We offer one of Florida’s largest trusts and estates practices. Our estate planning and administration attorneys provide counsel to generations of families seeking to take advantage of Florida’s favorable taxes, many of whom have multiple residences in other states or countries and a number of whom are corporate executives who have relocated their national or international headquarters to the region. We are regularly engaged to provide the legal framework to address sophisticated estate, tax, retirement, and business succession planning goals, as part of the transition of our clients’ estates and businesses to future beneficiaries and owners, including lifetime and postmortem planning. When necessary, our attorneys represent clients, or their fiduciaries, in litigated estate and trust administration proceedings and in tax controversies involving estate and gift tax matters.
We work closely with each family and its advisors in a holistic fashion to envision, then employ, a strategy that unites current and future goals. We also have substantial experience working with family offices and a long history of coordinating with non-Florida lawyers and handling the Florida-specific portions of client representations. Your attorney will focus on you, your estate, and your vision. Practical, technical, and up-to-date advice, specific to your situation, always guides our counsel.
In Florida, when creating a will, a personal representative will be named to manage or settle an estate. In some states, this role is called an executor. When creating a trust, a trustee is named to manage the trust. Both a personal representative and a trustee are considered a fiduciary–a person who maintains a relationship of trust with one or more parties and is held to the highest standard under Florida law. A fiduciary has many responsibilities, including a legal obligation to act in a trustworthy and honest manner on behalf of, and in the best interest of, the party or parties represented, setting aside any personal motivations. Fiduciaries can include family members, attorneys, professional advisors, trust companies, banks, investment managers, guardians, or anyone trusted with such responsibility.
Our fiduciary services team supports both clients serving as fiduciaries and firm attorneys serving in the role of fiduciary on behalf of clients. We work with fiduciaries, in coordination with their team of CPAs, financial advisors, and investment managers, to ensure the fiduciary understands and has the tools to fulfill the obligations of the role. Our services include legal, tax and accounting, and estate and trust administration.
Our legal services in this area include advising fiduciaries as to responsibilities during estate settlement, trust settlement, and ongoing trust administration; preparing estate and trust administration documents including, but not limited to, required notices, receipts, and releases; preparing plans of distribution; and reforming trusts.
TAX & ACCOUNTING
Our tax and accounting services include preparing, filing, and reviewing estate, gift, and certain fiduciary income tax returns; analyzing generation-skipping transfer-tax status of trusts; and preparing periodic and final accountings for estates and trusts.
Our fiduciary administration services include taking custody of certain assets, arranging for security and insurance of assets, arranging for sale or other disposition of assets, overseeing the selection of investment managers and placement of financial assets, and assisting with referrals to accounting firms for ongoing tax compliance needs.