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Legal Representation

With Integrity

Highly Experienced

Estate Planning & Trust Attorney in Florida

Smith Will & Trust is a legal practice dedicated to providing comprehensive estate planning, asset protection, elder law, business strategy, and trust litigation services to families and businesses throughout the state of Florida. Founded by attorney Christian Smith, who provides comprehensive coverage in elder law, estate planning, probate, and trust litigation.

Trusts

Our trust planning services help you establish trust structures tailored to your unique goals.

Estate Planning

We craft personalized estate plans that ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are protected.

Business Strategy

Our business strategy and succession planning services provide a roadmap for the successful transition and continuity of your company.

Probate & Trust Administration

Our experienced attorneys guide you through the complex probate and trust administration process with compassion and efficiency.

Real Estate

Whether buying, selling, or managing real estate, our knowledgeable legal team ensures your transactions are handled seamlessly.

Trust Litigation

In the event of trust or estate disputes, our skilled litigators aggressively defend your interests in the courtroom.
Attorney

Christian Smith

Trusts, Estates & Business planning attorney Christian Smith helps families throughout the state of Florida. Christian was born in Jacksonville, Florida and was raised as a military brat while his mom was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville.

Christian graduated with high honors with a Bachelor's in English Literature from University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Upon graduation, Christian moved to Ohio to take care of his aging grandpa and to attend law school.

While attending law school at the University of Dayton in Ohio, Christian endured a very difficult probate process when his grandpa passed. The probate process took over a year to complete and cost tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to the expense and the delay, Christian saw firsthand how the death of his father figure drastically impacted the family dynamic.

Christian felt a calling to help families avoid the immense emotional and financial burden that inevitably follows if one does not have their estate plan in order.

Christian resides in St. Petersburg near the Weedon Island Preserve where he frequently enjoys running and kayaking with his wife. He also enjoys playing tennis and ice hockey when he is not serving families and helping them accomplish their estate planning goal.

Trustworthy & Reliable

Our Mission:

Established by Christian Smith, Smith Will & Trust assists families and businesses throughout the state of Florida.

With offices in Tampa and Orlando, and traveling attorneys who serve client needs throughout the Sunshine state, Smith Will & Trust was established to provide a quality, caring legal service to all. Christian’s extensive experience within the field of estate planning, business strategy, and succession, coupled with the field of litigating complex trusts & estates provides families and businesses with strategies that minimize risk while accomplishing goals unique to each client. At Smith Will & Trust, our team is dedicated to meticulously planning for your family’s future and vigorously defending your interests in the courtroom.

We will be in your corner every step of the way

At Smith Will & Trust, we value the importance of protecting families and businesses through customized planning, customized strategy, on-call support, and concierge legal services. Understanding the nuances of where litigation occurs within the field of estate and business planning makes it much easier to navigate the complexities of the law and prevent families from having to defend their interests in the courtroom. Our goal is to provide customized, quality planning through asset protection structuring. We provide concierge services from the comfort of your home or office.

Couldn't be happier with Mr. Smith and his staff. Communication was spot on since the first consultation up until we signed our trust. Highly recommend his services. Affordable rates for all the work they do.

LeoFt. Myers, FL

Christian was extremely knowledge about the different types of investment advising retirement, tax and estate planning. You get excellent personal attention where you can ask questions.

ChristineTampa, FL

Christian Smith was very polite, respectful, along with his personal testimony give him an extra edge that anyone who needs a Trust should do so.

DinaTampa, FL

Attorney, Christian Smith, exceeded my expectations with his patience and generosity of his time in explaining the different types of Wills and Trusts to tailor my will to my specific needs. Thank you, Christian.

AliceClearwater, Florida

Christian was very helpful and professional in making sure my legal affairs were in order. He answered all of my concerns and was a down to earth person.

MidgeBrandon, Florida

Mr. Young did an exceptional job with my case and brought it to the best possible resolution I could have expected. I would recommend him highly and encourage everyone I know to use his services.

ScottApopka, Florida

The words that come to mind when we look back on our experience are integrity, professional, knowledgeable, prompt, and flexible. He was able to draw up a service agreement that was fair.

JoanieApopka, Florida

Youngs Law Firm and his staff did a wonderful job handling my probate case. I definitely recommend his firm if you should need assistance with any probate/estate matters. I am very pleased with his work.

AngelaOrlando, Florida

Mr. Young went above and beyond helping me understand a rather difficult situation. He is very calm, patient and understanding which is so refreshing when looking for a lawyer. His fees are more than fair.

TaylorOrlando, FL

Very affordable, you know what you're paying upfront. Christian is very professional, patient, really listens to you and assists when asked for advice.

ChristineTampa, FL

This attorney is the real deal! You can tell from the minute that you step into his office that he really cares about his clients. I hired him to help me with a legal matter and I have not regretted this decision.

RachelOrlando, FL

Attorney Smith handled probate on my mothers estate. I could not be more pleased with his attention to detail and his persistence in having the case finalized. In addition his staff was extremely helpful and on the ball.

CharlesOrlando, FL
An overview of

Our services:

Trust Planning

Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, and more.

Estate Planning

Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and more.

Strategy & Succession

Valuation, Buy-Sell Agreements, Ownership Transition and more.

Probate & Trust Administration

Probate Proceedings, Asset Distribution, and more.

Real Estate

Residential and Commercial transactions and more.

Trust Litigation

Will Contests, Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims and more.
LOCATIONS

TAMPA

(727) 424-1464

4830 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609

By appointment only.

Our Tampa office, situated at 4830 W. Kennedy Blvd., serves clients in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando, and Pasco Counties, offering both on-site consultations and concierge, at-home services tailored to your preferences.

LOCATIONS

St. Petersburg

360 Central Ave Suite 800, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

FREE CONSULTATIONS

Speak with Our Attorney

With offices in Tampa, Smith Will & Trust provides convenient access to our legal services for clients throughout Tampa Bay.  Regardless of your location, our mobile attorney is prepared to meet you where it’s most convenient, ensuring you receive the personalized attention you deserve.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

personalized legal guidance

At Smith Will & Trust, we believe that every individual and business deserves personalized legal guidance to navigate life’s complexities. Whether you’re planning for the future through estate planning or asset protection, facing a legal challenge against you or your business, or seeking to protect your property and loved ones, our team of attorneys is here to provide the expertise and support you and your loved ones need.

Schedule Your Consultation

Trust Planning

Trust planning is essential for ensuring your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. By establishing a trust, you can avoid the lengthy probate process, maintain privacy, and potentially save money on taxes. Furthermore, trusts provide flexibility in managing your estate during illness or disability, not just after death.

Having a well-thought-out trust plan in place can offer peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of and that your legacy will be preserved for future generations. Trusts serve as powerful tools in safeguarding your financial future and ensuring that your assets are managed efficiently.

Learn More

Estate Planning

Estate planning is not just about distributing assets; it’s a comprehensive strategy to protect your loved ones and ensure your wishes are honored. We’ll walk you through the essential components of estate planning, from legal documents to managing debts and memberships. Discover key strategies like utilizing gift tax exemptions and establishing trusts for asset protection.

Avoid common pitfalls in estate planning while learning how it can benefit everyone, regardless of age or income level. Contact Smith & Kim for guidance to navigate this crucial process with ease and peace of mind.

Trust Litigation

Estate and trust litigation law can be complex and overwhelming for individuals involved in disputes over trusts or estates. It encompasses legal actions taken to resolve conflicts related to the administration of an estate or trust after someone passes away. Understanding the nuances of this area of law is crucial for anyone facing disagreements or uncertainties regarding inheritance, asset distribution, or fiduciary responsibilities.

From challenging the validity of a trust to holding trustees accountable for breaches of their duties, estate and trust litigation law navigates intricate legal processes aimed at reaching fair resolutions amidst familial tensions and financial stakes. Consulting with experienced attorneys specializing in this field is essential when facing such delicate matters.

Business Strategy

Are you a small business owner in Florida looking to secure the future of your company? Succession planning is not just for big corporations—it’s an essential strategy for businesses of all sizes. In this blog post, we will explore the key reasons why having a succession plan in Florida is crucial for protecting your legacy and ensuring the continuity of your hard work. Stay tuned as we dive into the importance of succession planning and provide actionable steps to create a solid plan tailored to your business needs. Let’s embark on this journey towards securing a prosperous future for your business together!

Key Reasons for Having a Succession Plan in Florida

Having a succession plan in place is like having a safety net for your business in Florida. It ensures a smooth transition of leadership, protecting your company from unforeseen events. By proactively identifying and grooming future leaders within your organization, you can maintain stability and continuity.

Additionally, succession planning allows you to retain key talent and institutional knowledge, reducing the risk of disruptions that could impact the success of your business. Embracing this strategic approach not only safeguards your legacy but also fosters growth and long-term sustainability for your enterprise in the dynamic Florida market.

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FAQs

Is a will or a trust more effective?

If you want to avoid probate, save time and money for your beneficiaries, then a trust will do that by permitting your successor trustees to pick up where you left off after you pass away. A 3-5% savings of your assets and a streamlined administration process that can only take weeks as opposed to months or years (typical in a probate process) can be achieved through a trust.

How long does a Probate take?

A probate can take anywhere from six months to over a year depending on complexity or will contests by unhappy beneficiaries.

How does a Trust avoid Probate?

A trust holds your assets while you are living, and when you pass, your successor trustee picks up where you left off utilizing the same accounts.

How do I avoid Probate for my Real Estate?

A Quitclaim, Warranty, or Ladybird Deed will allow real estate to avoid probate. Depending on whether you use a Trust or a Will, a different type of deed may be used. A Ladybird Deed is typically paired with a will in order to avoid probate for the family home.

How do I avoid Probate for my Corporation?

Assigning Corporate Shares and updating your corporate records will help your corporation to avoid probate. An updated operating agreement will assist in probate avoidance for your company as well

What is a Ladybird Deed and How Does it Work with My Trust?

A Ladybird Deed is essentially a beneficiary designation for your home. When you pass away, the named beneficiary, whether a Trust or an actual person, shall receive the property outside of the probate process. Listing the Trust as beneficiary on a Ladybird Deed ensures that the property will be subject to the terms and protections of the trust upon your passing.

Does a Will avoid Probate?

If you’ve ever heard of the saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” well, we as estate planning attorneys say “Where there’s a will, there’s a probate.” There are ways to avoid probate if you have a will, such as through a Ladybird deed and beneficiary designations, but many customizations or protections afforded by the Trust will not extend to the Will.

Does My House Lose the Homestead Exemption When Put Into Trust?

If drafted properly, the Deed and the terms of the Trust will prevent the loss of your Homestead Exemption. This is one of those areas where if you do your own legal work, you could easily lose your Homestead Exemption when conveying the property.

Do My Property Taxes Go Up When I Put My House Into Trust?

If drafted properly, the Deed and the terms of the Trust will prevent your assessed value from increasing. This is also another area where if you do your own legal work, your property could be assessed by the appraiser and your taxes could increase dramatically.

Who Should I List As Trustee or Personal Representative of My Will or Trust?

List who you trust, hence the root of “Trustee.” You should list someone who is an adult, financially responsible, trustworthy and accessible. Typically, parents will leave their kids or another family member to serve as Trustee after death so that Trustee fees do not need to be paid to a Trust company.

Should I List a Trust Firm to Serve as Trustee?

Depending on the level of asset protection that you want for yourself or for your beneficiaries, it is a good idea to consider listing a trust company to step in and protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, divorces, and so on. You’ll likely want that some protection for your children, so that your hard-earned money doesn’t go to a son or daughter in law, or a savvy personal injury attorney.

How Do I Make Sure That My Kids Inherit Without Taxation?

If your beneficiaries inherit from a Trust, then the assets will maintain what is called a “Step Up in Basis”, meaning that the beneficiaries will not have to worry about being taxed at your cost-basis for the assets you accumulated during your lifetime. For example, if your kids inherit your property and bank accounts from Trust, then the assets will be “stepped up” and will be tax-free if liquidated after your passing.

How Are My Beneficiaries Protected From Their Creditors?

A beneficiary trust or “sub-trust” will protect beneficiaries from their creditors, divorces, or suits. The inherited trust, or beneficiary trust, is irrevocable and is not associated with your child’s social security number. This means it will be difficult for creditors to locate the asset. If you want the air-tight setup, then listing a co-trustee alongside your children who can step in if there is an “event of duress” such as a lawsuit or divorce will protect the inheritance.

How Do I Protect My Real Estate with A Land Trust Or LLC?

A land trust is a type of revocable trust in the state of Florida that takes your name off of public record and assists in the limitation of liability in the event of a lawsuit much like an LLC. Walt Disney purchased Disneyland property through the use of Land Trusts for the protection and anonymity.

How Expensive is Probate?

Probate typically costs between 3 and 6% of your assets. A Trust costs between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on the complexity of the setup. Depending on your net worth, it will likely be substantially cheaper to set up a Trust as opposed to having the beneficiaries fork out the bill.

How Expensive is a Trust Vs. a Will?

A will plan costs between $750 and $1250, whereas a Trust plan costs between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on the complexity of the plan. Many attorneys would prefer to draft a will for their clients, as the children will seek out the attorney who drafted the will to probate the estate. This 3-6% fee of the estate is what nets many law firms profit, at the expense of the beneficiaries.

Do Powers of Attorney Last Beyond Death?

Your powers of attorney are revoked immediately upon your passing. A will and a trust come into play after your passing, as your agent can no longer carry out your medical or financial wishes after you have passed away.

Is My Power of Attorney Active Immediately?

Yes. In the state of Florida, as soon as you sign your power of attorney, it is active. This means you really need to trust who you list as your power of attorney. This is also a good thing, because you do not need to worry about a judge’s approval or the court process in order for your power of attorney agent to take care of your medical and financial affairs.

Why Do People Sue if I Have a Will Vs. a Trust?

People sue for a myriad of reasons in the United States. Here in Florida, people sue against a will or Trust because the beneficiary may not have received as much as they expected, or the kids may fight over who will have control over the estate. Little things in the documentation such as a no-contest clause, or a self-proving affidavit, or a certification can help to avoid these costly and drama-ridden court proceedings.

How Do People Sue if I have a Will Vs. a Trust?

When John Wayne died, he died rich. By the end of his probate, he had no liquid assets. A will contest comes out of the estate, meaning that if beneficiaries do not agree with the inheritance they received, then they can contest the will and charge the estate. This is to be contrasted with a Trust, which is harder to contest and requires the beneficiary to pay an attorney out of pocket to contest.