Accurate advice. Cost-effective solutions.

Comprehensive Estate Planning And Probate Services

Block & Scarpa provides a comprehensive approach to the needs of each of our clients and their family. Our firm helps clients create and implement estate plans to best suit their needs. We work closely with each client to ensure that each individual’s estate plan meets their wishes in the clearest and most beneficial way possible.

Estate plans can include documents such as a durable power of attorney, a last will and testament, a living will and designation of a health care surrogate, a preneed guardian designation, revocable and irrevocable trusts, and business succession plans among other things. Our firm advises clients on gift making and charitable giving.

Periodic Review Is Necessary

Estate plans are essential to ensure proper fulfillment of a person’s wishes and should be reviewed every few years to ensure they still meet the client’s needs. Additionally, out-of-state estate plans should be reviewed when a person moves to Florida to ensure that they take advantage of Florida’s unique statutes and protections.

Helping You Navigate Homestead Laws

Block & Scarpa advises its clients on Florida’s distinctive homestead laws and the unique benefits they can provide. Florida has generous homestead protection that can provide residents with great benefits if utilized properly. Although the laws were created to protect the homestead, when incorrectly utilized and misunderstood, the laws can have unintended and unwanted consequences.

Florida homestead laws include protection from creditors, real property tax exemption, including the “save our homes” cap, and transferability restrictions. Our firm helps clients recognize and employ Florida’s homestead laws to their advantage and eliminate unintended consequences.

Legal Protection For Disabled Adults And Minors

Block & Scarpa helps our clients establish and maintain guardianships for disabled adults and minor children. Guardianships can be a solution to ensure a loved one is properly protected both physically and financially.

Our firm guides our clients through the establishment of guardianship by preparing all the necessary documentation and forms and attending hearings. Our attorneys advise our clients on the duties of the guardian and ensure the proper procedure is maintained throughout the existence of the guardianship to ensure the loved one’s well-being. Additionally, our attorneys dispute guardianship cases to ensure that our clients are not having improper control placed over them and to ensure that their rights are secured.

We Understand The Tax Implications Of Planning

Taxes are among the potential financial obligations that can deplete your loved ones’ inheritance and the overall value of your estate. The amount that you and your estate may lose in taxes could otherwise provide valuable financial support for your family. However, comprehensive estate planning can allow you to maximize the value of your assets. Through lifetime gifting, trust creation, spending plans and other legal strategies, you may significantly reduce the eventual tax obligations of your estate. 

Beckett Horner, head of estate planning, holds an LL.M degree in taxation law. This deep dive into tax law allows us to provide clients with an in-depth analysis of the tax ramifications of their estate plan. The choices you make upfront will have a significant impact on how your assets are taxed in the future. We will carefully evaluate all of your options and steer you toward the plan that provides your assets with maximum protection.

Thorough Probate And Trust Administration

An estate plan does not end at the signing of documents but is something that continues after death. Block & Scarpa ensures the proper probate and trust administration to receive the optimal benefit of a person planning efforts while minimizing potential taxes.

Our firm provides a personal experience and guides trustees, personal representatives and beneficiaries through the probate and trust administration process, which come at emotional and difficult times. Probate and trust administration are statute-driven, and an attorney is essential to ensure proper compliance with the law in carrying out the duties of trustees and personal representatives. Improper conformity to the law can cause legal liability and family conflict during already troubling times.

Probate And The Need For An Attorney

Probate is the legal process of settling a person’s estate after they die. At a minimum, the estate’s personal representative must submit the decedent’s will to probate court to show that it is legally valid. Once the probate judge approves the will, the process of distributing the decedent’s assets and settling their debts begins. For people who passed away with substantial assets, putting their estate through probate can be complicated.

The personal representative is responsible for guiding the estate through the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive. Block & Scarpa advises personal representatives and represents them in probate court. We help avoid missed deadlines and other errors that can delay the distribution of assets, and keep taxes and other costs to a minimum.

Be Prepared If A Probate Dispute Turns Into A Lawsuit

Though most estates pass through probate without conflict, a challenge to the will or trust is always possible. For example, someone may claim that a prior will supersedes the current one, or that the will is invalid. Reasons a will may be invalid include the deceased lacking testamentary capacity at the time the will was created, or being under undue influence by someone else. Such challenges are often made by family members or others who believe they were wrongly not named as heirs or beneficiaries.

Our estate planning and probate attorneys represent heirs, the personal representative, and the challenger or challengers in probate litigation. While we always seek solutions that avoid trial and preserve family harmony as much as possible, we go to trial when our clients’ rights are at stake.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Plan

Call our Vero Beach office at 772-794-1918, our Fort Lauderdale office at 954-266-8527 or our Orlando office at 407-440-2100. You may also contact Block & Scarpa online to schedule a consultation.