Miami's Premier Law FirmFocused on Estates, Probate, Trusts, and Guardianship Law
Chepenik Trushin LLP represents clients in estate planning matters including wills and trusts, probate, trust, and guardianship administration and litigation, and business planning. Our firm also handles commercial and business litigation, professional disciplinary action defense, and insurance defense. Selecting a Miami estate planning lawyer is an incredibly important decision that can have a major impact on you and your family. Such a decision should not be made without ensuring your legal representation can fulfill your specific needs. Chepenik Trushin LLP would be happy to provide you with additional information and answer any questions you might have.Estate Planning
Thinking about estate planning can be a daunting task. However, a competent estate plan that considers one’s wishes for the short, medium, and long-term, both for themselves and their loved ones, can bring peace of mind to an individual in the event of their death or life-altering disability. A well-crafted estate plan will take into account significant matters including providing for loved ones, lowering the tax burden of an estate, protecting assets from creditors, and other concerns unique to a person’s situation. An individual’s personal life and wishes can change over time, so working with a trustworthy and attentive Miami estate planning attorney is paramount.Probate Administration
Probate administration is a complex legal procedure that oversees the management and distribution of a deceased individual’s assets. Formal probate administration involves the appointment of an executor, which is dependent upon whether the deceased person had a last will and testament. The probate process includes the identification and valuation of assets, the identification and notification of possible heirs and creditors, and the validation of claims against the estate. In addition, federal and state taxes, creditors, and administrative expenses must be paid and assets must be distributed to the estate’s beneficiaries.
Some or all financial, medical, and social affairs of a person deemed incapacitated are handled in a court process called guardianship administration. To initiate a guardianship proceeding, a petition is filed that states the basis for the belief that the person in question is incapacitated. Then, a court-appointed committee is formed to evaluate the person and report their findings back to the court. If the court finds the person incapacitated, and alternatives to guardianship are found to be inadequate, a guardian is appointed. Guardians are often a friend or relative of the incapacitated person, but a professional guardian may be appointed if needed. Guardians have legal rights and responsibilities, so it is important that a person interested in becoming a guardian be represented by an estate planning lawyer in Miami who is experienced with guardianship administration matters.Will Contests
A will contest is a probate proceeding where one party challenges a Last Will and Testament that has been submitted for probate. Will contests can be brought by anyone with a property right in or claim against the testator’s estate, namely, “interested persons.” Reasons for contesting a will often include suspected fraud or financial exploitation. A will, or portion of a will, can be invalidated by the probate court if it determines that the testator (individual who executed the will) was subject to undue influence. Proving undue influence, however, requires more than simply identifying motive and opportunity. Usually, the contester (person contesting a will) must present evidence that a third person’s influence overpowered the free will of the testator such that the Last Will and Testament reflects the wants and desires of the third person rather than those of the testator. Disputes involving a will require a probate litigation attorney with the skill, experience, and understanding needed to build a credible case to best represent their client.Probate Litigation
Litigation in probate court is an effective tool for heirs and other interested parties that suspect estate planning documents have been altered for purposes of transferring money, property, or other assets away from individuals originally designated as recipients. The probate litigation process involves identification and proper valuation of all of the deceased person’s assets, determination and payment of tax liabilities, and, ultimately, the allocation of assets. Probate and estate planning attorneys in Miami find that document changes are often contested for a number of reasons, including the contester’s concern that a person took advantage of the testator’s diminished mental or physical capacities, concerns that changes to the documents in question were done so under duress, and allegations of fraud. Contesters may also take issue with lifetime transfers of property.Trust Litigation
Litigation may become necessary in the event a trustee falls short of their administrative duties or the upholding of fiduciary obligations placed on the trustee by the law or the trust itself. A beneficiary cannot challenge the actions of a trustee for failing to put their interests above all else if in doing so the trustee violates duties it is bound to adhere to under the law. However, a beneficiary can challenge, among other things, the particular terms of a trust or the actions or qualifications of a trustee. A beneficiary can also request changes to various provisions or clarification of possible ambiguities in the trust. Trustees that have allegedly mismanaged assets or engaged in other inappropriate behavior may find themselves party to litigation.Elder Law and Medicaid Planning
For those individuals who do not qualify for long term care insurance or cannot afford the monthly premiums of such plans, other possible options are worth exploring. Advanced planning and asset management can better position a person to qualify for Medicaid for purposes of long-term care in later years. The process of qualifying for Medicaid benefits, while also minimizing asset expenditures and maximizing preservation of wealth for a spouse, child, or other possible beneficiaries, is best handled by working with a Miami estate planning lawyer well-versed in both state and federal law. A skilled estate planning attorney can review the various Medicaid planning options available to an individual and explain how the Medicaid eligibility process works.Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today
We invite you to explore our website or contact us directly to learn more about our firm. We hope to have the opportunity to serve all your estate planning needs. For an initial consultation, please call Chepenik Trushin LLP at (305) 981-8889 or contact us online.