As a former bank examiner and former CPA, Larry T. Griggs can be trusted with your most crucial decisions for Estate Planning and Elder Law for the advanced stages of life. He is a member of ElderCounsel – a resource to help attorneys best serve elder clients and their families with legal excellence. Larry is also a member of professional organizations that are committed to excellence, such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Florida Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar and the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs.
Elder law is a specialized area of legal practice, covering estate planning, wills, trusts, arrangements for care, social security, retirement benefits, Medicaid planning, protection against elder abuse and other services involving seniors.
Your estate is comprised of everything you own— your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and something in common—you can’t take it with you when you die. When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries. Since trusts usually avoid probate, your beneficiaries may gain access to these assets more quickly than they might to assets that are transferred using a will. Additionally, if it is an irrevocable trust, it may not be considered part of the taxable estate, so fewer taxes may be due upon your death. Assets in a trust may also be able to pass outside of probate, saving time, court fees, and potentially reducing estate taxes as well.