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Estate Planning, Wills, and Trusts

Wills, Trusts and Estates Attorney; Elder Law Attorney; Probate and Estate Planning Attorney serving Miami Dade and Broward County

Barbara Buxton, Esquire is an Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney in Miami Dade and Broward County who is dedicated to assisting individuals, families, business owners and the elderly in creating estate and asset protection plans to suite their needs and the needs of their family.

At the Law Offices of Barbara Buxton, P.A., we know that you have worked hard to accumulate personal wealth and build a successful career or business. Now that you have an estate to pass to your family, you may not be sure of the best way to pass your assets, business, and personal property to your loved ones and/or charities. Estate Planning and Trusts Attorney Barbara Buxton has a Master of Laws in Estate Planning degree (LL.M.) and the requisite experience in simple and complex estate planning to help you make the right decisions.

We provide a full range of estate planning services to accomplish our clients’ wishes and to minimize tax consequences. To that end, we make recommendations based on a comprehensive review of an individual’s assets and general situation, and the personal goals of our client. We analyze your estate and guide you through the information gathering, planning and strategy development process to provide you with the most effective means of achieving those goals. The appropriate documents may include:

  • Simple and Complex Will Creation: A will declares who shall inherit an individual’s assets (the beneficiaries) and who shall be responsible for distributing them to such beneficiaries (the personal representative). For young parents and couples, a will can also be used to appoint a guardian for their minor children and a trustee to manage the children’s money until they are old enough to handle it themselves. A Will only becomes effective upon your death, and after it is admitted to probate.

    Pour-Over Will: A Will used in conjunction with a Revocable Living Trust to dispose of any property titled in the decedent’s name alone at the time of death which was not transferred to the Trust. The Pour-Over Will also revokes all prior wills, but unlike traditional wills it does not contain detailed dispositive provisions; rather it directs distribution of all individually owned property to the Trustee of his or her Trust. The Trust instrument contains detailed instructions relating to the distribution of the property. Like all Wills, a Pour-Over Will must be admitted to probate to be effective.

  • Establishment of Trusts, such as:

    A-B Trusts: The two “sub-trusts” created when a person dies, the “A” Trust, often referred to as the “Marital Trust”, will be maintained for the benefit of the surviving spouse. The “B” Trust will contain assets of a value equal to the deceased spouse’s remaining estate tax exclusion amount. The B-Trust, also referred to as the “By-Pass Trust”, “Credit Shelter Trust” or “Family Trust”, will also be held for the benefit of the surviving spouse during his or her lifetime, but upon the death of the surviving spouse, the trust assets will pass to the children (or other beneficiaries) without any additional estate tax, irrespective of the value of the B-Trust at that point.

    Revocable Living Trust: A trust established by an individual or a married couple that becomes effective immediately upon establishment while the Trustor (also referred to as Settlor or Grantor) is still alive (thus “Living”), remains revocable and amendable during the lifetime of the Trustor (thus “Revocable”), and is used to avoid probate; facililtate some tax planning; provide for management during periods of incapacity without need for a guardianship or conservatorship; address family circumstances; and provide for ultimate distribution of the estate.

    Irrevocable Trust: A trust that cannot be revoked, modified or amended once it has been established. Irrevocable trusts are often used in tax planning to get property “out” of an individual’s estate so that it will not be subject to estate tax upon his or her death.

    Charitable Trust: A Trust created for the purpose of performing charity or providing social benefits, and achieve income and estate tax savings for the person who created the trust. Unlike most trusts, a charitable trust does not require definite beneficiaries and may exist in perpetuity.

    Crummey Trust: An irrevocable trust established to qualify contributions for the annual federal gift tax exclusion (currently $11,000) for gifts of a present interest. So-called because the trust contains “Crummey Powers,” enabling a beneficiary to withdraw assets contributed to the trust for a limited period of time.

    Gift Trust: An Irrevocable Trust established to act as the repository of gifts to its beneficiaries, drafted such that the gifts to the trust will be excluded from the donor’s taxable estate at death.

    Insurance Trust: An irrevocable trust established to own life insurance on a person, so designed to exclude the proceeds of the policy – the death benefit – from the insured person’s taxable estate at death.

    Qualified Personal Interest Trust (QPRT): An IrrevocableTrust established to hold title to one’s residence. The owner transfers ownership of the house to the trust, retaining the right to reside in the home for a period of years.

    Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT): A marital trust used for the benefit of a non-U.S. citizen spouse containing special provisions specified by the Internal Revenue Code such that transfers to the QDOT qualify for the estate tax marital deduction.

    Special Needs Trust/Supplemental Needs Trust: A trust established for a disabled person to provide supplemental support without disqualifying the beneficiary from eligibility for governmental assistance programs. They may be created with the proceeds from a judgment or settlement or by a loved one with concerns for a disabled beneficiary.

    Spendthrift Trust: A trust that is created for a beneficiary who is paid income therefrom and that cannot be reached by creditors to satisfy the beneficiary’s debts.

  • Durable Power of Attorney: A legal instrument whereby one appoints and empowers another person as agent to deal with one’s property and personal and legal affairs. It remains effective even after the maker becomes incapacitated. Florida law authorizes both immediate and springing durable powers of attorney.
  • Health Care Surrogates and Living Wills: A document appointing a health care surrogate and giving instructions to health care providers about the person’s wishes during the final stages of an illness, generally instructing providers not to interfere with the process of dying by using machines or other heroic measures to delay the natural course of a terminal illness.
  • Structure of Family Limited Partnerships: To own and manage your property, in a similar manner to a Trust, but allowing additional tax planning techniques to be employed. Family Limited Partnerships are generally used for those who have large estates and who face potentially heavy federal and state taxes, death, and inheritance taxes.
  • Deeds
  • Charitable Planning and private foundations
  • Gift and Estate Tax Review

For clients interested in maintaining management and control of their estate, while at the same time avoiding probate, protecting family members, ensuring their financial privacy, and obtaining peace of mind, we offer basic estate plans which include, revocable living trusts, pour-over wills, powers of attorney for property management, health care surrogates and living wills, special needs trusts, children’s trusts, and community property agreements. We will also assist you with funding your revocable trust to ensure that your estate plan is effective.

In addition, we advise clients on all aspects of federal and state gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxation, and assist clients with gifting and custom-design programs for the transfer and protection of assets. We will help you create an estate plan that minimizes or eliminates your federal and state tax liability.

Our firm provides for continuing legal education to assure that our clients are offered the most updated legal advice. While each situation is different, an attorney who regularly practices in the field of wills, trusts, probate and estate planning is able to provide you with sound legal advice as you put your estate plan into place.

If you need an Estate Planning Attorney or Wills and Trusts Attorney in Aventura, North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, Miami, Miami Shores, Miami Lakes or any city in Miami Dade, please call our office today at 305-932-2293 in Miami-Dade Count. If you need a Wills and Trusts Lawyer or Estate Planning Attorney in Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs or elsewhere in Broward County, please call 954-760-7077 if you would like to create an estate plan. We look forward to assisting you with your estate planning needs.

Our law firm is conveniently located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, in Aventura, Florida, on Biscayne Boulevard between the Hallandale Beach Boulevard exit and the Ives Dairy Road exit off of I-95. Other South Florida office locations are available.  Home, telephone and hospital appointments are available upon request.