Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Guardianships

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The Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Guardianships department at Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell is committed to providing effective representation in matters ranging from the routine to the most complex.

Estate, Trust and Elder Law Planning

Estate plans are tailored to the needs of individual clients, taking into account asset levels, children, heirs, charitable contributions, healthcare needs, and all relevant tax considerations. Emphasis is placed on maximizing the client’s personal goals and objectives. Legal issues unique to senior clients are given special consideration. The departmental team, which includes the firm’s in-house CPA, is available for consultation on important income and transfer tax issues.

Estate planning services include, among other things:

  • Business succession planning
  • Charitable giving
  • Life insurance planning
  • Lifetime gift giving
  • Multi-generational wealth transfer
  • Planning for potential incapacity
  • Special needs planning
  • Wills
  • Trusts (revocable and irrevocable)

Estate and Trust Administration

The firm’s attorneys have handled hundreds of administrative court proceedings in the areas of estate and trust administration. When a death in the client’s family occurs, appropriate guidance and legal counsel is provided to properly administer the estate or trust.

Emphasizing communication with the client, the firm’s attorneys and paralegals handle the post-death administration of estates and trusts efficiently and at a reasonable cost. The department’s trust and estate experience extends across a broad spectrum of estate sizes, family dynamics, and asset types. Both corporate and individual fiduciaries are represented. Services include:

  • Administration of testate and intestate estates
  • Administration of trusts
  • Post-mortem tax and other planning
  • Preparation of estate and gift tax returns
  • Probate of wills
  • Representation of fiduciaries in administering trusts

Guardianship Administration

Members of the firm are experienced in representing clients in incapacity and guardianship proceedings. Legal representation extends to individuals, professional guardians, corporate, and non-profit corporate guardians. The extensive use of experienced paraprofessionals allows for both the timely and economic delivery of legal services.

Guardianship matters are handled on behalf of both minors and the elderly. Family members may also be represented in connection with these proceedings. Accounting and tax matters are all handled within the law firm.

Estates, Trusts, and Guardianship Litigation

Trust and estate attorneys at the firm have managed hundreds of trust, estate, and guardianship litigation matters at both the trial court and appellate levels. Litigation services include, but are not limited to:

  • Accounting litigation
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims (defense and prosecution)
  • Compensation disputes
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Fiduciary surcharge and removal litigation
  • Guardianship litigation and incapacity proceedings
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) litigation
  • Power of attorney disputes
  • Trust modification, reformation and termination
  • Will and trust construction proceedings
  • Will and trust contests

The firm represents both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in these controversies, including corporate fiduciaries and professional guardians.  Litigation matters are handled from inception through any appellate action.

Florida Wills, Trusts, Estate, and Guardianship Attorneys

Partner Brian O’Connell chairs the Estate Planning, Probate, and Guardianship Department. He is Board Certified in Wills, Trusts and Estates by The Florida Bar, which means he is recognized as an expert in transactional and litigation matters involving estates, trusts, and guardianship matters for both fiduciaries and beneficiaries.

Partner Phil O’Connell has 45 years of experience in real estate, estate planning, and probate matters.

Partner Ronald Crescenzo brings in-depth knowledge of appellate practices to his work in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, guardianship, and commercial litigation.

Of Counsel attorney Ashley Crispin Ackal is a frequent speaker on estate planning topics, and was an integral part of the 2014 rewrite of the Guardian Education and Training Manual for the Probate and Guardianship Practice Committee of the Palm Beach County Bar Association.

Associate attorney Joielle A. Foglietta holds an LL.M. in Taxation and has been involved in appeals with the IRS in connection with estate and gift tax issues.

Contact a South Florida Wills, Trusts, Estate, and Guardianship Attorney

Contact partner Brian O’Connell for a confidential discussion of a potential trust, estate or will matter.