Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I die without an Estate Plan?
An estate plan determines how and to whom your property will pass after you die. An estate plan may consist of a will, a trust, beneficiary designations on insurance and investments account or a combination of these and other devices. Without a legally executed estate plan, state law determines how and to whom your property will pass.
In the state of Florida, if you die without a will or other legal estate plan, your surviving spouse and/or children will inherit your estate. If ALL your children are also your spouse’s children, your spouse inherits everything – UNLESS your spouse has children who were not your children, in which case your spouse inherits only one half of your estate and your children the other half. Or, if you have children with someone other than your surviving spouse, those your children have rights to one half of your estate.
If you had no children and no spouse, the estate would pass to your parents, if alive. If not, to your brothers and sisters or your nieces and nephews. From there you look to aunts, uncles and cousins on both the maternal and paternal sides of your family tree. If no one survives in your family bloodline, then the state will look for the family of a spouse who may have died before you.
Sound confusing? Do you even know the people who may receive your hard earned estate? Does the “state plan” reflect your desired “estate plan”?
Just as important as the “who” of an estate plan is the “how” of the plan.
Even if the state’s plan matches your wishes, the absence of advanced estate planning may delay the ability of your family to access your estate property. Bank accounts and other assets may be frozen until a probate case is opened and a court order issued. Depending on the complexity of the estate issues, the probate process could be quite lengthy and quite costly for your family. In addition, the state’s plan doesn’t take into account the special needs of a disabled spouse or child – resulting in potential loss of government benefits due to the inheritance.
An estate plan can ensure that funds are immediately available for your family, can simplify or avoid probate, can provide for the special needs of family members to avoid the loss of government benefits.
Life is hazardous, and it’s never too early to think about starting the estate planning process. If you care about the ultimate home for your possessions after you pass away, it’s worth taking the time to sit down and distribute your assets properly, with or without outside legal assistance. Just make sure that all your documents are in order so that when the time comes, your loved ones are secure.
Do I really need a Business Attorney?
What is it worth to have an attorney who knows and cares about your business? What is it worth to have an attorney on call to answer your legal questions?
Small business owners often perceive the hiring of an attorney as a necessary evil only when faced with a lawsuit. For day-to-day operations they “wing it” on the legal issues from employment practices to customer relations.
Gayle Owens believes the business owner should not have to rely on a “wing and a prayer.” So Gayle has developed an “In-House” Counsel Plan. Beginning with a comprehensive legal audit, Gayle will assess your business and propose a customized plan of prioritized steps you can take to improve your legal position against the various risks involved in running your business. All plan recommendations will be quoted up front with flat rate fees, so there are no surprises to your budget.
Fully Customized In-House Counsel Plans.
Available Services Include:
- Unlimited telephone/e-mail consultation with attorney on specific legal questions
- Review and assess incident reports
- Review leases, contracts and documents
- Prepare collection letters
- Provide pre-litigation dispute resolution advice
- Provide representation in small claims litigation, plaintiff or defendant
- Draft or revise bylaws or operating agreement
- Draft or revise employee manual revise employment agreements per results of legal audit
- Draft or revise owners’ buy/sell agreement
- Prepare shareholder/directors meeting minutes for corporate requirements
- Prepare memorandum of major decisions for other business structures
- Draft or revise employee manual
- File copyright and trademark registrations
- Provide Registered Agent services
- Prepare and file annual report
- Provide litigation defense support for insured claims
- Provide an in-person semi-annual review with business owner/representative
- Estate planning seminar for employees and owners with reduced fee for individual estate plan packages
The Comprehensive Legal Audit is offered alone or as part of the “In-House” Counsel Legal Plan, and involves an on-site interview with the owner and full review of business documents in following areas:
- Company structure and records
- Government filings
- Employment practices
- Risk assessment and insurance coverage
- Independent contractors
- Real property
- Intellectual property
- Business succession plan
- Buy/sell agreement
Small Business Law
Whether you are starting a business or just looking for someone to read over your latest contract, contact Gayle Owens for assistance today.
Planning for an estate is important and there are many options you need to consider to protect your property and the people you love.
Whether you are facing a simple or a complicated probate, Gayle Owens will bring her years of experience to help you and your loved ones.
Wills & Trusts
Ensure your next in kin doesn’t have added stress by ensuring your Will and Trust is arranged in a manner that will accomplish your goals.
My priority is providing the best representation for my clients with a la carte, flat-fee services. Whether preparing wills or trusts, business contracts, or operating agreements, my clients receive one-on-one service to anticipate potential problem areas and create documents that will address the issues in advance. I will help you plan to avoid conflict and will advocate your interests if conflict develops despite your best laid plans.
Gayle A. Owens
Helping businesses & families
throughout Central Florida
Contact Gayle A. Owens
Office located in Orange County, Florida.
Licensed to practice law in all state courts of Florida and in federal court for the Middle District of Florida.
All Major Credit Cards Accepted