Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

Death is a difficult topic to discuss. We understand that. But worrying about what will happen to your loved ones after you are gone can also be disturbing. Getting proper and professional estate planning in place can do so much to relieve your concerns and reassure you that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone.

Estate planning is so much more than having a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) or Revocable Living Trust (“Trust”). It is so much more than simply deciding who will get your property when you die.

Estate planning is legacy planning.

Your life has meaning. All the way to its end.

Your legacy is more than just the money and property you leave your loved ones. It is also the values and life lessons you pass on.

Estate planning lets you leave your legacy to your heirs and beneficiaries the way you want to and in a way that is uniquely you. For example, if you want your children to receive all of your money but only after they turn 25, a properly drafted estate plan can ensure that your wishes will be carried out.

Estate planning also addresses the tax consequences your estate will face at the time of your death. By implementing tax strategies as part of your estate plan, you can minimize taxes —allowing you to leave more to your loved ones.

Estate planning also anticipates what will happen during your lifetime should you become incapacitated. Who will make medical decisions for you? Who will pay your bills? Who will take care of your children? What kind of medical interventions do you want at the end of your life? Thinking about these things may not be pleasant, but it is critical. You must consider all potential scenarios and work with an experienced Plantation, Florida estate and probate attorney to craft an estate plan that is comprehensive and fits your needs.

We understand that thinking about death isn’t pleasant. But not thinking about it and not getting an estate plan in place is worse. Not planning for your death can lead to bitter family feuds and the complete or near complete financial depletion of your estate. Not planning for your death can cost you in terms of probate and litigation expenses. Or worse.

What could possibly be worse?


If you don’t take the time to think about your estate planning, and you do not get documents in place like a Durable Power of Attorney and Designation of Health Care Surrogate, you will be subject to guardianship proceedings if you later become incapacitated.

A guardian is someone appointed by the court to make decisions for you when you cannot act for yourself and don’t have any documents in place to prevent guardianship proceedings. Essentially, the guardianship process strips you of your ability to make your own decisions or spend your money as you want, giving that power instead to a court-appointed guardian.

And who will that guardian be?

Who knows?

Your money, your property, and your assets will be under the control of someone the probate judge (a stranger) appoints to act as your guardian.

Unfortunately, guardianships are fraught with fraud. Although the extent of elder abuse perpetrated by guardians is unknown, the problem is serious.

The other major benefit of estate planning is that it can help avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised legal process for distributing a decedent’s estate to their beneficiaries.

If you have a comprehensive estate plan in place when you die, the court supervision of the distribution of your estate will be minimal, if there is any court supervision at all. And, generally speaking, your estate will be administered in accordance with your wishes as expressed in your Will, Trust, and other related documents, efficiently and inexpensively.

If, on the other hand, you die intestate (i.e., without a Will or Trust in place), then the court’s involvement in the administration of your estate will be far more extensive. Everything from the appointment of a personal representative to final distribution of your assets will require court filings, court costs, hearings, and attorney’s fees.

Plus, it is far more likely that your family will dispute something. Not having an estate plan can cause family fights and litigation which can tie up your estate for years. It makes your estate’s administration more cumbersome, time-consuming, expensive, traumatic, and bitter for those left behind.

Consider this: The famous artist, Pablo Picasso, died in 1973 at the age of 91. He left behind a fortune in assets, including his famous artwork, 5 homes, cash, gold, and bonds. His estate was valued at about $250 million.

But because Picasso did not have a Will, it cost $30 million dollars and took 6 years to settle his estate.

Abraham Lincoln, our nation’s 16th president, was a lawyer. He was sophisticated enough to have a patent to his name. And yet, when he was assassinated in 1865, Lincoln died without a Will.

You don’t need to be a famous artist or the next president of the United States to have an estate plan or to understand how important one is to protect your loved ones and pass on your legacy. If you die without a Will, like Pablo Picasso or Abraham Lincoln, you will have absolutely no control over who gets your money or your property.

Without an estate plan, after your death, all of the property in your estate (house, furniture, cars, money, etc.) will have to go through the time-consuming and costly process of probate. In the end, it is quite possible that the costs of probate could swallow up most, if not all, of your estate —leaving little or nothing for your heirs.

By the way, you do not need to be wealthy in order to need an estate plan.

Many people think that before you can have an estate plan, you need to have considerable wealth to protect. That just isn’t so.

Most people over the age of 18 have assets of some type. They may have a car, furniture, bank accounts, stocks, cryptocurrency, digital assets, a business, a house—you name it. If you have assets, then you should make a plan for how you want those assets distributed after your death. Because you don’t want to leave it to the probate court and state law to decide for you.

The bottom line is that you do not have to have a lot of wealth to need an estate plan. If you have assets and loved ones, you need an estate plan. It’s just that simple.

Most adults, regardless of age, marital status, or wealth, need some form of estate planning. Your personalized estate plan might include the following legal documents:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Designation of Health Care Surrogate
  • Living Will
  • Revocable (or Living) Trust.

At SJF Law Group, we use these legal documents to create customized estate plans to ensure your intentions are respected when you can no longer personally provide for your loved ones. Call us today at (954) 799-6842 with any questions or complete the easy form below and we’ll call you to set up an initial consultation.

Our Estate Plan Guarantee:

Our clients’ satisfaction with their estate plan is our #1 priority. We are committed to providing exceptional service and personalized estate plans, which is why we offer you a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you are dissatisfied with your estate plan for any reason, you may request a full refund within 30 days of your document signing.

*Disclaimer: Client must complete the requisite documentation, including a description of the Client’s dissatisfaction. Refunds will be made 30 days after completion of said documentation.

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About The Firm

Since 2011, the SJF Law Group has been helping clients protect their families with estate planning, probate & trust administration. We pride ourselves on combining the personalized service and attention of a boutique firm, with the talent and legal acumen of a large firm.

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