Orlando Estate Planning & Probate Lawyers
Real People Doing Business for Real Life
Estate planning is something every individual and every family should engage in – sooner rather than later – to protect the people they love and ensure they are adequately cared for no matter what life may bring. Orlando estate planning & probate lawyer John Gierach has 43 years of experience helping people get the estate plan that is right for them. At Gierach and Gierach, P.A., you will find a dedicated team of skilled, experienced and knowledgeable lawyers and staff who truly love what they do, which is meeting new people and making sure they are protected financially with the right set of legal documents and financial instruments. We take the time to get to know you, so we can advise you, assist you and serve you best. Call our office for a free consultation, and experience for yourself the personal touch our office brings to your Florida estate planning and probate needs.
Estate Planning Services that are Right for You
We take a comprehensive approach to estate planning to make sure you and your family have all your needs met no matter what may occur. We take the time to sit down with you and understand your needs for the present, your desires for the future, and your wishes for your family after you are gone. We draft the right combination of wills and testamentary trusts to ensure your entire estate is considered and distributed according to your wishes. Further, we address your needs for a living will, power of attorney, healthcare proxy and other advance directives to make sure decisions regarding your financial and legal affairs and healthcare are made in line with your desires in the event you are incapacitated, even temporarily, and cannot make these decisions on your own.
Our full-service estate planning lawyers go further and address important aspects of estate planning such as asset protection planning and gift and estate tax planning to help ensure as much of your estate as possible is around for you and future generations to enjoy.
Wills & Probate
Wills are critical documents that detail your wishes in how your assets must be distributed upon your death. Wills must include all assets and property or may be deemed invalid. If one passes on without a legally valid will in place, he or she is said to have died intestate, and the Florida courts decide how to distribute the estate. To ensure that your loved ones are protected in the way you deem appropriate, we create a legally sound will to stand the test of probate.
When you have lost a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is paperwork and legalities. Our Orlando wills lawyer helps you through the technicalities and court requirements so you can focus on recovering from your personal loss.
Our law firm’s location in central Florida makes us ideally suited for those whose decedents resided in Florida while they do not. In these cases, the decedent’s family may be unable to attend the court appearances and legal meetings necessary to move a will through the probate process. At Gierach and Gierach, P.A., we understand that you may not be available, so we assume control of the probate process, keeping you informed on all developments and on any next steps.
Powers of attorney and health care surrogates (living wills)
There may come times when loved ones are unable to make informed decisions regarding their own health care and finances. Fortunately there are several options to facilitate careful management of health and assets.
Powers of attorney are documents which empowers a party to make decisions on the part of another, the principal. These decisions can, depending on the language within the document, include the authority to engage in:
- Specific financial transactions
- Full financial control
- Health care decisions
- Contract signing
Health care surrogates are competent adults chosen to make health care decisions on the part of a potentially incapacitated party according to particular documents commonly known as advance health care directives or living wills. These documents instruct a particular course of medical action to be taken in the onset of a terminal health condition regarding sustaining life under numerous circumstances.
Powers of attorney and health care surrogates provide a pre-planned alternative to the much more restrictive option of guardianships. A guardianship is a powerful and sometimes necessary tool in which a person is legally deemed incapable or unavailable to properly manage his or her affairs. This often involves children, the elderly and individuals with special needs.
The law firm of Gierach and Gierach, P.A. can examine your situation and determine which advance directive or combination of directives is best for your particular circumstance.
Efficient and Effective Orlando Probate Lawyers
From thoughtful estate planning to avoid or minimize probate, to probating a will, contesting a will or handling probate litigation, our Florida probate and estate administration practice can help give effect to the terms of a will or trust or resolve any probate dispute. Our firm’s proficiency includes real estate probate matters and handling estates without a will. We also represent trustees and fiduciaries as well as estate executors and administrators in all the myriad tasks they must accomplish in a Florida probate or estate administration.
Florida Estate Planning FAQs
Estate planning at its best protects your family and your legacy by passing control of your affairs and assets to people you trust to manage them properly. At Gierach and Gierach, P.A., we understand you may have questions about estate planning, so we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive and provided answers. For more information, please contact us. With a solid estate plan in place, you and your family can enjoy peace of mind and get on with the business of living.
Speak to an experienced estate planning attorney
An estate planning attorney at our firm is glad to assist you with any aspect of estate planning in Winter Park, Orlando, and throughout Orange County. Call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-598-8013, or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation. We also assist people from other states needing legal assistance in Florida.
Do I need a will?
Without a last will and testament, you are relinquishing control over how your assets will be distributed and giving that power to the state of Florida. A will is a legal document providing a set of instructions to the court regarding how your real property and personal property should be distributed. A valid will, thoughtfully prepared by you with the advice of wise counsel, minimizes family conflict over your estate because the will clearly states your wishes.
Do I need an attorney to write my will?
The laws relating to estate planning and wills are complex. Florida, like every other state, has its own set of rules on how a will should be drafted and signed. If a will is not written correctly and executed properly, it may not be admitted to probate. An experienced attorney from Gierach and Gierach, P.A. can help you draft a valid will that truly expresses your wishes and satisfies all formation requirements.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of the administration of your estate after your death. A will must be submitted to probate court to be executed upon the testator’s death. A probate judge examines the will for flaws and decides whether or not it satisfies the requirements of a proper last will and testament under Florida law.
How do I avoid probate?
The best way to avoid probate is to create a living trust during your lifetime. A trust is a legal structure whereby you appoint a person or team of people to manage assets that are transferred to the trust. A trust involves three parties: the settlor, trustee and beneficiary. The settlor is the creator of the trust. The trustee is the person designated by the settlor to manage the assets placed within the trust. The beneficiary is the person or class of people designated to benefit from the assets placed in the trust. Our Orlando probate lawyers can determine if your estate can be efficiently structured in such a way to completely avoid probate.
What is the role of a personal representative in probate?
The personal representative is designated in the will of the decedent or appointed by the probate court and has a fiduciary responsibility to the court, creditors and beneficiaries of an estate. The personal representative’s duties include accounting for and protecting all assets (including household furnishings, jewelry and tangible property, as well as real estate, stocks, bonds and money), paying off any of the estate’s creditors and distributing whatever remains to the decedent’s heirs. If the decedent did not leave a last will and testament directing the distribution of the decedent’s property, the court directs the personal representative in distributing the decedent’s assets.
What about estate taxes?
Florida does not impose an estate tax, a tax paid by the estate, or an inheritance tax, a tax paid by a recipient of a gift from an estate. Although there is no Florida estate tax, if the estate’s value is more than the exempt amount established by the U.S. Congress, the estate will owe federal estate tax.
Board-Certified Specialist in Florida Workers’ Compensation Defense
Florida workers’ compensation laws offer a means for workers injured on the job to get their medical expenses paid along with cash benefits to replace lost wages while they are unable to work due to a disability. This system works well in most cases, but in some instances workers may try to take advantage of the system by falsely claiming injury or exaggerating their injury, claiming long-term disability when they have improved medically, or trying to get an injury that occurred outside of work covered by workers’ comp. Ultimately, it is the employer who bears the cost of false or exaggerated claims through increased insurance premiums. As a board-certified specialist in Florida worker’s compensation law, attorney John Gierach and his team provide valuable advice and expert representation to employers who suspect improper claims or are unsure how to proceed when presented with a claim. Our Orlando workers’ compensation defense practice will help you understand common types of workers’ compensation claims that are most frequently disputed, as well as your rights as an employer when faced with a controversial claim.
Attorney John Gierach has handled workers compensation defense matters for Florida businesses for 35 years. During this time, Mr. Gierach has been named a specialist in workers compensation law, as the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education has certified him as such. Mr. Gierach defends companies and corporations of all sizes and industries from frivolous workers compensation claims, and has the experience to foresee the possibilities for each individual case. He is honest with you about your chances, and advises clients on the best possible course of action to resolve the claim. He maintains this facet of the firm’s legal practice with a base of satisfied clients who return business to Gierach and Gierach, P.A. whenever a workers compensation matter arises. If your company requires the assistance of an experienced Orlando workers’ compensation defense attorney in central Florida, contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. today.
A Legacy of Experience. A Foundation of Integrity.
With roots stretching back more than 60 years, the law firm of Gierach and Gierach was founded in 1986 by Elroy and John Gierach. Although Elroy has passed on, John continues to honor his father’s legacy and expertise in estate planning and probate by providing advice and representation in Florida estate planning and probate with honesty and integrity. Our Orlando estate planning lawyers and staff, including our legal administrative assistant and paralegals, have each been with us for more than 25 years. Together, we take a team approach to meeting all your needs in a capable, warm and caring environment. Give us a call at 407-598-8013 to schedule a free consultation at our Orlando office. We greatly anticipate getting the chance to meet you and help you with your Orlando estate planning needs.