Joe Osborne & Greg Francis, Personal Injury Lawyers & Founders of Osborne & Francis

Estate Planning & Probate Lawyers

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Joseph Osborne
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Estate Planning & Probate Lawyers

Not all of us consider our own mortality or the possibility of becoming incapacitated. This is often the exact reason why many families are caught off-guard when incapacity or death happens. Estate planning can help families prepare for such situations and ensure their assets are properly taken care of.

A person’s estate consists of everything they own: their home, their car, bank accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, personal possessions, and other items. No matter how modest or extensive a person’s estate, one thing is for sure — we can’t take any of it with us.

Estate planning is the process by which we leave instructions regarding what will happen to our estate assets in the event we pass away or become incapacitated. When done properly, estate planning can ensure our loved ones are taken care of. Estate planning tools like wills and trusts also help property to be distributed with the least amount of taxes, fees, and court costs.

As you can imagine, estate planning can be a complex endeavor that requires the help of an attorney. At Osborne & Francis, we place the highest priority on our client’s future and peace of mind. We have the experience and resources to ensure that your estate is fully prepared with a solid plan for the future under Florida laws. Contact us at (561) 293-2600 if you need assistance with or have any disputes regarding your estate.

Video Transcript

So you've been in a car accident. What happens next? There are many things that you should do but here are the three most important:

Number One: See a doctor immediately. 

A broken bone is easy to see, but some injuries are not. The most common injuries from car accidents happen in the neck, back, or head. The only way to diagnose and treat them is by seeing a doctor. A doctor can help ease the pain, provide medication, reassure you of how your injury may impact your daily life, and tell you what not to do to make it worse.

A visit to the doctor can also give you legally protected time off to recover and rest your body after an accident, and it documents and provides the evidence you may need for your case. Even a five-mile-per-hour car accident can cause a serious injury. So whether you've had a severe accident or a minor collision, see a doctor. And if you don't have medical insurance, let us know and we'll make sure that you receive the proper care. 

Number Two: Write everything down.

Even if it seems small, during times of stress or injury it is common to forget the little details. Make sure you keep note of the pain that you're in. With neck, back, and head injuries, sometimes simple activities such as walking up the stairs or picking up a toddler may cause severe pain. 

You may not be sleeping well at night. Documenting how much you sleep and how often you wake up due to pain is also very important. And lastly, if you have any cuts or bruises, take daily photos as you heal. This will provide visual evidence of the injuries that you've suffered. 

Number Three: Do not speak to an insurance company until you've spoken to a lawyer.

Please understand that the insurance adjuster works for a billion-dollar corporation and not for you. Their interests are solely for their insurance company, and their goal is to provide you with the least amount of financial settlement as quickly as possible. When you do speak with them, remember they will record the conversation. Why do they do this? Because they've been trained to ask questions that may confuse you. So talk to us before you talk to them. 

So remember: See a doctor, document everything, and call us before calling the insurance company for your free private consultation. We are here for you. Real tough lawyers fighting real tough issues.

What Is the Estate Planning Process?

Creating a Will
The most basic and well-known aspect of the estate planning process is the will. A will is a legal document that contains specific instructions about how a person’s estate should be distributed when they die. It also names a person who will be responsible for overseeing and distributing the estate property.

For most people, the first and most important step in the estate planning process is to hire a lawyer to help them write their will. Usually, people may become concerned about drafting a will after they buy their first home or have their first child.  

Wills have specific requirements in order to be considered legal. Though there may be some variation, will requirements typically include:

  • Must be in writing
  • The person forming the will must be legally competent 
  • Must be signed by the testator (will creator) 
  • Must be signed by and in the presence of two witnesses (ideally, not beneficiaries) 

A qualified lawyer with experience in estate planning matters can assist you with these requirements and can help you formulate the ideal estate plan for your needs. They will take into consideration various factors, such as:

  • Your life stage and family members
  • Your total financial assets
  • Whatever long-term goals you have for you and your family
  • The specific estate laws of your state

The Probate Process
If a person dies without a valid will in place, they are said to have died “intestate.” When this happens, their estate will be distributed according to state probate laws. Specifically, the property will be distributed according to “intestate succession” principles.

This means that there will be a specific order in which the surviving relatives can claim property. For instance, the property will first be distributed to the deceased person’s spouse and children, then close relatives, etc.

As mentioned, this may not always yield a distribution of property and assets that the person may have wanted. It is much more ideal to be ready with a will in place in case something happens.

What Are Trusts?

Trusts are another type of estate planning tool that a person can use to manage their estate. A trust is a mechanism that allows property to be held (i.e., held “in trust”) before it is distributed to the intended recipient (the “beneficiary”).

In terms of estate planning, a trust allows the estate holder to make very specific instructions regarding when and how the property will be distributed. It can also outline the person’s wishes regarding guardians for minor children, and burial, cremation, or memorial service instructions.

A common example is where the estate holder transfers money into a trust, which will be distributed to their child when certain conditions are met (such as when the child finishes college).

There are many different types of trusts. The main types are:

  • Irrevocable trusts: This type of trust cannot be modified, amended, or terminated without the beneficiaries’ permission. This is useful in situations where the distribution is somewhat set and not subject to anticipated changes. These are usually best later in life and for tax liability and asset protection purposes.
  • Revocable living trust: This is a type of trust that the grantor (estate holder) can modify throughout the course of their life. They can make the modifications without the permission of the beneficiaries. Benefits of revocable trusts include avoiding probate, and providing care for minor children. A downside is that creditors can sometimes go after assets in such a trust. 

Whether an individual requires both a will and a trust or just a will depends on their situation. A will is still required with a trust because trusts deal with specific assets such as life insurance or a piece of property, but not the sum total of your holdings. Trusts are generally beneficial for those dealing with or anticipating tax or family issues, or if they have a large amount of real property or securities.

Glossary of key estate planning words and terms.

contact our office to speak to a lawyer.

do you still have questions?


What Are Some Examples of Estate Planning?

Most estate plans involve the use of wills and trusts to manage the distribution of a person’s estate. However, in addition to these two tools, estate planning can also address other aspects about a person’s life, including:

  • How you wish to obtain medical treatment in the event you are incapacitated (for instance, due to a car accident) and can’t decide or speak for yourself
  • Whether you will become an organ donor upon passing away
  • Which persons are authorized to make legal or financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated (“power of attorney”)
  • Who is authorized to care for your minor children if you are unable to do so
  • Who will take over your business operations or interests
  • Decisions regarding your funeral arrangements and final resting instructions 

A clear estate plan can help reduce confusion and provide clarity about your wishes, providing you and your family with assurance about the future.

What Is a Will Contest or Will Dispute?

A will contest or a will dispute occurs when someone takes issue with a valid will and challenges one of the distribution provisions it contains. In many cases, this dispute originates from one or more of the named beneficiaries. In other cases, the dispute could involve someone who was left out of the will (i.e., they might claim they were entitled to inherit a certain item).

A common example of a will dispute is when two beneficiaries claim that they are entitled to the same piece of property mentioned in a will. For instance, suppose the testator listed in their will, “I leave my favorite watch to my daughter.” Well, if they have two daughters, this might result in a will dispute if the specific person isn’t clearly named. In such cases, further legal action may be required to determine exactly what the testator intended regarding their property.

Thus, one of the main sources of such contests is when a will is written in a way that is vague or unspecific. While a lawyer isn’t always required by law to create a valid will, working with a lawyer helps tremendously in avoiding potential will disputes.

What are the benefits of having an estate plan?

E. Holland

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Dennis and the other Osborne & Francis staff were amazing! Our case was HUGE and required tender loving care. Everyone on our case did their part by putting all the puzzle pieces together. We were given step by step updates and put at ease when our nerves got the best of us. For every inquiry we made we received a timely response...You are appreciated!

C. Smith

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“I am so thankful for EVERYONE, the entire staff at Osborne & Francis Law, for mentoring me through the mediation process with my hip replacement failures. I didn't realize how MUCH pressure they relieved me of by helping me deal with the reality of this traumatic time in my life, as it was OVER so quickly with a positive result. My family is grateful to have their mom HAPPY & FOCUSED on the future, rather than worrying over what happened in the past! FAST FORWARD, we are LIVING LIFE to the fullest once again!”


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Quick and fair resolution to a unique case. On advice of my own attorney, I engaged Joseph Osborne of Osborne & Francis of Boca Raton, FL. Mr. Osborne had considerable experience in cases such as mine and the results showed that. Mr. Osborne and his staff were very helpful, kept me up to date, and listened to my input. The settlement was very fair as far as I am concerned.

Erica F.

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"Best personal injury attorney around, I could not be happier! I was seriously injured in a car accident and Osborne and Francis helped me through the entire process. I was blown away by how knowledgeable the staff and attorneys are at this incredible law firm. I would not hesitate to recommend this law firm to friends and family!"

T. Andrews

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“Attorneys Greg Francis and Ryan Fletcher at Osborne & Francis Law Firm represented me in my personal injury case.The defendant drew a line in the sand and was adamant on a settlement amount I was almost willing to accept. After the dust settled and the smoke cleared, we settled for 3 times that amount!!! When they say ‘Real Tough Lawyers,’ they mean it.”

J. Davis

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“I couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer/ firm — everything was done professionally exactly how I wanted. Due to COVID my personal attorney Mr. Garcia was still able to make things work in a timely manner and he never made me feel like he wasn’t working. Overall I’m happy with how my case turned out and I would recommend him and this law firm to anyone. 100% satisfied.”

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How Can I Contact an Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer?

Don’t let the courts decide how your property will be distributed in the event of your death or incapacitation — take matters into your own hands and work with a lawyer to lay down the ideal estate plan for your future.

Knowing that you have a well-thought-out estate plan in place will give you peace of mind and protect your family from legal conflicts. Estate planning is perhaps one of the most considerate and thoughtful actions you can take for your loved ones and their future.

If you need assistance creating an estate plan, you need a lawyer who has the experience and foresight to anticipate situations that might arise in your future. Contact the estate planning lawyers at Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 for a free consultation to determine your legal rights and options. We can help ensure your estate goals are met and your family is prepared for the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of having an estate plan?

There are several benefits to having a clear estate plan for you and your loved ones in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated. An estate plan can provide clear, precise instructions about the way you want your property distributed. It can also mean lower taxes and fees imposed on your family after your death, and less stress and worry for your loved ones and family.

What are the consequences of not having an estate plan in place?

If a person dies without a will, their estate will be subject to the state probate court process. This process can result in a distribution of property that doesn’t fully match your original intentions or desires. Also, not having an estate plan can leave your family vulnerable to contests and disputes regarding the way the estate assets are to be distributed.

What are the four important estate planning factors?

First to consider is your life stage and family members. Second, your total financial assets. Third, whatever long-term goals you have for you and your loved ones, and fourth, the specific estate laws of your state. Wills and trusts are the main tools used in creating a strong estate plan. Our lawyers can help you strategize a comprehensive plan for your estate and your family.

How much does a trust cost?

There may be fees associated with creating a trust. These, however, can depend on several factors, including the nature of the trust, the value of the property or assets involved, local rates for court forms and documents, and various state laws.

Hiring a lawyer can help minimize the time and resources spent on creating a trust, since a lawyer will know the most efficient and effective way to accomplish your estate planning goals. Contact Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 if you have questions or need guidance about a trust.