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ESTATE PLANNING AND VOTING IN MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

WHAT DO VOTING IN MIAMI BEACH AND ESTATE PLANNING IN MIAMI BEACH HAVE IN COMMON?

A big voting day occurred in Miami Beach, Florida and all over the United States a couple weeks ago. People are expressing their choices and getting out to make a difference. I voted and it felt great!

Other countries are not like ours and have many more restrictions. For example, in December of 2015, Saudi Arabia lifted their ban allowing women to vote and just this year, in 2018, they are finally allowing women to get driver’s licenses. Estate planning is similar to voting, because when creating an estate plan, an individual is exercising their free will and stating their preferences.

WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING IN MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA?

Estate planning consists of health care documents, including a living will, a power of attorney, and a will and revocable trust. There can be more documents, but these five documents make up a basic estate plan.  In addition to these five documents, there may be other documents depending on the circumstances of each specific case.

DO I NEED TO BE A CERTAIN AGE TO DO ESTATE PLANNING?

Age is not a factor in determining whether you need estate planning or not. Young parents with real estate and assets should do estate planning, but they are usually unsure when to do it. The best time is now so you may sleep peacefully, knowing your wishes will be honored and your loved ones taken care of. Estate planning is needed when you have loved ones and assets (real estate, investments, bank accounts).  Do you have minor children, loved ones, or relatives dependent on you for financial support?  If the answer is yes, estate planning is needed to protect these loved ones. Do you have wishes regarding who gets what if you should pass away? If the answer to this is also yes, you too need estate planning.

WHAT IS THE FLORIDA INTESTACY STATUTE AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?

If a will does not exist, the Florida intestacy statute takes over. In most cases, this is not as the person intended. For example, my new client wants his nieces and nephews to get his real estate and money, but his mother, who is 93 years of age, would inherit everything if he does not do his will. In this example, he will also have a revocable trust created to protect him from incapacity and the nieces and nephews from inheriting too soon.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR WILLS, TRUST, ESTATE PLANNING AND MIAMI PROBATE MATTERS?

As a Miami Beach, Florida, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probate Attorney, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with care. I am familiar and comfortable with the Miami-Dade County probate court system and know how to get things done. My unique approach to estate planning, probate, and trust administration, allows the family and loved ones to work together peacefully even in the most difficult situations. Call or email me today to discuss your Estate Planning, Wills, Trust, or Miami-Dade County probate matter.

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THE TALE OF TWO MIAMI PROBATE CASES

THE TALE OF TWO MIAMI PROBATE CASES

I have received many calls from relatives of loved ones who have recently passed away. Most of them left a house or apartment, investments, and bank accounts all in their own name.  They then hire me to open a probate case in Miami-Dade County, Florida and collect and distribute the assets either according to the will or if no will exists, then according to the Florida intestacy statutes.

 WHAT WERE MY LAST TWO PROBATE CALLS ABOUT?

My most recent calls were the most common probate situations and easy to use as examples. The first is a son who has two brothers and both of their parents passed away, one soon after the other. They did have a will so the probate court must follow the instructions in the will and equally divide the house and bank accounts among the three sons. The will also names one brother as the Personal Representative in this case. In this case, everyone gets along which makes it much easier.

In the second case, the mother passed away, her only child lives out of the country and is not familiar with the probate process and is lost and confused.

HOW COULD THE NECESSITY FOR PROBATE COURT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HAVE BEEN AVOIDED?

In both cases, one with a will and one without a will, a Miami-Dade probate case is required because the loved ones passed away with assets in their own name with no designated paid on death beneficiary. For example, a payable -on- death beneficiary on a bank account would allow the person named to go and collect their money with proof of ID and a death certificate, assuming there are no complications.

If a person does not want to indicate a payable -on- death beneficiary or they cannot, in the case of real estate and other assets, the situation becomes more complicated.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER OPTIONS? WHAT IS A REVOCABLE TRUST?

Revocable trusts are a great option for people wanting to avoid probate for their loved ones after they pass away. When a revocable trust is properly funded, probate court is avoided. Getting back to our first example, after their father passed away and everything was no longer in joint name, the three sons or at least one of them could have suggested that their mother hire an estate planning and trust attorney to create a revocable trust. By doing this, the real estate, bank accounts, and investments could have all been transferred over to the trust and upon the mother’s death or disability, the assets could have been easily managed and then transferred upon her death.

In the second example above, a funded revocable trust would have listed the assets inside the trust and named the daughter as the trustee, simplifying this situation.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR WILLS, TRUST, ESTATE PLANNING AND MIAMI PROBATE MATTERS?

As a Miami Beach, Florida, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probate Attorney, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with care. I am familiar and comfortable with the Miami-Dade County probate court system and know how to get things done. Call or email me today to discuss your Estate Planning, Wills, Trust, or Miami-Dade County probate matter.

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ESTATE PLANNING PROTECTS OUR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS AND THOSE WE LOVE

ESTATE PLANNING PROTECTS OUR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS AND THOSE WE LOVE

I have been getting many calls lately from people close to a person who died, but not related by blood or marriage. They call asking me to begin a probate for them and I have to explain that even if they lived together for 35 years, they are not protected and will inherit nothing without a will or trust specifying these wishes.

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY LOVED ONES ARE PROTECTED?

Wills and trust can protect your loved ones. For example, the woman who lived with her boyfriend for 35 years before he died, shared a home and a life, yet everything was in his name alone. Thus, the house and bank accounts would require probate court involvement because there was no trust nor any paid on death designations. In this case, the intestacy statute will prevail and his mother would get his assets instead of his life partner. Do you think this is what he would have wanted?

By creating a will that simply states your wishes, you can prevent this situation and make sure your loved ones are protected. If your loved ones are minors or if you have real estate and investments, a trust is a better option. A trust is private and more protective and avoids probate court involvement, if funded properly.

WHY DO I WANT TO AVOID PROBATE?

Probate in Miami-Dade County is a public process which takes time and does not always protect the real loved ones of the decedent. For example, in our previously discussed case, the decedent’s mother did not want the assets and believed her son would have given them to his life partner. This can be done with wills and trusts. When there is a will, probate court involvement is still required and a probate attorney must be hired. With a trust, trust administration is easier and less expensive and does not require probate court involvement.

HOW CAN I CREATE A TRUST?

The first step to creating a trust is to hire an estate planning attorney. A good estate planning attorney can bring out the clients wishes and create documents that match those wishes. At Ally Glaser, PA, I not only create legal documents, but I also encourage the clients to write letters to their loved ones and create the way they want to be remembered. This is important and gives a personal touch to the estate plan. During this process, financial and health care decisions can be discussed and handled with care, giving the client peace of mind.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR WILLS, TRUST, ESTATE PLANNING AND MIAMI PROBATE MATTERS?

As a Miami Beach, Florida, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probate Attorney, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with care. I am familiar and comfortable with the Miami-Dade County probate court system and know how to get things done. Call or email me today to discuss your Estate Planning, Wills, Trust, or Miami-Dade County probate matter.

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ESTATE PLANNING IS MORE THAN THE DOCUMENTS

ESTATE PLANNING IS NOT ALL ABOUT THE DOCUMENTS

Estate planning allows you to state your wishes regarding your assets, your personal items, and your burial/cremation service. For example, you may prefer a mausoleum, a ground burial or a cremation. I went to a memorial service this past weekend and it was a happy, celebration of life lost to cancer way too soon. The burial in the mausoleum was family only and took place a few days before the funeral service. At the service, his favorite songs were played on a guitar and a video played happy times and memories of him living life to its fullest. At the family home after the service, his favorite music, drinks, and food were shared by all who loved him. What a nice way to celebrate a great life!

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WILL AND A TRUST?

 A will states burial/cremation information, mentions a list of personal items, and states who gets what in the case of death. For example, MJ wishes to leave all of her assets equally to her three grown and responsible adult children.  She can do this in a will and probate court will probably be required. Probate must be properly handled by a Miami probate attorney, takes usually a minimum of six months, and is a court process where a Judge is appointed and then decides how the assets are sold and handled.

A trust  is a private document that allows the family to hold, rent, or sell the real estate assets and hold or liquidate accounts based on the grantor’s wishes. Business ownership may also be placed in the trust. These assets may be left to minor children with instructions for a trustee to maintain the trust until those children are old enough to manage or may be given outright if loved ones are over 18 and responsible. For example, MJ wishes to leave her assets to her three minor children for health, maintenance, and welfare while they are young. The trust can also state that the children receive the money and assets half at the age of twenty-five and half at the age of thirty-five, for example; allowing them two opportunities to inherit. The business and real estate rentals can all be managed and kept within the trust entity for safekeeping until the children reach these chosen ages.

A trust is also protective in the case of incapacity, where the assets can be held and managed by the successor trustee and the need for a guardianship is avoided.

A trust is different than a will because ownership can be held by a trust. For example, one trust can own many real estate properties even if they are in different states, a business, bank accounts, and investment accounts. A will cannot own property and if MJ, for example, dies with real estate, bank accounts, or businesses in her name alone, then probate court will definitely be required to pass on or transfer these items to her loved ones. Thus, a trust is usually recommended for people with assets and loved ones.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR WILLS, TRUST, ESTATE PLANNING AND MIAMI PROBATE MATTERS?

As a Miami Beach, Florida, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probate Attorney, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with care. I am familiar and comfortable with the Miami-Dade County probate court system and know how to get things done. Call or email me today to discuss your Estate Planning, Wills, Trust, or Miami-Dade County probate matter.

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PROBATE IN MIAMI -DADE COUNTY-HOW DOES IT WORK?

PROBATE IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY-HOW DOES IT WORK?

Do you need one probate here or probate everywhere? What if the person died with real estate in Miami-Dade County and in his or her own name in different states or countries? Do you need a probate for property in different states? An attorney must be hired to begin a probate case when the person dies with assets in their own name; this can be done just in Miami-Dade County or in many states and countries.

HOW MANY PROBATE CASES DO I NEED TO DO?

Probates are needed in each state or country with assets. There is no limit as to how many probate cases you may need an attorney to initiate. The first one begins where the person lived (their place of residence) and then the others are considered ancillary probates. For example, I once had a probate in England, the Isle of Mann, and the US with real estate, bank accounts, and investments owned by the deceased person in all three countries.

WHY DO PEOPLE DIE WITH ASSETS IN THEIR NAME ALONE ? HOW CAN PROBATE COURT INVOLVEMENT BE PREVENTED?

People die with assets and real estate in their own name because they never planned to die. We all know we will die one day, but the conversation is sometimes difficult to have. For example, when a parent is aging, or an elderly aunt or uncle, a conversation needs to happen discussing the need for planning. A will, heath care documents including a living will, a power of attorney, and a revocable trust can be created. If a revocable trust is properly funded (assets are renamed and now owned by the trust- a relatively simple process with many benefits), probate court may not be required.

ARE THERE ANY SITUATIONS WHERE YOU MIGHT LEAVE AN ASSET OUTSIDE OF TRUST? CAN PROBATE STILL BE PREVENTED WITHOUT A REVOCABLE TRUST?

A person might leave an asset outside of trust when they want it to go to the intended beneficiary directly. For example, a client put his home in trust, but left the retirement and bank account directly to his nephew. Sometimes an IRA or retirement account will be left directly to a paid upon death beneficiary to save on taxes and allow for more flexibility regarding distributions. When this is done, I recommend placing alternate beneficiaries on these accounts to safeguard the monies be handled outside of probate. The only drawback is if they forget to put the beneficiaries name, probate court is unavoidable.

IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY FOR ME TO GET MY RELATIVES ASSETS?

Unless a paid on death beneficiary is named (for example, Joe Jones leaves his bank account paid on death to his niece, Jenny) or an asset is jointly owned (Joe Jones and Jenny, joint tenants with rights of survivorship), probate must be done. If not, in time the asset will go into the unclaimed property division in the state of Florida.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA TO HANDLE YOUR PROBATE MATTERS?

As a Miami Beach, Florida, Estate Planning and Probate Attorney, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with care. I am familiar and comfortable with the Miami-Dade County probate court system and know how to get things done. Call or email me today to discuss your Miami-Dade County probate matter.

 

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ESTATE PLANNING-TO TRUST OR NOT TO TRUST?

 ESTATE PLANNING -TO TRUST OR NOT TO TRUST?

Do you need a trust? Can a trust help you? This is a very good question as each person’s situation is different. Trusts are great for people with small children, limiting access to money, preventing guardianships for the parent and children, and offering certain protections.

 

WHEN IS A TRUST A MUST?

A trust is a must when there are minor children involved. Minor children are those under 18 years of age. In the case of a single or divorced parent, a trust can protect the minor children from inheriting too much too soon and avoiding guardianships for both the parent and children. For example, if a single parent owns her home in Miami Beach, Florida, she can hire an attorney in Miami Beach, Florida to create an estate plan which would include health care documents, a power of attorney, and a revocable trust and will. She may transfer the house and all of her other assets into a revocable trust. The homestead exemption is still valid and the minor children are now protected.

 

WHAT OTHER ASSETS CAN BE PLACED INTO A REVOCABLE TRUST?

Shares of a business, bank accounts, investment accounts, and investment real estate may also be put into a revocable trust. Trusts are great for people with small children, limiting access to money, and offering certain protections. One of my clients wanted to protect his grown daughters from future spouses and possible future divorces and thus placed the monies in trust for their benefit until age 65. Their health, maintenance, and welfare will be taken care of completely but the monies will remain in a protective trust until they turn 65.

 

ARE THERE ANY SITUATIONS WHERE YOU MIGHT LEAVE AN ASSET OUTSIDE OF TRUST?

A person might leave an asset outside of trust when they want it to go to the intended beneficiary directly. For example, a client put her home in her trust, but left the retirement and bank account directly to her only brother. Sometimes an IRA or retirement account will be left directly to a paid upon death beneficiary to save on taxes and allow for more flexibility regarding distributions. When this is done, I recommend placing alternate beneficiaries on these accounts to safeguard the monies be handled outside of probate.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA?

As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients matters with the proper care and attention to detail. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan, trust administration, or probate matter.

 

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ESTATE PLANNING AND REAL ESTATE

 ESTATE PLANNING AND REAL ESTATE

Estate planning is important when you own real estate. How should title be held? Who should be the owner? How can this real estate pass to my loved ones upon my death without the need for probate?

HOW DO WE DO ESTATE PLANNING FOR REAL ESTATE?

The first step to estate planning with real estate is to look at the current owner and the goals of that owner. For example, a client came to me for estate planning and sadly her house had been placed in a life estate with no protective language for her to sell or change her mind.  A life estate must be coupled with an unrestricted power to convey during Grantor’s lifetime. This allows that Grantor (the giver) to sell, mortgage, lease, collect the sale proceeds, and do as they wish until their death. Upon their death, the person left the remainder now owns the real estate, and probate may be successfully avoided.

WHAT ARE OTHER ESTATE PLANNING OPTIONS FOR REAL ESTATE ? SHOULD WE USE A REVOCABLE TRUST?

When one person owns real estate in their own name, they can do a revocable trust and move that property into the trust, thus avoiding probate and safe guarding their wishes. This is more effective than a life estate because whereas a life estate names one person or two and they could also pass away, a trust can create a few options, thus, protecting the creator/grantor/trustee from both probate and guardianship at the same time. Also, in the case of a trust, the property could be held for the benefit of minors for safe keeping until they turn a specified age as stated in the revocable trust.

WHAT ABOUT HOMESTEAD EXEMPT REAL ESTATE?

Real estate with the Florida homestead exemption may also be placed in a revocable trust and can continue to benefit from the homestead exemptions by using proper language on the trust and deed. In Miami-Dade County, these deductions can be confirmed by checking your tax bill and even researching your property on miamidade.gov by doing a property search. For Broward county, you may search your property on bcpa.net.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA?

As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients matters with the proper care and attention to detail. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan, trust administration, or probate matter.

 

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ESTATE PLANNING FOR SECOND MARRIAGES

 ESTATE PLANNING AND SECOND MARRIAGES

Estate planning for second marriages can be complicated especially when we add separate kids and assets to the equation. So how do we do this in the most protective, compassionate way for everyone?

 

HOW DO WE DO ESTATE PLANNING FOR SECOND MARRIAGES?

The first step to planning with second marriages, with separate kids and assets, is to have a meeting with the couple and find out their goals for estate planning. For example, I have a couple on their second marriage and one has kids and much more money than the other spouse. They will benefit greatly from the unlimited spousal exemption tax law, but giving the money or assets outright  to a spouse will prevent the ability to plan for the other’s heirs.

 

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS IN SECOND MARRIAGES?

There are many different ways to create estate planning for second marriages. One way is to leave everything to the other spouse. Another strategy is to leave everything in trust for the kids or grandkids and allow the trust to be used for the spouse’s benefit during life for health, maintenance, comfort, etc. Finally, a combination of outright gifts and trusts can also be created depending upon the desired outcome.

WHAT ABOUT COUPLES WHO LIVE TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS BUT ARE NOT MARRIED?

Couples that live together for many years and have assets and kids together or separately will also benefit from estate planning. Florida does not honor common law marriages and thus, regardless of the time spent living together, the relationship will not be treated the same as a marriage. Estate planning documents can provide these protections that the laws in Florida are missing.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA?

As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients matters with the proper care and attention to detail. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan, trust administration, or probate matter.

 

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ESTATE PLANNING FOR MINORS- WHY DO YOU NEED IT?

ESTATE PLANNING-WHY DO YOU NEED IT?

Today I received a troubling phone call and was inspired to share it so that maybe other situations like this can be prevented. A young woman in her twenties called and said her mother and grandmother had died when she was very young and left her money, but that the designated person in the will and trust did not give her the money. She now wants to go to law school and wishes she had the money to do so. As a probate, trust, and estate planning attorney, I get many calls relating to planning and probates and trusts. Some of these calls are troubling as the situation could have been prevented with proper estate planning.

HOW CAN WE PROVIDE FOR MINOR CHILDREN?

Whether the minor children are your own or children that are close to you, they need to be protected. Proper estate planning could have sent the granddaughter to law school and more. The mother and grandmother could have hired an attorney who created revocable trusts with special restrictions due to the minors age. With proper estate planning, the grandmother could have controlled and used the assets during life for granddaughter’s benefit. Upon the grandmother’s death, the remaining monies could have remained in trust until the granddaughter reached the age of 21 or more while a responsible successor trustee carried through the mother’s original wishes. When there are no good successor trustee possibilities, a bank or financial institution can be appointed to watch over these monies. A CPA or financial planner may also be appointed, as their licenses hold them to a higher standard, making them a better choice.

WHAT KIND OF RESTRICTIONS CAN BE PUT INTO A REVOCABLE TRUST?

There are many restrictions that can be put into revocable trusts. Many of my clients have individualized requests for restrictions and specific needs; for example, a child who is now an adult and bipolar may have a trust for life where an alcoholic may obtain a portion of the assets upon proof of sobriety. Another example, is a client couple with adult children who overspend; specific language may be placed into these trusts where they can have the money in stipends for health, daily living, education, etc., while the trust corpus remains invested and grows throughout their lifetime.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TRUSTEE FOR YOUR TRUST?

When creating a trust, my clients and I spend time discussing the right choice for their trustee and detailing what happens after they pass away. Choosing the right trustee for you is paramount to estate planning. Creating a revocable trust specific to your situation is necessary to properly protect your loved ones. As you can see from the example above, the daughter/granddaughter would have money today to attend law school had proper planning been done.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE ALLY GLASER, PA?

As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients matters with the proper care and attention to detail. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan, trust administration, or probate matter.

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ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUSTS- HOW CAN I PREVENT PROBATE COURT INVOLVEMENT?

ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUSTS-HOW CAN I PREVENT PROBATE COURT INVOLVEMENT?

As a probate, trust, and estate planning attorney, I get many calls relating to these matters. Some of them are troubling as the situation could have been prevented with proper estate planning. For example, a mother called me to ask if I could do a probate for the family. Her son had died and left no will and a house that the mother was living in and bank account. The mother had paid for the house and put it in the son’s name. He was in the process of getting divorced, but was not yet legally divorced. As there was no will or trust and no children, the Florida probate statute for intestacy controls this matter and the soon to be x-wife will most likely get the house.

ESTATE PLANNING-HOW COULD THIS SITUATION BEEN PREVENTED?

Proper estate planning could have prevented this situation. The decedent’s mom could have bought the house and placed it in her trust to go to her son in the case of her death. By putting the house in her son’s name, it becomes a questionable asset now for the impending divorce and certainly upon her son’s death.

ESTATE PLANNING-WHAT ARE THE FABULOUS FIVE?

1) A Revocable Trust- A trust prevents probate and guardianship court proceedings if done properly. A trust allows you to state at what ages your kids or loved ones can inherit. A revocable trust can be changed at any time and is a forever evolving document. Real estate and bank accounts can be placed into the trust and if sold, can be removed from the trust at the time of the sale.

2) A Pour Over Will- This document is similar to a regular will, but is more protective. It goes with a trust and moves assets into trust with probate court approval when something was left out of trust. For example, a newly purchased apartment. This document also states burial or cremation wishes and related matters.

3) Power of Attorney- This is used in the case of incapacity and can either be limited or general.

4) Health Care Surrogate-This document states who makes health care decisions for you if you are unable. This is very important as we want to prevent the Terry Shiavo case situation. Terry was on life support for many years while her husband and parents fought in a court battle.

5) Heath Care Directive-This document allows for the person to state their health care preferences while they are capable and healthy.

WHAT ARE OTHER ESTATE PLANNING TOOLS?

There are many other estate planning tools. There are irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, and tax saving vehicles. These are an investment in time and money to create and are only needed in certain circumstances.

WHY SHOULD I USE ALLY GLASER, PA?

As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients with the care they deserve. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan or probate matter.