Do You Really Need a Will?
And other pressing questions...
Maybe and Maybe not.

It is so hard to broadcast to all of you the best thing to do as it truly depends on your situation. Estate Planning is called that because it takes some creative thought. Yes, you can get a Will online for nearly no $$$. But does it really help you? Does it align with your intent and save your estate money? Is there a better way to do things?

Often, people call me saying they want a $5k Trust but after we speak, we go with a Simple Will and Deed (saving them [now] and the estate [later] thousands of dollars). We do not need to overcomplicate things.

Think about the following:

  1. If you have little kids, you need to get in my office to get some planning done or your estate can pay upwards of $10-15,000k dealing with an estate with no plan (not only a probate but also a guardianship).
  2. Real property needs to be treated carefully. I don't like it passing via Will unless you have a problem family or too many beneficiaries. Consider a deed or a Trust.
  3. A trust is not always the answer. It is often NOT the answer. Don't fall for the myth of more money, better protection. It just isn't true.
  4. A Durable Power of Attorney may save you from a guardianship that strips away your rights. The Elder Law version of it is invaluable!!
  5. A Will DOES go through probate. Having no Will may also cause a probate. A probate happens anytime you have money in your sole name at the time of death with no beneficiary listed.
  6. A Trust avoids probate but so do beneficiary designations and deeds. Again, a trust is not always the way.
  7. Yes, you can leave a lot of money to care for your pets. If they are your family, treat them as such. We can help.
May is National Elder Law Month!
Elder Law is creative planning. It is different from typical estate planning.

It is protecting your assets during your sunset years before they are stripped away due to unreasonably-high nursing home costs. You shelter your assets so that you can qualify for Medicaid (never apply for Medicaid unless you know first if you will qualify for it). Then, you have extra money to increase your standard of care.

Do you or your parents need to talk about Elder Law issues?
Let's Learn Some Estate Planning Hacks
Did you know you could save thousands of dollars by getting a simple deed to avoid probate completely?

It doesn't work in every situation but Florida has an amazing thing called the enhanced life estate deed. The locals actually call it a “ladybird deed.”

Just by getting this one simple deed, you could avoid not only thousand of dollars in probate but also having to file a lawsuit after the death of a loved one.

Click here to learn more about ladybird deeds.
Did you know that you should not name a minor child as a direct beneficiary under your IRA, life insurance, or retirement benefits?

Sometimes financial advisors advise this but it's not thought through. 

When you name a minor child as a direct beneficiary, a guardianship and a probate must be opened. That is thousands of dollars that your estate will have to spend protecting your child. 

As an alternative, you can list the trust fund of your child as the beneficiary. In doing so, you will save thousands of dollars!
Did you know that not all powers of attorney are created equally? 

You might be able to find legal documents out there but if they don’t have the powers that you need, they are not going to protect you when you need to be protected.

Did you know that having an elder law power of attorney with incapacity provisions can save your estate six thousand to ten thousand dollars in guardianship?

And it's not just all about the money–a guardianship strips you of your rights. A durable power of attorney is the better way to go but remember they are not all created equally. You may find legal documents out there but if they don’t have robust powers then they are WORTHLESS. 

Click here to learn more.
#GetMyGuardian Guide
for Florida Parents of Minor Kids
We are happy to present our #GetMyGuardian Guide (formerly the Kid Care Package).

It is a DIY legal kit to protect
your minor children.

It contains fillable legal and practical documents so you are more empowered, at peace, and proactive about the safety for your children.

Would you like one?

Stay tuned for our new DIY workbook geared to Young Adults (18 to 25)
Meet Our Team
Estate Planning Paralegal

Veronica drafts Deeds, Wills and Trusts.
She also handles all aspects of the signing to ensure you receive accurate documents, notarized properly under the formalities required by Florida law, scanned copies, and an organized Estate Planning Portfolio. She is Lori's trusted companion and has been in the law firm since the start.
Office Manager

Itzel helps to keep everything on track by overseeing the firm's daily operations. She is also full of talent and compassion which helps with our clients.
Client Relations Manager

Jessica takes care of our clients to make sure their needs get met and she also helps to raise awareness about what we do as a law firm. She is a foodie like Lori.
Case Manager

Carlos is our case manager and soon to be receptionist. He is a super interesting guy that is into reading, music and art.
Probate Paralegal

Ellen has over 35 years of probate experience in Florida. She is a Dallas Cowboy superfan!
Law Clerk

Latoya is a law clerk currently
studying for the Florida Bar. She is an extremely hard worker and we are so happy she is on our team.
Operations Manager

Trevor has over 30 years experience in the
financial services industry in various client
management and project management roles.
He handles our probate accountings,
client and trust billing as well as internal firm tracking.
He helps Lori with her number challenges!
The crazy girl that always wanted to be a lawyer.
If you asked Lori at 8-years-old what she wanted to be, you would have heard, “I want to be a lawyer.”  

For Lori, becoming a lawyer means advocating for people. It means offering comfort and solace in tricky legal situations. It means using creativity to find solutions.

Lori started working as a lawyer for a large and prestigious multi-state law firm in downtown Tampa (prior to that time Lori was a judicial law clerk at the esteemed Fifth District Court of Appeal). 
After 14 years and advancement to partnership, having her son Gianni changed Lori’s priorities. She withdrew from the partnership to raise her son full-time. It was then that Lori realized the overwhelming “parental fears.” 

Lori felt it was an invaluable service to have someone that would draft their legal documents with the same concerns she had for her own family, and would anticipate the types of questions and concerns that may arise.  

Through these relationships, Lori saw a great need for these parents. Who would benefit by talking to another parent, a person that understood their needs. So, Law Office of Lori Vella was born. It has blossomed into something so different but still so gratifying!
We enjoy our signings!
We can see true happiness and peace on our clients' faces.
I want more!
Did you already have your Discovery meeting and are interested in speaking with Lori on a more substantive call?
Have a legal strategy session about your estate planning, business, or probate matter.
or for a longer 45 minute meeting, use the following link:
Our Practice Areas
Wills, Trusts, Deeds, Probate, Trust Administration, Guardianships (Elder and Minor Children), Special Needs Trusts, Elder Law, Business Succession Planning, Business Formation, Personal Injury Probates (wrongful death)

New York:
Wills, Trusts, Probate

Are you wondering how we can help you? Feel free to email Lori and ask your question.

Reach her directly at:

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