What we do.

Whether you recently lost a loved one, are dealing with their incapacity, or simply seeking to protect yourself and your family, we are here to help.

Elder Law & Guardianship

Elder Law

Elder Law focuses on assisting clients with legal, financial, and medical planning as they age. Elder law can assist families and individuals facing challenges associated with: a loved one in a hospital or rehabilitation facility; caring for a spouse or parent at home; self-paying for a nursing home or assisted living facility; or a family member being diagnosed with dementia or other illnesses.

Our aging population not only faces the challenge of independent living, additionally they are trying to adequately plan for and cover issues regarding their current and future health care. The Spenik Law Firm is happy to assist you in the planning process for yourself or your loved ones.

Guardianship

A Guardianship is established through a legal proceeding which allows a guardian to exercise certain legal rights on behalf of the ward after being appointed by the Court.

The Spenik Law Firm is available to serve in multiple capacities on Guardianship matters. These capacities include: representing Petitioners, representing Wards and assisting Guardians with ongoing reporting requirements.

Guardianships are most common for adults suffering from dementia and other conditions affecting capacity. Florida Guardianship Law requires the use of the least restrictive alternative to protect individuals incapable of caring for themselves and managing their affairs whenever possible. This means that a guardian can be appointed to manage the person, property or both, dependent on the individual situation. A Durable Power of Attorney, a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust Agreement, and a validly executed Health Care Advance Directive are generally accepted and classified as “least restrictive alternatives” to a Guardianship. However, if your loved one is suffering from elements of incapacity and does not have the aforementioned documents, we can assist in simplifying the process and determining whether a Guardianship is the appropriate avenue.

In urgent situations where an incapacited individual is in need of immediate assistance to prevent financial exploitation or physical harm to their person, an Emergency Temporary Guardianship may be established. A temporary guardian may be appointed for a short period, to provide a solution pending the appointment of a permanent guardian.

Guardianships can also be established for the benefit of minors (children under the age of 18). In the event that a minor is the recipient of money by inheritance or as a result of a lawsuit, Florida law requires that minors have an individual appointed to manage the funds for their benefit.

Estate & Incapacity Planning

Whether you are starting out or nearing the end of your career, we employ a comprehensive process in regards to providing the appropriate package to you for your estate plan.

A common misconception is that an estate plan is not necessary because “there are not enough assets.” This misconception can be particularly damaging in various situations. If there are no legal documents in place, Florida law will apply and a Judge will make a determination regarding: the appointment of a guardian for your children; the appointment of a guardian in the event you are incapacitated; the determination of heirs under Florida intestacy laws. I work with individuals and families with varying assets and family dynamics.

There are various scenarios and family dynamics where I feel that creating a plan is necessary.

Your family should have an estate plan in place if you have: 

  • minor children 
  • children with drug or alcohol abuse issues 
  • financially irresponsible children
  • adult children with special needs or 
  • children from a previous marriage

The term “Estate” encompasses money, personal assets, and business assets that you have own or control at the time of your death. Your “Estate Plan” is the legal set of documents containing important designations and instructions in regards to your personal, financial, familial, and health care affairs

Your Estate Plan will include: 

  1. Last Will & Testament
  2. Living Will
  3. Designation of Health Care Surrogate
  4. Declaration of Preneed Guardian
  5. HIPAA Waiver 
  6. Trust (dependent on individual/family needs)

The Spenik Law Firm creates trusts that serve the individual needs of each client. There are a variety of trusts that may be created to benefit your situation, depending on your preferences and goals for your estate plan.

If you have an existing estate plan that has not been reviewed in the past five years, you should schedule an appointment to have your documents reviewed to verify their validity under current Florida law.

We understand the importance of your estate plan and sincerely appreciate the opportunity to show you the ways our firm is different.

Probate & Trust Administration

Probate Process

Probate is essentially the Court-supervised process of identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person, paying the decedent’s debts, and making a distribution of the assets to eligible beneficiaries.

Probate can be required when the deceased individual was a Florida resident owning certain assets in Florida, or when the individual was not a Florida resident but owned certain assets within Florida. Probate assets must exist in order for a probate proceeding to be conducted in Florida. The determination of what assets are subject to the probate process can be complicated. Certain assets are not considered subject to the probate process.

A personal representative will be appointed by the Court to administer the loved one’s estate and carry out their final wishes. Following the Court’s appointment of a personal representative in a probate case. The personal representative is in charge of administering the Estate. The process of administering an Estate can be complicated and lengthy. The process can be delayed by not following the proper procedures and requirements of the Florida Probate Code.

If your loved one has passed away recently, contact me in order to see how I can assist you and your family in this difficult time.

Trust Administration

Trust administration occurs outside of the Probate Court. Coincidentally, Trustees serve a similar role to that of a personal representative during the probate of a Will, which occurs under the supervision of the Florida Courts. Under Florida Statutes, a Trustee’s duty is to administer the trust in good faith and pursuant to the terms and purposes of the trust, and in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

In the event that the deceased individual’s assets are held in a testamentary trust when he or she dies, there must be a trust administration. Trustees can benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in proper administration of a trust under Florida law.

Contact us for your free consultation.