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Estate Planning

Ormond Beach Estate Planning Attorney

Serving Ormond Beach, Florida

Estate planning is not typically a concern for most people because there is often a presumption that estate planning is something about which only the wealthiest among us really have to worry. No belief can be more mistaken because all people are going to want to have a say in how their property will be distributed should they die, as well as how their medical treatment should be handled should they become incapacitated.

People should be quick to contact an experienced Ormond Beach estate planning lawyer when they believe that they might need help creating any kind of estate planning document. While there is certainly software that allows people to create their own legal documents, a person will want to be sure that everything is completed in accordance with state law.

Common Types of Estate Planning Documents

People who are creating an estate plan may have to create multiple different documents. The most frequent kinds of estate planning documents often include:

Last Will and Testament

The last will and testament is often known as simply a will, but it is also the legal document that makes a person a testator in which they express their wishes relating to how they want their property to be distributed following their death. A person will name one or more people to serve as their personal representative to manage their estate until its final distribution. 

Wills must follow certain requirements of the Florida Statutes to be valid. A testator must be 18 years of age and of sound mind at the time their will is executed, meaning they have the requisite testamentary capacity to draft and execute a will and understand the extent of their assets. 

A will must go through a legal process known as probate for a person’s assets in the estate to be administered and distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. If a person dies without a will, their assets are distributed according to intestate succession, which is the state law dictating property distribution, meaning assets can go to family members that are not in accordance with a deceased person’s wishes.

Living wills are another kind of document that can specify preferences for medical treatment, specifically for end-of-life scenarios. Certain measures may also be implemented that ensure a person’s wishes are followed by a treating physician.


People can create multiple kinds of trust. A revocable trust will be a document a person creates to manage their assets during their lifetime and distribute the remaining assets following their death, but an irrevocable trust cannot be modified or terminated after being established without intervention by a court. 

A person creating a trust is called a grantor or settlor, and the person who manages the trust assets will be the trustee. A person is allowed to serve as their own trustee, but they can also appoint another person, bank, or trust company to serve as a trustee. 

Revocable trusts can be amended, restated, and revoked while a settlor is still alive and has not been adjudicated incapacitated. Revocable trusts will become irrevocable when a settlor dies and is usually used only for estate planning purposes because it offers little protection from creditors.

If a person transfers their assets into an irrevocable trust, they will forfeit their rights of ownership to the assets. A trust will become a written agreement between the person and the trustee. 

Settlors cannot take back property they transfer to irrevocable trusts, and they cannot add or remove beneficiaries or change the terms and provisions of an irrevocable trust agreement. Property held in an irrevocable trust is protected from creditors of trust beneficiaries.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate

The designation of healthcare surrogate authorizes a person to make healthcare decisions on a person’s behalf if they become unable to make those decisions on their own. Such documents are most beneficial when people end up in hospitals and fall into vegetative states or become otherwise unable to communicate their wishes.

Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney allows people to appoint agents who are given legal authority to manage their financial affairs during their lifetimes. Agents have broad authority over several financial decisions and certain decisions about a person’s property. 

A durable power of attorney will survive incapacity. An agent may continue to make decisions on a person’s behalf if they become incapacitated and allows them to avoid the process of having a guardian appointed by a court.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Ormond Beach Estate Planning Lawyer

Do you currently need an estate plan in Florida or need help figuring out what to do? You will want to be sure you are working with an Ormond Beach estate planning attorney.

Upchurch Law represents clients all over Florida and helps them understand complex estate planning requirements. You can call (386) 272-7445 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our Ormond Beach estate planning attorney.

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