It is never easy losing somebody that you love. Even worse, when a spouse, father, mother, or other loved one dies, there are legal matters to take care of. The attorney tells you that a probate may be necessary, or if a revocable living trust is in place, there will be trust administration matters to tend to.
The CPA wants to speak to you about tax strategies while your financial advisor has IRA required minimum distribution, capital gain, and asset reallocation issues that she wants to implement.
It’s all so overwhelming—especially during a time of great stress.
Where do you turn?
Who should you trust?
What about the bills that have to be paid?
It’s enough to make even the strongest-willed person want to crawl into bed and pull the covers tight over one’s head.
That’s where we come in. My name is Craig R. Hersch and I’m a Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts, & Estates attorney whose principal office is in Fort Myers, Florida. I’m also a licensed Florida CPA, and a founding shareholder and board member of a local private trust company. You’ll notice Mike Hill and Hayley Donaldson also pictured. Mike is my partner and also a Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts, & Estates attorney. Hayley is an associate attorney with our firm and also a CPA.
During the course of my professional career, which began in 1989, I’ve represented thousands of families, administering their loved one’s estates. Because of my unique educational and professional background, I not only understand how all three sides—legal, tax, and financial—of a probate or trust administration should interact, but I’ve also served in the trenches helping families arrive at smooth and successful outcomes.
Our goal, therefore, is to first arm you with general information that you will need when you work with your attorney, CPA, and financial advisor after the loss of someone dear to you. After that, I’ll review my firm’s unique process—The Estate Settlement Program®—that provides comfort and clarity when dealing with the legal, tax, and financial issues following a loved one’s death.
There is simply too much information one needs to know and too many traps for the unwary for anyone to successfully navigate this on their own—especially in a time of grief. I have therefore boiled the essentials down so that you can understand the big picture. For me to write something that would cover each possible scenario and the details that one would have to understand for a successful outcome would result in not one book, but in several volumes of legalese.
You wouldn’t have the time or stomach to read that anyway.
So if you are reading this blog, I assume that you have recently lost a loved one. Allow me to express my condolences. We’ve all lost loved ones; it’s part of being human. But that doesn’t take away the pain. Not only have I personally suffered the loss of loved ones—but our legal practice also involves interacting with people just like you every day.
You’ll survive this moment. My hope is that these words provide a ray of comfort and clarity in what may feel like the darkest night.
Nothing can be more stressful and heartbreaking than the loss of a loved one. Even worse can be the legal and financial matters left behind after their passing. We are committed to relieving the anxiety surrounding the probate process and to help Floridians discover what can be done to ease this transition and secure your financial future.