At the Law Offices of Dennis Phillips our primary services are Estate Planning and Wealth Counseling for families of all ages, but especially for Retirees. Many of our Retirees moved to Florida from other states, and they have no family members nearby to support them. That's why we try to find related services and advisors to help our clients with their non-legal needs. For example, we refer Retirees to A Place For Mom for help finding senior housing, assisted living, memory care, and related services. We also refer to SeniorAdvisor.com for help with locating senior living areas and to find other professionals who assist with issues affecting seniors. For those who are sick or injured, we refer to Levin Home Care for home health care and to Advocare Care Advocates for care management. For more broad information, we refer Retirees to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
What do we mean by Estate Planning and Wealth Counseling? Quite a bit. If you are new to our site, then please take a few moments to walk through the tutorial that we call the "Dirty Dozen" Estate Planning issues that many people miss because people don't know what they don't know. The tutorial and the information below are meant to open your eyes to the issues that you can actually plan for. Enjoy, then call us to ask about our special low monthly payment option.
We plan for disability, incapacity, transfer of personal assets, business succession, probate and probate avoidance, funeral wishes, passing on your Legacy, income taxes, insurance, estate and gift taxes, unintended heirs, pension rescue, stretch IRAs, asset protection for beneficiaries, generation skipping transfer tax, charitable gifting, asset protection for professionals, community property, creating business structures, deferred compensation agreements, bonus and golden handcuff planning, incentive planning for heirs, and generally everything to give you peace of mind knowing that you have a backup plan in place and that everything will be alright.
Our Planning Process helps you to maintain control of your assets and affairs while you are alive and well, provide for yourself and your loved ones (including dependents and pets) if you become incapacitated, and pass on what you want, to whom you want, the way you want when you die. All the while we protect your heirs' inheritances from predators, creditors, unnecessary taxes and probate expenses, and from their own personal demons (addictions, lack of investment savvy, divorce, etc.).
You've probably never considered what you or your family would do if the family breadwinner became incapacitated. This is a big issue that sets our Plans apart from the norm. We usually recommend that our clients establish a Disability Panel made up of the people closest to them, and who know them best. The Disability Panel's main function is to keep an eye on you, to watch for signs of mental instability, and to put your disability/incapacity plan in motion, if it ever becomes necessary. The disability/incapacity plan includes liaising with your doctors, taking part in your health care decisions, managing your finances (we recommend including your financial advisor on the Disability Panel because their whole job revolves around your financial well-being), and providing for your dependents and pets.
Similar to leaving a list of instructions with your babysitter when you went out for the evening, we encourage our clients to create their own Babysitter Instructions for their Disability Panel, trustees, attorneys-in-fact under their durable power of attorney, nursing staff, and home health aids that lays out how they prefer to be treated: preferred TV shows, recreational activities, places to go, clothes to wear, meals, snacks, etc. You can tailor it to your unique lifestyle. The alternative to your Disability Panel, care team, and Babysitter Instructions is the Guardianship Court appointing a guardian who doesn't necessarily know you or your likes, doesn't know who depends on you or how, doesn't know what brand of food your pets eat or when, and doesn't know where you like to be, what you like to do, what you like to eat, etc. The most jarring visual image to illustrate this point is your guardian sticking you in a corner and feeding you enough to keep you alive. You have choices; and we encourage you to make those choices known.
Now, when you first come in to see us, you will have a better understanding of what to expect from our initial meeting. I'll bet you are already having new ideas popping into your head as you view the tutorial and read this website. We want you to understand that every family's Plan is unique and that you have vastly more choices available to you than "hey, can you do a Will for me?"
In designing the right Plan for you and your family, we can employ many documents and structures as tools. We use wills, revocable living trusts, designation of health care surrogate, living will, durable power of attorney, declaration of homestead, buy-sell agreements, employee purchase agreement, 83(b) elections, top-hat nonqualified deferred compensation plan, stay bonus incentive agreements, charitable remainder trust, charitable lead trust, private foundation (corporate and trust), family limited partnership, FLP management trust, gift and sale plans, self-canceling installment notes, private annuity, promissory note, irrevocable life insurance trust, inheritor's trust, legacy trust, incentive trust, BERT trust, intentionally defective grantor trust, QPRT, QDOT, QTIP, LLC, operating agreement, funding and transfer agreement, domestic asset protection trust (DAPT), professional and physician's practice buy-in agreements, equipment lease, employment agreement, premise lease agreement, transmutation agreement, pension rescue plan, retirement trust, stretch IRA, accumulation trust, conduit trust, beneficiary designations for IRA or qualified plan, grantor retained trust, special needs trust, and Alaska community property trust for double step up in basis for capital assets.
Call us, email us, or fill in your information on this website to request an appointment. We will meet you in our office, in your home, in the hospital or nursing home, at the coffee shop, at your CPA's office, at your financial advisor's office, or anywhere you want to meet. These are serious decisions that you are making; so we want to make it easy for you to make them. Plus, we want your whole family involved, as well as your financial advisors and doctors. Your Plan is at its most efficient when all of your oars are rowing in the same direction; so we want everyone affected to take part. Since your Plan will actually spill into your childrens' lives and become the beginnings of their own Estate Plans, we want them involved to see how this all works from the inside so that they can apply the same concepts with their own families and doctors and advisors. This is a family affair; and we are always honored when we are invited to contribute in such an intimate way. We thank you and we look forward to meeting with you and your family.