Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning – Sarasota, Florida

When it comes to estate planning, there are a lot of misconceptions. A lot of people think that estate planning is only for the wealthy or that it’s something that can be put off until later in life. But the truth is that estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of age or income level.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of deciding what will happen to your property after you die. This includes things like your house, your car, your bank accounts, and your investments. There are a lot of benefits that come with making a good estate plan like making sure your loved ones are taken care of and that you don’t leave a legal nightmare to your family. At Cuturic Law, we will make sure that:

  • 100% of your assets go to the people you love
  • That your property is transferred in the easiest way possible to those you love
  • You avoid Florida Probate
  • Your bequest is safeguarded from divorce, lawsuits, creditors, and irresponsible spending

Not having a good estate plan, on the other hand, can leave your family with all sorts of problems. Here is just one fictional example of what can happen if you don’t have a good estate plan in place:

When Jane came to my office, she had a problem. Her husband John Doe had recently passed from a heart attack – he passed without a plan in place. John and Jane Doe had been married for 20 years and had two children together, but they both had previous marriages…

And John had a son and a daughter with his previous wife. The house was under John’s name and John had no plan in place when he died, there was nowhere in writing that Mary would get the house or be allowed to live in it – even though she helped pay for it and all the related expenses. As result, there is an ongoing battle between John’s children and Jane about Jane getting to stay in the house. Obviously there is quite a lot of family drama between Jane and the step kids, and strain between siblings. All of it could have been easily avoided with a good estate plan.

Regardless of your wishes, if you don’t have a plan or have a plan that doesn’t hold up in court your estate will be devised according to Florida law, which may or may not comport with your wishes.


Being “incapacitated” means you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Incapacity may result from an injury, dementia, stroke, heart attack, etc., and may be temporary or permanent. A good, thorough estate plan also addresses who can act or make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

If you don’t have good documents in place naming someone in this role, a court will decide who will act for you. It could appoint your partner, but it could also appoint a relative or even someone who is a total stranger to you. The court will also control how your assets are used to care for you until you recover or die. This public process is called a guardianship or conservatorship. It is expensive—especially if your family members and your partner battle over who will look after you—as well as embarrassing, time-consuming, and difficult to end.

With proper planning, however, you can decide who will manage your assets and make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

If you don’t have an estate plan in place yet, there’s no time like the present to get started. Making an appointment with Cuturic Law is a good first step. We can answer any questions you have and help you to make a plan that’s right for you and your family.

Probate and Trust Estate Administration – Sarasota, Florida

Probate administration is the process that occurs after a person dies by which his or her estate is “settled.” In a nutshell this means:

  • the decedent’s assets are collected
  • creditors are notified and paid
  • and then the remaining assets are distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s will (or the default rules in Florida if there is no valid Will)

Probate assets are all of the assets that a person owns in his or her individual name at death. A will determines the distribution of those assets. If the decedent did not have a will, then Florida’s laws of intestacy are applied.

A will also names the person the decedent selected to administer the decedent’s estate. That is the person who performs the above process. This person is referred to as “personal representative” in Florida. The person representative must file the will with the court and petition to open the process of probate. When the petition is granted, the process of probate officially begins. In Florida, you must hire an attorney to probate an estate. The only exceptions are if you are an attorney or if you are trying to get reimbursed for paying funeral expenses.

The personal representative must first give notice of the estate administration. This notice must be given to all parties who have an interest in the estate. The personal representative is responsible for paying any claims made against the estate from the assets within the estate, and must pay these claims before distributing anything to the beneficiaries. The personal representative will also be responsible for filing income tax returns and, if necessary, estate tax returns on behalf of the decedent and the decedent’s estate.

After all requirements have been satisfied, the personal representative may begin to distribute the remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Planning – Sarasota, Florida

At Cuturic Law, our mission is to help guide our clients who are dealing with dementia through the maze of the aging network (community or government agencies, healthcare providers, and other organizations who meet the needs of elderly populations). In keeping with our legal team’s focus, we aim to become the go-to law firm in Florida related to legal and financial planning for dementia. Our mission is to help clients and their families get answers to their questions and find the help they need.

At Cuturic Law, we can help you:

  • Plan ahead for long-term care expenses
  • Estimate the cost of care and provide asset protection from the cost of nursing home or in-home care
  • Prepare legal documents
  • Explore available resources in your community
  • Provide disease education on:
    • Stages of the disease
    • Communication needs
    • Behavior interventions
    • Avoiding caregiver stress
  • Provide care planning and case management to help caregivers manage the disease stages

The first step towards security and ease about your future care is to schedule a consultation with us today.

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