Tampa Wills & Trusts Lawyer
Estate law is the practice of law that deals with all aspects of estate planning, including preparing legal instruments, administering an estate, and probate litigation. Whether a person chooses to draft a will or create a trust depends largely on his or her specific circumstances, which makes it especially important for those considering estate planning to speak with an experienced Tampa wills & trusts lawyer who can explain the merits and drawbacks of each type of instrument.
Our Tampa wills & trusts lawyers have the experience and knowledge necessary to fulfill all of your estate planning needs. You have worked hard to build your life and you deserve to be able to relax and know that when you are gone your wishes will be honored regarding your property. Whether it is making sure that a family business is passed along to your children or that your property is divided up amongst charities of your choice, we can be of help.
Tampa Wills & Trusts
The Tampa estate planning lawyers at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. have built a practice around helping people just like you. Our firm focuses its work on estate planning, business law, and family law. This three pronged approach allows us to provide a full suite of services to meet all of our Tampa wills and trusts clients’ needs. Attorney Martin A. Bubley focuses his practice specifically on business transactions, estate planning, and probate law. He and his brother Daniel have been serving the Tampa community for over 20 years. Martin is a member of the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate & Trust Law section.
Drafting a Will
The person disposing of his or her assets through a will is known as a testator. However, testators can use wills for much more than leaving property to others. For instance, testators can name a personal guardian to care for his or her minor children, name someone to manage property left to minor children, and identify a personal representative who will ensure that the terms of a will are carried out. To create a valid will in Florida, a testator must comply with specific laws, including:
- Signing the document in the presence of two witnesses; and
- Obtaining the signatures of both witnesses.
Although testators are not required to have their will notarized, doing so can speed up the execution process. Once a person passes away, the person named as his or her executor must file the will in probate court, after which the assets will be transferred through the court-supervised probate process.
In Florida, if a person passes away without creating a will or a trust, his or her property will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. Under these laws, a person’s property is distributed to the deceased’s closest relatives, beginning with his or her spouse and children. If it is discovered that a deceased had no living relatives by blood or marriage, the property will be given to the state. Creating a will ensures that even if a person has no relatives to whom he or she wishes to bequeath any assets, he or she can still give those assets to friends, loved ones, or charity. To ensure that your will fulfills all legal requirements, please contact an experienced Tampa wills and trusts attorney today.
Creating a Trust
Florida residents also have the option of creating a trust. During this process, a testator transfers his or her assets to a trust, over which he or she, or whoever is named the trustee, has control over those assets until the testator’s death. Once the testator passes away or upon the occurrence of a specified event, the assets are distributed to those named in the trust. One of the advantages of a trust is that the beneficiaries do not have to go to probate court and can make the asset transfers without any court supervision, which can save the estate a significant amount of money. Finally, because trusts do not have to go through probate, all transfers and documents will remain private.
Experienced Estate Planning Law Firm
Every client has different resources and different wishes as to how those resources will be divided at the end of the client’s life. For some clients a simple will is enough to provide for a smooth transition of one’s assets to one’s heirs. In other cases, however, wills may be more complicated or it may be necessary to set up revocable trusts. A will is a document that explains how a person wants his or her assets to be distributed when he or she dies. Wills can be altered or destroyed when the person is alive, but they cannot be changed after the person dies. A trust, on the other hand, is a method by which a person actually transfers his or her assets before he or she dies. Instead of transferring the assets directly to the beneficiaries, however, they are transferred into the trust. Usually the person who is putting the assets in the trust remains “trustee” which means he or she still controls the assets until his or her death. Then, when the person dies, the person who has been appointed “successor trustee” takes control of the assets in the trust and transfers them to the named heirs. There are some major differences between these two tools:
- Trusts do not require the approval or supervision of the probate court, whereas wills are filed and go through the probate process. While trusts may be more complicated to set up on the front end, this means that the process of distributing your assets after your death may be faster, easier, and cheaper if you use a trust.
- Because they do not go through the probate court, trusts allow for more privacy. Since wills are probated they become public records. For people with high public profiles who value privacy this can make the trust a valuable tool.
Contact our Tampa Wills & Trusts Lawyers
If you are in need of the services of a Tampa wills and trusts lawyer you should contact the offices of Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Our phone number is (813) 963-7735. Our offices are located at 12960 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618.