Couzens Lansky is a prominent estate planning law firm with decades of experience assisting individuals and entities with all aspects of gift and estate planning, trust and estate administration, probate, charitable planning and elder law, including related tax planning and litigation. Our lawyers provide estate planning and administration solutions with special sensitivity to client concerns.
Asset Protection Planning
Our lawyers assist clients in preserving their personal, real estate and business assets as part of an overall estate planning strategy. A variety of asset protection planning techniques may be utilized, such as trusts, limited liability companies, family limited partnerships and joint ownership.
We have a rich history of helping our clients support the charitable causes that mean the most to them, resulting in significant tax savings and other advantages to our clients and their charitable causes. We assist our clients in making charitable gifts during their lifetime and upon death, utilizing Wills, trusts, real estate, life insurance, private family foundations and other sophisticated gifting techniques. Our experienced estate planning lawyers also utilize a variety of deferred gifting methods, including charitable gift annuities, pooled income funds, charitable remainder annuity trusts (CRAT), charitable remainder unitrusts (CRUT) and charitable lead trusts (CLT).
Our elder law lawyers provide practical solutions to the unique legal issues facing elderly and disabled clients. In addition to basic and advanced estate planning, our elder law lawyers counsel clients in disability planning, which may include the use of a power of attorney, patient advocate designation and probate court orders in special circumstances. In addition, we have extensive experience in Medicaid planning, helping our clients qualify for this important government benefit when appropriate.
From the most basic estates to the most complex, our estate planning lawyers can guide you through the estate planning process. Our detail-oriented lawyers will assist you in this process to help avoid probate, ensure that your assets are managed and distributed in accordance with your wishes, minimize taxes payable upon death, make any desired charitable or special gifts and maximize opportunities to protect assets. We design, draft and help implement:
- Family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
- Irrevocable trusts, including life insurance trusts, generation skipping trusts, charitable trusts, gifting trusts and special needs trusts
- Medical Powers of Attorney, HIPAA Waivers and Living Will Statements
- Private foundation documentation
- Trust funding documents
- Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Financial Powers of Attorney
We also have the ability to assist Florida residents and property owners with their estate planning needs.
Guardianships & Conservatorships
Our estate planning lawyers counsel clients who are appointed or seek appointment as a guardian or conservator of a minor child’s or incapacitated individual’s affairs. We have the knowledge and experience to successfully represent interested parties in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings in court.
Medicaid & Special Needs Planning
Our elder law lawyers have vast experience assisting clients in qualifying for Medicaid benefits, utilizing careful planning techniques including evaluating investment choices, gifting and specialized trusts. For our clients or their family members that have special needs, our lawyers utilize a variety of techniques to help protect assets, plan for disabled or incapacitated beneficiaries and allow beneficiaries to qualify for SSI, Medicaid and other government benefits.
Our experienced lawyers can analyze ownership of your assets and implement techniques during your lifetime to avoid probating your estate at death. One such technique is the use of a living trust, since assets owned by or payable to a living trust are generally not subject to probate upon the owner’s death. In addition, we also utilize ladybird deeds and beneficiary designations to avoid probate. Careful analysis will be given to assets such as real property, bank accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts and investment accounts to ensure they are properly titled to avoid probate upon death.
Probate, Trust & Fiduciary Litigation
When necessary, our litigation team will diligently handle any estate, probate or trust controversy or litigation on behalf of our clients – whether a trustee, personal representative, family member, beneficiary or another interested person or entity. Such matters include:
- Beneficiary disputes
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Charitable gift disputes
- Claims against an estate or trust
- Creditor claims
- Intestacy and determination of heirs
- Joint property and beneficiary designation challenges
- Misappropriation of assets
- Reformation, modification or termination of a trust
- Spousal rights
- Will and trust construction and contests
Tax Planning Strategies
Our estate planning lawyers have experience utilizing a variety of advanced estate planning techniques to minimize federal gift and estate taxes. These include living trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, annual gifting, family limited partnerships, family limited liability companies, charitable gifting, qualified personal residence trusts and other specialized trusts.
Trust & Estate Administration
Our lawyers assist trustees and personal representatives with all aspects of estate and trust administration for deceased and incapacitated persons, including reviewing legal documents, establishing authority of the personal representatives or the trustees to act on behalf of the estate or trust, analyzing and assisting with distribution and/or re-titling of assets, preparing required accountings and notices to beneficiaries and filing federal estate tax returns and tax elections. If probate is necessary, our lawyers will assist the personal representatives with step-by-step instructions on how to properly administer the deceased’s estate and will handle all of the court filings, inventory of assets, creditor claims, notification of heirs and asset distribution.
Our trusts and estates lawyers assist small business owners and other individuals in preserving and managing their assets utilizing estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, asset protection strategies and business succession planning.