Call Today: (727) 900-7290
Call Today: (727) 900-7290

Estate Planning

St. Petersburg Estate Lawyer

Estate Planning Lawyer in St. Petersburg and Largo, Florida

At Centonzio Law, we know that estate planning can be intimidating for many people. Considering your own mortality and planning to provide for your family after you become incapacitated or are no longer here can be unpleasant or even frightening. Javier Centonzio and his team of St. Petersburg estate planning experts can help you overcome anxiety about the process of preparing for your eventual demise. This can help you make the most positive moves on behalf of your family. We also have a law office in Largo, Florida.

According to a survey performed by Caring.com and cited by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in 2017, only 42 percent of all adults in the U.S. have made some sort of arrangement for what will become of their property when they die. For those who die in the state of Florida without a will or other estate plan in place, state law dictates the division of property and the disposal of the assets left behind. This takes away all control from the individual and puts it directly in the hands of the state. Working with a qualified St. Petersburg estate planning attorney can help you to retain control over your own assets and to provide clear instructions to be followed after your death.

By taking steps now to plan for the future, you can ensure that your family receives the financial support they need after you are no longer there to provide for them. Centonzio Law and Javier Centonzio can provide you with the expert legal help you need to make the right arrangements for your loved ones.

What Is Estate Planning?

Many people equate estate planning with the simple drawing up of a will. In fact, estate planning encompasses all aspects of financial security for single people, senior citizens, and those with families to protect. At Centonzio Law, we work with you and your family to determine the most appropriate and effective strategies for your specific set of needs.

The process begins with a careful analysis of your current financial situation, including any assets you may have, any financial obligations you must meet and any expenses you anticipate in the near future. St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer Javier Centonzio and the Centonzio Law team will work with you to create a comprehensive overview of your finances and to help you create a workable estate plan.

Your estate planning attorney will also look at safeguarding your assets and establishing a plan to deal with sudden illnesses or debilitating injuries. By choosing a trusted friend or family member to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, you can ensure that you will be cared for in an appropriate manner even when you are seriously ill or incapacitated for an extended period of time. You can also outline the steps to be followed if you are unable to make decisions for yourself regarding your health care and your finances. Our team will work with you to determine the most practical and suitable arrangements for your situation.

Centonzio Law and Javier Centonzio will work with you to update your estate planning documents when your situation changes. This is necessary to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your family is taken care of in the event of your death. Our team of legal experts will stick with you to ensure that you receive the right recommendations and guidance from start to finish. This can help you feel much more confident in your estate planning arrangements at every stage of your life.

Common Estate Planning Documents

At Centonzio Law, we specialize in providing our clients with customized solutions that suit their needs perfectly. We have extensive experience in creating wills, setting up trusts and health care advanced directives and establishing power of attorney arrangements for our clients. Here are some of the most important documents associated with estate planning in the state of Florida.

Trusts:

Centonzio Law can create trusts designed to meet the needs of our clients. A trust is a separate legal entity that acts and is administered independently of the individual who makes the trust. This can provide significant tax benefits and may be used to establish financial support for family members and loved ones both during your lifetime and after you are gone. Trusts are often an ideal way to shield assets when attempting to establish income eligibility for Veterans Benefits and Medicaid Benefits for long-term care in Florida. They can also be used by younger couples as part of the estate planning process. Many people establish revocable living trusts in order to avoid probate, especially if they own property in other states. Estate planning lawyer Javier Centonzio can help you decide whether a trust is the right option for you.

A trustee must be appointed by the person establishing the trust. Because this individual will be responsible for all tasks related to the administration of the trust, he or she should be someone known to and trusted by the person setting up the trust. At Centonzio Law, we can provide you with expert guidance on determining the right individual to serve as trustee and the most effective strategies for establishing your trust under Florida law. Trusts can be designed to provide lifelong financial support for individuals or couples during their retirement years or to create an annuity for college expenses, weddings and other financial needs of minor children. Whatever your needs, Javier Centonzio and his team can help you deal with the necessary legal paperwork to set up these arrangements to your precise specifications. This can help you feel more confident in your ability to care for those you love even after you are no longer around.

The property and financial assets held by certain trusts are owned by that trust and administered only by the trustee. While the original owner of those assets can benefit from the decisions made by the trustee, it is independently administered and is no longer owned by the person making the trust. This means that the financial resources in the trust are not available directly to the original owner of those resources. This can make these arrangements less practical for individuals who may need to access financial resources to manage health care costs and other necessary expenditures.

One of the most important uses of trusts is to safeguard assets while ensuring that senior citizens and retirees qualify for Veterans Benefits and Medicaid. These programs often have strict maximum income and asset requirements. By setting aside some resources in trust for family members and loved ones, it may be possible to meet these guidelines without giving up your ability to leave a legacy behind. A trust can allow you to provide assets and resources to family members during your lifetime while ensuring that these assets are used in accordance with your wishes. This can provide you with added options for managing your finances in the most effective way while making sure that you can qualify for the benefits you need to improve your quality of life.

At Centonzio Law, we work with you to create trusts designed to suit your specific set of needs. This can help you enjoy greater peace of mind and can ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled in the state of Florida. Javier Centonzio has the proven experience and knowledge needed to help you create the right trust arrangements to protect your assets and provide for your family now and in the future.

Wills:

Your will includes guidance and information for those you leave behind regarding the distribution of your assets and the administration of your estate after your death. Wills should not be confused with living trusts, which are designed to ensure the well-being of loved ones both during the lifetime of the individual and beyond. One of the most important elements of a valid will is the appointment of an administrator or executor to oversee the process of distributing assets, paying bills and adhering to the provisions included in the will.

Florida law outlines certain requirements for legal wills within the state. Wills must be in written form and signed by the maker of the will, who is also called the testator. In some cases, it may be adequate to have the name of the testator written at the end of the will by another individual who does so with the testator’s consent and in his or her presence. At least two witnesses must be present for the signing or writing of the testator’s name and must also sign the will to affirm that they were there. In most cases, these individuals should be disinterested third parties to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Notarizing the will is not required but is recommended by most legal experts. St. Petersburg estate lawyer Javier Centonzio and the team at Centonzio Law can provide the most practical options for making a will in the state of Florida.

Health care advance directives:

Javier Centonzio and the Centonzio Law team will provide you with help in creating health care advance directives. Health care advance directives include health care surrogate designations, and living wills. These documents are designed to provide clear instructions and a chosen representative or representatives to make health care decisions for you or your loved one in the event of incapacitation because of an illness or injury. A health care surrogate designation allows you to name representatives to receive your medical information and make health care decisions on your behalf. A living will can ensure that your wishes are followed regarding extraordinary measures and life-prolonging treatment if you are seriously or terminally ill and are no longer able to make these decisions. Both health care advance directives can provide you with a measure of control even when you are unable to speak on your own behalf.

Power of Attorney:

Establishing a power of attorney is the process by which you can choose someone to make your financial and personal decisions. Assigning your power of attorney is a relatively high-risk decision. The person you entrust with this power can make changes to your banking arrangements, can vote on your behalf in shareholder meetings and can make purchases and withdrawals with your money. Unlike regular power of attorney arrangements, a durable power of attorney is designed specifically to continue even if you become incapacitated. Centonzio Law can provide you with expert help in deciding about power of attorney arrangements and choosing the right individual to represent your interests. We can provide you with the guidance and support you need to manage your affairs now and well into the future.

How to Tell if You Need an Estate Plan

An estate plan is recommended for most adults who have dependents or who have considerable assets to pass on to their family members. However, Attorney Javier Centonzio strongly believes that every adult should have an estate plan because they can be tailored to very specific needs. At Centonzio Law, we specialize in creating customized estate plans that suit the needs of our clients and that are in compliance with the laws in the state of Florida. Updating your estate plan on a regular basis is also recommended to ensure that these documents and legal arrangements reflect the most current state of your finances and your family situation. Some of the circumstances that may require an update to your estate planning arrangements include the following:

  • Changes in your marital status, including marriage, separation or divorce
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • Acquisition of new assets that may include real estate or significant financial endowments
  • Loss of assets that were included as part of your previous estate plan
  • Added responsibilities for aging parents or other family members who may require special provisions
  • The passage of time since your last comprehensive review of your estate plan
  • Changes in how you would like your assets distributed

St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer Javier Centonzio can help you keep your estate plan up to date and can ensure that any changes in your life or your means are reflected in your current will or other legal arrangements. We can also ensure that any previous wills are destroyed, rescinded or invalidated with the creation of your new will. This can provide you with added peace of mind when dealing with these matters for yourself or for your family. The experts at Centonzio Law are committed to helping you manage your estate issues in the most effective ways possible.

Centonzio Law Is Your Florida Estate Planning Law Firm

Finding an attorney with whom you feel comfortable can make a big difference in your ability to plan for the future. At Centonzio Law, we go the extra mile to help you decide on the most practical and effective solutions for your situation. Javier Centonzio and the entire legal team will look at your options and provide you with a workable solution for your needs. To learn more about our estate planning services, contact our offices today at 727-900-7290. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your family to resolve your estate planning needs and help provide you with peace of mind.

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