PROBATE AND GUARDIANSHIP ADMINISTRATION & LITIGATION
Selecting an attorney is an incredibly important decision that can have a major impact on you and your family’s life. This impact is even greater when you are planning for your future or protecting and caring for a loved one, or if you have suffered the loss of a loved one and need help navigating the probate system. At Phillips Lanier, our team of attorneys is dedicated to making these processes easier, by providing you with a wide range of comprehensive legal services on all matters relating to estate planning, including Wills and Trusts, Health Care Directives and Proxies, Advance Directives and Powers of Attorney, Probate and Trust administration and litigation, and Guardianship administration and litigation.
WHAT WE DO
Creating a complete estate plan is vital to planning you and your family’s future, and it is not only for your own peace of mind but for your family’s peace of mind as well. Our team at Phillips Lanier is devoted to providing you with a plan specifically tailored to your familial and financial situation, and helping you reach the goals of protecting your hard-earned assets and wealth, securing proper care for your loved ones or yourself, and providing for your family in any situation.
At Phillips Lanier, we can provide you with the following estate planning services:
Wills and Trusts
Gift Giving and Other Transfers of Wealth
Health Care Directives and Proxies
Living Wills and Other Advance Directives
Powers of Attorney
Planning for Incapacity and Special Needs
Guardianship is a special legal relationship that arises when a child or adult needs someone to take care of financial or personal affairs due to an inability to care for oneself.
Such a need may arise in various situations: when a minor child inherits a large sum of money from a deceased parent or loved one, or when an elderly or infirm person cannot care for his or her personal or financial needs due to mental or physical disability, infirmity or other incapacity.
When these situations occur, the Court must appoint a guardian to make decisions and act in the best interests of this person and to ensure that the individual’s personal and financial needs are met. If you have a loved one who needs a guardian appointed, Phillips Lanier can help guide through the detail-intensive legal process of obtaining and maintaining a guardianship.
Given the nature of guardianship matters, including the removal or all or some of the civil and legal rights of the person subject to guardianship and the appointment of a third party to manage that person’s affairs, there are sometimes conflicts.
It is important to remember that there is always the possibility of litigation.
Our team at Phillips Lanier has the experience and dedication to help you navigate these issues through litigation. It is our goal not only to ensure that your loved one’s best interests are protected both personally and financially, but also to guide you through the potentially lengthy and complex process of the application for a guardianship.
Probate administration is a Court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (the decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.
Probate is a necessary and sometimes complex process of passing ownership of the decedent’s assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. If your loved one had a will, it must be admitted to probate in the Court before any debts can be paid or assets passed on to beneficiaries. If the decedent had no will, probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to those persons who are to receive them under Florida law.
Losing a friend or loved one is an extremely difficult process on its own, and the probate administration process may seem daunting and may add additional stress during this time. At Phillips Lanier, our goal is to help you navigate through the probate system properly, efficiently, and successfully.
Sometimes the process of probate administration encounters conflicts that require litigation. There are times when a person is at his or her most vulnerable—either in declining health or advanced age—and persons close to them interfere with their wishes by taking advantage of their weakened position.
In doing so, these people may attempt to unlawfully influence your loved one to create or change their will or other estate planning documents, to cause them to transfer money and other property during their lives to people they do not intend to benefit, and to do other things against their wishes. In other cases, your loved one may suffer from mental impairments and may lack the legal ability to create a new will or change an existing one.
In those cases, the people who should have benefitted but for the creation or change of a will, trust, advance directive or inter vivos transfer (transfer during life) must often resort to litigation in probate court in order to affirm their rights and stake a claim for what rightfully belongs to them. This litigation can involve will contests, claims of undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of power of attorney and the rights of beneficiaries. At Phillips Lanier, our team has the knowledge, the litigation experience, and the dedication needed to ensure that your loved one’s wishes for his or her estate are realized and that your rights are protected.