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Practice Areas Overview

Firm

The attorneys at Mizell, Mays & Payne, P.A. have substantial experience in providing the full breadth of estate planning and trust and probate administration services for clients in Punta Gorda and throughout Charlotte, Lee, DeSoto, and Sarasota counties in Florida. While our primary area of expertise is trust and estate law, our attorneys also provide experienced representation in business law matters and assist clients in residential and commercial real estate closings and title insurance.

 

Estate Planning

We carefully consider the needs and goals of our client in preparing every estate plan, and provide comprehensive, tax-sensitive estate planning documents individually tailored to each client. As part of the estate planning process we may prepare:

  • Wills
  • Revocable Living Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Medical Directives, including Health Care Surrogate Documents and Living Wills
  • HIPAA Waivers
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Preneed Guardian documents

We also provide a wealth of ancillary legal services attendant to estate planning, including:

  • An analysis of the proper and improper use of the various probate avoidance techniques
  • Ensuring property is properly titled and trusts are appropriately funded
  • Providing a plan for the possibility of subsequent incapacity or disability
  • Consideration of basic asset planning strategies which complement the estate plan

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Tax Planning

Tax planning is an inherent part of the estate planning process, and we advise our clients on estate planning strategies to minimize income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. We advise clients regarding:

  • Current transfer tax, gift, estate and generation skipping tax environment, including portability issues
  • Gifting strategies, including use of the annual gift tax exclusion
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts

Business Succession Planning
We are often consulted when a closely held business is being sold or when a family member is retiring from the business and wants to explore business succession planning options to transfer the business to a successive generation. Our attorneys structure tax saving strategies to facilitate the orderly transfer of control and wealth to successive generations, including Buy/Sell Agreements and utilizing advanced planning techniques such as gifts of fractionalized interests, including sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts.

Charitable Planning
We advise clients with charitable inclinations on ways to maximize the tax benefits of their contribution. We assist our clients with:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Private Foundations
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Donor Advised Funds

Wealth Preservation
In today’s litigious society high-net worth individuals are increasingly concerned about wealth preservation planning and protection from creditors. We advise clients regarding:

  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Corporate entities
  • Florida Laws which utilize homestead protections
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Multi-generational “Dynasty” Trusts
  • Trusts naming a third party “Trust Protector”

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Probate Administration

The attorneys at Mizell, Mays & Payne, P.A. have a wealth of experience in probate administration matters, and have handled estates of all sizes, with particular expertise in larger estates involving complex tax issues. We work closely with the estate fiduciary to marshall and value the assets of the estate, settle claims against the estate, swiftly and efficiently guide the estate through the probate process, and transfer title to assets to the heirs and other beneficiaries of the decedent. We strive to administer every estate with a minimum of expense and delay.

Trust Administration
We provide representation and assistance with post-mortem trust administration after the death of a grantor, and also provide assistance with trust administration during the lifetime of the grantor.

We advise our clients regarding issues arising during the administration of a trust, including:

  • Beneficiary notices including statute of limitation notices
  • The duties, powers and standards of a trustee
  • Trustee accounting and recordkeeping
  • Investing and managing trust assets
  • Resignation or removal of a trustee
  • Modification, revocation or termination of a trust
  • Creditor’s rights against the trust or beneficiaries
  • Subtrust funding
  • Compensation under Florida Trust Law
  • Income taxation of trusts
  • Preparation of gift, generation-skipping transfer tax and estate tax returns

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Business Law

When starting a new business, selecting the appropriate choice of entity is an important decision with lasting ramifications, as the type of entity selected will have tax and legal liability implications to both the entity and the participants. Therefore, it is important to seek the assistance of experienced business planning counsel prior to making this decision.

The attorneys at Mizell, Mays & Payne, P.A. have extensive experience advising clients on the appropriate choice of entity for their new business endeavor and preparing and filing the proper documents to register the new entity. We assist our clients with the formation of a variety of entities depending on the needs and goals of their businesses, including:

  • Corporations, including S and C corporations
  • Limited liability companies
  • Family limited partnerships

In addition to entity formation, we assist our business clients with transactions including:

  • Negotiation, review, and preparation of contracts
  • Lease agreements
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Operating agreements

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Real Estate Closings & Title Insurance

We are frequently called upon by clients and real estate agents to assist in real estate closings involving the sale or purchase of residential or commercial properties. We conduct the transaction and ensure that all issues required by the mortgage commitment and closing instructions are fully addressed. John B. Mizell is an underwriting agent for Old Republic Title Insurance formerly known as Attorneys Title Insurance Company.

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Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
We welcome your inquiry regarding the services offered by our firm. Contact Mizell, Mays & Payne, P.A. to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.