Sarasota Estate Planning Lawyer

Personalized plans focused on achieving your goals

Estate planning is the process of securing your assets for your own enjoyment and as a legacy to your loved ones. Sarasota estate planning attorney Teresa K. Bowman, P.A. provides personalized attention to help you develop a comprehensive plan that protects your wealth from liability, safeguards your welfare, contains contingencies for long-term care, and expresses your affection for the people dearest to you. In the relaxed atmosphere of my office, we discuss your circumstances and your concerns. After assessing your situation and identifying your specific goals, I can suggest strategies that are appropriate and likely to yield the best results.

Creating a valid and effective last will and testament

An effective will is an essential element of a successful estate plan. I work closely with my clients to ensure their will is:

  • Accurate — Mistakes in naming assets and beneficiaries can cause confusion that makes a will impossible to implement. I craft your will with meticulous care to eliminate these types of errors.
  • Comprehensive — A will that leaves out certain assets creates a situation known as partial intestacy. The omitted assets then pass according to Florida’s laws of inheritance rather than as you intend.
  • Validly formed and executed — A will must not be vague and open to interpretation. It must be written, signed and witnessed according to law.
  • Up to date — You should plan on reviewing and revising your will every couple of years as your circumstances, and those of your intended beneficiaries, change.

By working closely with you, I am able to draft a will that can stand up to court scrutiny and accomplish your goals for your legacy.

A power of attorney can safeguard your health and welfare

Another important part of a comprehensive estate plan is your protection from incapacity. As an elder law attorney, I routinely assist clients with a variety of legal instruments that protect them in the event they become incapacitated. Living wills and powers of attorney allow you to have your say or appoint someone you trust to speak and act for you. Having a plan in place for long-term care or Medicaid eligibility can also give you peace of mind about the future.

Create a Health Care Directive

A healthcare directive is a crucial component of estate planning, as it empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their medical care in case they become unable to communicate their wishes. By having a well-drafted healthcare directive in place, clients can ensure their medical preferences are respected and alleviate potential burdens on their loved ones during critical healthcare situations.

Using trusts for asset protection and greater legacy control

Trusts are legal entities you create to hold your assets for your enjoyment and the benefit of your heirs. Trusts provide protection from liability from lawsuits and creditors and can help you reduce losses from taxation. Trusts also give you greater control over wealth you want to transfer to your heirs. Assets left in a trust do not have to go through probate, so beneficiaries can have access to them immediately, if you desire. But you can also place conditions on a gift to an heir, such as requiring a beneficiary to remain clean and sober. In a spendthrift trust, you can provide a steady income rather than a lump sum to a loved one who cannot manage money responsibly. And with a special needs trust, you can provide for a disabled relative who needs funds but also needs to remain eligible for government benefits.

Contact a Florida estate planning attorney with offices in Sarasota and Osprey

Teresa K. Bowman, P.A. advises clients in Sarasota and Osprey, Florida on a full range of estate planning matters, including the creation of wills and trusts. For a comprehensive estate plan that addresses your personal concerns, call 941-735-5200 or contact my Sarasota office online to make an appointment.