money and life savings.  It’s a way to protect your legacy and to provide for generations to come.  Establishing an estate plan is one of the easiest ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Effective estate planning puts you in control over your finances and ensures that your family will avoid the costs, delays and frustrations that come with managing your estate when you pass away or if you become disabled.

Clients must also be aware that tax laws consistently change, out-dating an existing estate plan.  We find that many people’s current estate plans fail to take advantage of all of the legal protections available to them.  Scott will ensure that your estate plan takes full advantage of the current state of the law.

Avoid Probate With the Formation of a Trust 

If all you have is a will, your estate will have to be probated before it passes to your loved ones.  A costly, time-consuming and frustrating process that is open to the public and the beneficiaries of your estate have no access to your assets until the probate court has settled and distributed your estate.  Wouldn’t you want your spouse, children and loved ones to have immediate access to your assets in the event you pass away?  Probate courts often freeze assets for months while determining the proper disposition of the estate.  It’s a process generally outside of your heirs’ control.  Even surviving spouses are often forced to apply to the probate court to use assets in order to pay for living expenses.  Without a proper estate plan, the assets that you worked so hard to earn will be locked up in the courts, rather than made available to your loved ones.  An effective estate plan will ensure that your estate will pass to your loved ones outside of probate, in the most timely, cost-efficient and private manner available.

The basis for most estate plans is a revocable living trust, which transfers your property into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and after your death.  While you are alive, you maintain control over your assets, just as before.  One of the many benefits to placing your assets in a trust is that upon your passing, the assets will pass to your heirs outside of probate, which is almost always a time-consuming frustrating and expensive process, costing far more than implementing a proper estate plan today.  Although a will in of itself will not avoid probate, it is an effective tool when made a part of your overall estate plan.  An effective estate plan will usually consist of a trust, will, and living will or health care directive at the very least.

For those who require more advanced estate planning tools, we can form a variety of more sophisticated trusts including the following:

  • Life Insurance Trusts
  • AB or AD Trusts
  • Dynasty Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Charitable Trusts
  • Land Trusts

Other Advanced Estate Planning Services include:

  • Trust administration– The administration of trusts and wills is often can complex and carries a wide range of fiduciary duties and obligations.  We will make the trust administration process as efficient and comfortable as possible
  • Special needs/Disability Planning-We can put a plan in place now which will ensure your special needs or disabled loved one will be properly cared for after you are no longer able to serve as the primary care-giver.
  • Kids Protection Planning– An effective estate plan also addresses how your minor children will be cared for should the unthinkable happen to you.
  • Business Planning– If you own a small business, succession planning is essential to an effective estate plan.  We can also assist you with your business formation and corporate governance needs and will ensure that your business has a proper asset protection plan in place in order to limit your personal liability in addition to that of your business.
  • Asset Protection– A key to an effective estate plan is to ensure that your hard earned money is not depleted by creditors in the event that an  injury or wrong has taken place exposing you to personal liability.
  • Advanced Tax Planning  To take advantage of the many strategies to reduce or eliminate death taxes, you should start the planning process early in order to implement these plans.
  • Charitable Bequests – Do you want to benefit a charitable organization or cause?  Your estate plan can provide gifting to a charitable organization or cause, in a variety of ways, either during your lifetime or at your death.

An effective estate plan will provide for your loved ones in an efficient manner and avoid probate at death, estate taxes and unnecessary delays.  It will ensure that your estate is being distributed in the most cost efficient and timely manner, in accordance with your intentions.  It will protect your loved ones and help you leave a legacy for generations to come.

To start effective estate planning today, call our office and schedule a Family Estate Wealth Planning meeting to discuss your specific situation.

We hope you will accept this as our personal invitation to call Scott at (813) 968-1958 or email him directly at