FLORIDA ATTORNEYS YOU CAN TRUST
We serve clients in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, and Putnam counties; including Jacksonville FL

Compassionate and Dedicated Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyers

Representation for Estate Planning, Probate & Family Law Matters

Estate Planning, Probate Matters, and  Family Law are all deeply personal. For many people, it can be difficult to open up even when they are desperately in need of help. At Beller & Bustamante, P.L., we will treat you with the utmost dignity, always respecting your confidentiality and never putting anyone else’s interests before yours.

Rebeccah Beller and Mina Bustamante are experienced attorneys who truly care about their clients’ needs. From estate planning to preparing to get married to going through a divorce, we want to help you feel comfortable and ensure that your interests are protected.

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Experienced Jacksonville Family Law Attorneys

At Beller & Bustamante, P.L., we provide representation for all types of Family Law matters, including:

Going Through A Divorce

divorceFrom an emotional standpoint, going through a divorce is never easy. Our divorce attorneys understand this and want to make the legal process as straightforward and streamlined as possible. If both you and your spouse have worked out what you each want from the divorce, we offer flat-fee options for uncontested divorces. If you need an advocate for pursuing rights relating to your children, marital property, or spousal support (alimony), we can represent you in a contested divorce as well.

Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements

prenuptial postnuptial agreementsPrenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be important tools for estate planning clients in Jacksonville. They can also help lay the foundation for a successful marriage. Our Jacksonville estate planning attorneys strongly recommend that all couples take the time to explore and understand the benefits of these marital agreements. Such agreements can help to protect assets and provide for loved ones in the event of death, divorce, or incapacitation. Our Jacksonville prenup lawyers work closely with couples to help them draft agreements and contracts that are specifically tailored to the married couple’s needs. If you are not sure what is best for you, we will explain all the options thoroughly and help you make a decision that will benefit you the most.

Establishing Paternity

paternityWe represent both mothers and fathers in matters of paternity. Whether you are seeking child support or are trying to prove or disprove parental rights, Beller & Bustamante, P.L. can help. All consultations are confidential and we will put your interest at heart.  Learn more about Florida paternity actions.

Guardianships

guardianshipGuardianship rights allow non-parents to take legal responsibility for the finances, health, and welfare of minor children and incapacitated adults. Guardianship cases are usually tense and often adversarial. We help our clients become appointed as guardians, adhere to their guardianship responsibilities, and contest guardianship appointments of others.

Collaborative Law

collaborative-lawCollaborative law is a process for amicably resolving a divorce without court involvement or heated disputes.  If you and your spouse have some differences but are willing to work together in order to reduce costs and arrive at a resolution that fairly serves both of your respective interests as well as those of your children, a collaborative law divorce might be right for you. If you are not sure which route to take, schedule a consultation with us, tell us your story, and our collaborative lawyers will help you pick the best route for your divorce.

Modification of Alimony, Child Support, Visitation, and Time Sharing

modificationsWhen circumstances change following a divorce, it is not unusual for former spouses to desire to modify their rights with respect to financial support or spending time with their children. In order to grant a modification, the Florida courts typically require proof of a substantial change.

Finalizing a divorce takes work, and the courts do not like to be flooded with requests seeking to disrupt finalized settlement agreements and divorce decrees.  As a result, most modifications involve matters such as:

  • Increased financial needs
  • Loss of income
  • Relocations
  • Introduction of new spouses, domestic partners, or other relationships
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence

If you would like to pursue a modification, we urge you to contact us for a consultation with an experienced divorce modification lawyer. We can evaluate your situation and help you decide on a cost-effective course of action.

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Our Jacksonville estate planning attorneys strive to maintain open communication, to listen to our clients, and to achieve our goals through decisive action in court.

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Experienced Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorneys and Probate Law Firm

At Beller & Bustamante, L.P., we also provide experienced advice and representation for estate planning and probate matters. We have over 30 years of combined legal experience, and we can help you memorialize your final wishes and ensure that your loved ones’ final wishes are carried through.

Estate Planning

It is never too early to put together an estate plan. We strongly recommend that all of our clients have a plan in place. Your life can change in an instant, and having a plan in place can help ensure that decisions regarding your health and property are made with your wishes in mind. When you come to us to develop your estate plan, we will discuss documents such as:

  • Wills
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Medical directives
  • Living wills
  • Healthcare surrogate appointments

Jacksonville estate planning lawyer - document and pen

Experienced Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorneys and Probate Law Firm

Don’t Make These Common Estate Planning Mistakes

The following are some of the most common Florida estate planning errors. Be aware, they are not the only ones – listing all potential estate planning errors would take an entire library.

  • Naming the beneficiaries of your insurance policies, IRAs, 401ks, annuities, etc. as “the estate of so-and-so.” These three simple words, “The estate of,” can spell a lot of trouble, because they put the assets contained in those accounts right back into probate where it can take weeks, months or even years to distribute them to their intended beneficiaries.
  • Failing to have your last will and testament properly witnessed and executed. This can result in delays and, in some cases, outright invalidation of your will.
  • Failure to fund a living trust. A living trust can take your assets out of probate so that they can pass seamlessly to your intended beneficiaries when you die. They don’t help you, however, if you neglect to fund them by re-titling the assets you wish to place in the trust.
  • Jointly titling assets in your children’s names. This can get you into a lot of trouble if your children run into financial problems: divorce, debt defaults, etc.
  • Failing to seek legal advice when you are planning your estate. This is the biggest mistake of all because it is the mistake that leads to all the other ones.

Why You Need a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer

A Jacksonville estate planning lawyer can help you in 101 different ways (this is a conservative estimate). Some of these ways include:

  • Helping you navigate state-specific rules that apply to your estate. What works in New York might not work in Florida, and vice versa.
  • Helping you strategically plan your estate. Every piece of your estate planning puzzle affects every other piece.
  • Getting the details right. A misplaced word (or even a comma) in your last will and testament, for example, could result in unintended consequences that you could not have foreseen. It is our job to foresee such consequences.
  • Avoiding estate litigation by closing loopholes and clarifying ambiguities in advance. 

Doing our job right means no one will ever even know about all of the disputes that would have erupted if your estate had not been meticulously planned.

Probate Administration

When a family member passes, it can be difficult to know where to turn to administer your loved one’s estate.

Rebeccah Beller and Mina Bustamante have each helped numerous families and personal representatives successfully navigate the probate process.

Our Jacksonville estate planning lawyers help you understand your rights and obligations, and guide you step-by-step through the process of carrying out your loved one’s final wishes.

Our firm also represents clients in will contests and estate and probate litigation.

probate administration

Common Probate Administration Issues

In general, the larger an estate is, the more complex it is (although this is not always the case). The more complex it is, the more things that can go wrong during the probate administration phase – after the death of the decedent but before the final distribution of the estate assets to beneficiaries. It is very important to have a probate lawyer on board from the beginning of this process to handle issues such as:

  • Drafting appropriate probate pleadings. Probate court is nothing like a small claims court. Pleadings must be drafted carefully to avoid unnecessary delays and unintended consequences.
  • Resolving disputes among beneficiaries. This is particularly likely to occur if the estate’s personal representative (executor) is a family member. 
  • Selecting a new personal representative (executor) if the personal representative named in the will refuses his appointment. You might be surprised how often this happens.
  • Coordinating probate when assets are located in more than one state. This will require quite a bit of coordination and could add considerable complexity to the case.
  • Conducting inventory and valuation of estate assets. In some cases, this is a frighteningly complex task that can generate major disputes.
  • Determining the final disposition of the decedent’s home, especially if there is a significant mortgage on it. Beneficiaries may have to agree on whether to sell the property, and they will need to fully understand the consequences of their decision.

Contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L. Today

If you have questions about going through a divorce, preparing your will, or any other family law or estate matter, our Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyers Rebeccah Beller and Mina Bustamante are here to help. Call (904) 288-4414 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

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