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Estate Planning

Life is filled with unexpected moments, so there is no better time than the present to start the estate-planning process. While you may have many years still ahead of you, waiting for the “proper time” to develop your estate plan may decrease your chances to ensure your wishes are effectively carried out.

No matter how far in the future, the time will come when you have either become incapacitated or died; let us help you develop or update your plan so it may protect the people you love and the assets you own!

Helping You Plan for Your Family’s Future

At Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A., we understand that every estate, regardless of size, is an important one, so we work hard to create or update a plan tailor made for you. After attending one of our seminars, we begin our estate-planning process by first getting to know you and your unique situation, needs, and desires. We then discuss various options for your estate and recommend the best possible plan for you!

Comparison of Estate-Planning Options


Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A.  handles all aspects of estate planning, including those listed below. Click on the areas that interest you to learn more

Business Succession Plans

Coming soon!

Charitable Giving

Charitable Giving

Giving to charity allows you to change lives and leave an amazing legacy behind, while also reducing your own tax liability. Whether you have one or many institutions you want to support, it is imperative you take steps to ensure you can maximize your gift, minimize taxes, and protect your legacy for the ages.

Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. provides assistance to clients making charitable gifts during their lifetime and to those who want to make posthumous gifts that will make a lasting difference. Call today to speak with an experienced Southwest Florida legacy planning lawyer who will custom tailor a charitable giving plan to your needs and who can answer key questions including:

• Why is legacy planning important?
• What planning must I do for effective charitable giving?
• How can a Southwest Florida legacy planning lawyer help you?

Why is Legacy Planning Important?

Giving a gift to a charitable organization should be simple, but the tax code can introduce unforeseen challenges as you explore the best ways to use your money and assets to help others. There are many options for those who want to make charitable contributions, from charitable gift annuities to charitable split-interest trusts agreements to pooled income or endowment funds.

Many of these options will allow you to shield income from taxes both during your lifetime and after your death. Rather than simply leaving money to a charity, you should explore the use of legal tools to maximize the financial advantages of your gift. Making the best choices for your giving, and ensuring you take advantage of all tax advantages of your generous contribution, is going to necessitate effective legacy planning.

What is Involved in Legacy Planning or Planning for Charitable Giving?

The development of an effective plan to leave a legacy through generous charitable giving is going to require you to define your goals and determine how you best wish to offer help. Legacy planning provided by Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. is custom-tailored to the specifics of what you are trying to achieve.

Whether you want to support public charities, create a private foundation, or engage in any other type of giving, we will help you to find the right legal tools to make sure your goals are achieved. This can include:

• Advising individuals and organizations on creation and operation of private foundations.
• Creating charitable lead trusts, donor trusts, charitable remainder trusts, or other appropriate trusts.
• Maximizing tax advantages of charitable giving.
• Planning to receive income during your life while establishing future gifts.These are just a few of the different ways in which a Southwest Florida estate planning lawyer can put the law to work to allow you to give a gift to a charity, while also protecting family wealth for you and your heirs during your lifetime and beyond.

How Can a Southwest Florida Legacy Planning Lawyer Help?

Barbara M. Pizzolato is dedicated to helping clients understand the laws which allow them to make the best use of their assets. When you’ve built your nest egg and want to generously donate money to do good in the world while reducing your tax burden at the same time, a Southwest Florida estate planning lawyer with three decades of experience can offer the assistance you need. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.


College Kits

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Incapacity Planning

Incapacity Planning

Serious illness or injury can strike anyone at any time, although the chances of a major medical crisis increase as you age. For most people, their biggest fear is becoming incapacitated- unable to manage their own affairs and make medical or financial decisions on their own behalf. Incapacity is scary, but if you plan for what happens in this worst case scenario, you’ll maintain a measure of control and can ensure you maintain your dignity no matter what the future brings.

If your goal is to protect yourself in the event of incapacity, Barbara M. Pizzolato can help you to achieve that goal by creating a comprehensive plan. Call today to find out how a Southwest Florida incapacity planning lawyer can help and to get answers to questions including:

• When should I create a plan in case of incapacity?
• What is involved in incapacity planning?
• How can a Southwest Florida estate planning lawyer help?

When Should You Engage in Incapacity Planning?

Many people create a plan for incapacity only after they are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or as they are aging and beginning to think about end of life issues. The reality, however, is an accident or unexpected medical problem could leave anyone of any age unable to communicate or care for themselves. You want your wishes known and respected, and having an incapacity plan in place ensures you control your own destiny and your family is not put into a difficult situation. If you have not already begun incapacity planning, now is the time to start- don’t wait until you need a plan because by then it could be too late.

What is Involved with Incapacity Planning?

Incapacity planning involves using available legal tools to determine what happens to you when you can no longer speak with your own voice. Incapacity planning may include:

The creation of a living will or advanced healthcare directive, which determines what life-saving or emergency medical care you will undergo.

The creation of a durable power of attorney, which allows you to name an agent who is able to manage your affairs and look out for your interests if you become badly ill or injured.

The creation of a healthcare power of attorney, which lets you name someone who will make other medical decisions not specified in your living will if you are not able to consent to care.

Incapacity planning is often done in conjunction with the creation of a comprehensive estate plan – but it doesn’t have to be. Barbara M. Pizzolato can assist in keeping you secure in an uncertain future through incapacity planning, long-term care planning legacy planning, and beyond.

How a Southwest Florida Incapacity Planning Lawyer Help

For close to 30 years, Barbara M. Pizzolato has been providing representation to clients of all ages who wish to plan ahead in case of incapacity. Don’t leave your family struggling to get guardianship and make tough choices in a terrible time. Call today to get compassionate and knowledgeable legal advice from a lawyer who can help you with the right plan.


LGBT Estate Planning

LGBT Estate Planning

For a long time, lesbian and gay couples faced discrimination under the law, which made estate planning much more essential so their families could enjoy the same protections as straight couples. With the Supreme Court’s recognition of the right to homosexual marriage, estate planning has become easier.

While the law has changed, there are still unique issues faced by many homosexual couples to ensure their partners and children are protected today, tomorrow, and in the future. Barbara M. Pizzolato provides legal representation to LGBT couples who want to make the laws work effectively to meet their needs. To get help with a comprehensive estate plan that provides the security you and your loved ones deserve, call today. You can also get answers to important questions including:

• Why is LGBT estate planning important?
• What is involved with LGBT estate planning?
• How can a Southwest Florida attorney help?

Why is LGBT Estate Planning Important?

Although homosexual couples can now marry, not everyone will choose to take advantage of that opportunity. If you are in a committed relationship and choose not to become legally wed, you will need to ensure you create an estate plan that will give your partner power of attorney and legal authority to access your medical information and act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. You will also need to create a plan for the transfer of assets which is aimed at reducing tax liability and protecting your partner’s rights to shared property.

Even if you marry, estate planning is still important – just as it is for any married couples or those with children. When LGBT couples have kids, only one parent can be the natural parent. While adoption can create a legal relationship, adoption is not always pursued- and when it is not, special steps must be taken to ensure that children are taken care of as part of an estate plan as well.

What is Involved With LGBT Estate Planning?

LGBT estate planning must be custom tailored to the couple and their family situation. Some of the different components of your estate plan may include:

• The creation of wills and trusts to ensure seamless asset transfer and reduce estate taxes.
• The creation of a power of attorney to ensure an agent is chosen to take action on behalf of either partner who becomes incapacitated.
• The development of a comprehensive plan using all legal tools to protect minor and adult children, ensuring their guardianship is clear and that they can inherit from both parents.These and other legal tools allow you to take advantage of powerful protections in the law that protect you, your partner, and your family in an uncertain future.

How Can a Southwest Florida LGBT Estate Planning Lawyer Help?

Barbara m. Pizzolato has developed a deep understanding of new rights that homosexual couples can enjoy following the Supreme Court’s decision on legalization of gay marriage. Couples can get advice on how to take advantage of their new rights if they choose to marry and wish to create an estate plan.

Couples who opt out of marriage can also get the advice they need to ensure their loved ones are financially secure and are able to be involved with end of life issues. To learn more and to discuss how you can get a plan designed for you from a Southwest Florida LGBT estate planning lawyer with many years of experience, call today.

Pet Planning

Pet Planning

Pets are members of the family, and they must be considered when planning for the future. If you are concerned about who will care for your pet if you get sick or pass away, as most pet parents are, it is imperative you speak with an attorney who can help you to use all available legal tools to protect your animal companion.

Barbara M. Pizzolato has provided legal representation to many clients who want to continue to provide loving care and a secure home to a beloved pet, even in the face of serious illness or death. Pet owners can get the customized help they need to determine what options are best for them. Call today to speak with a Southwest Florida pet planning lawyer to learn about your options and to get answers to questions including:

• Why is pet planning important?
• What is involved in creating a plan for your pet?
• How can a Southwest Florida pet planning lawyer help you?

Why is Pet Planning Important?

If you become incapacitated or pass away and can no longer care for your pet, your beloved animal’s future could be uncertain. Creating a pet plan allows you to name a caregiver and to establish a fund to provide for your pet’s care. Taking these steps can help to ensure that your pet is provided for and can continue to have an enjoyable and comfortable life, even after you are gone. You can also make provisions for your pet to be with you when your animal companion eventually passes away.

What is Involved in Creating a Plan for Your Pet?

Creating a plan for your pet can involve many different things. In the simplest pet plan, you can just name a guardian for your animal in your will. However, many people want to take additional steps to ensure that their animal companion is provided for. Pets can have costly medical needs, or can require expensive food and other items and some pet owners want to leave behind money for their care. Different legal tools allow you to provide ongoing financial support, including the creation of a trust to ensure money goes to benefit your animal.

A pet planning lawyer will assist you in determining what types of legal tools can ensure your pet is properly cared for and that any legacy you leave behind is spent the way you wish to provide the life your pet deserves.

How Can a Southwest Florida Pet Planning Lawyer Help You?

Barbara M. Pizzolato understands how important it is to make sure all of your family members are protected and cared for in the event something happens to you. Clients can get customized legal advice on how to care for their pets, either as part of a comprehensive estate plan or as a separate legal issue they wish to address. For pet owners who want help from a Southwest Florida pet planning lawyer with three decades of experience, call today to get started on creating a plan for your animal companion.


special needs planning

Special Needs Planning

If you have someone in your life who has special needs, it is important you understand the unique issues associated with leaving them a legacy or helping to provide for their future. A special needs child or any loved one with physical or mental handicaps may need your financial support, even after you have passed away. You may also wish to make special provisions to ensure your loved one is cared for in the way you would desire.

Barbara M. Pizzolato provides comprehensive assistance with special needs planning for individuals and families who need to provide for the care of a handicapped or disabled loved one. You want to make sure any gift you leave behind is a benefit and not a burden or hindrance, so you should ensure you have developed an appropriate plan. Call today to find out about how you can get legal help and to get answers to questions including:

• Why is special needs planning important?
• What is involved in special needs planning?
• How can an experienced attorney help with special needs planning?

Why is Special Needs Planning Important?

The needs of a person who is handicapped or disabled can be greater than those of other children or loved ones you wish to take care of after your death. It is imperative you determine how best to meet those needs. Special needs planning involves understanding your legal options and making use of the tools that help you to take care of those who are important to you.

Many people with special needs receive government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or medical coverage through Medicaid. These programs are needs-based and are means-tested programs, so leaving an inheritance to a special needs person could actually result in loss of access to essential benefits. You want to make sure your gift improves, rather than interferes with, quality of life. With special needs planning, it is possible to do that.

What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?

Special needs planning generally involves the creation of a special needs trust. The trust benefits the person who is disabled, but does not transfer assets directly to that person. A trustee manages assets and uses them to provide a better quality of life for the beneficiary, but the beneficiary does not own the assets and is thus not disqualified from access to any government benefits.

For those responsible for the care of a person with special needs, a comprehensive plan may also include instructions for how the disabled individual left behind will be provided with care. Barbara M. Pizzolato can help with the creation and funding of a trust, with the creation of a last will and testament, and with other estate planning tools that allow you to ensure a person with special needs continues to enjoy the best possible quality of life after you are no longer in their life.

How Can a Southwest Florida Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help?

Barbara M. Pizzolato cares deeply about every client and is committed to helping clients who wish to provide a gift or develop a plan for the care of someone with special needs. Clients benefit from representation by a Southwest Florida estate planning lawyer with the experience necessary to help you make a plan that works for your loved ones. Call today to learn more.


young families

Young Families

Starting a family brings new joys, but also many new responsibilities. The lives of your spouse and children rest in your hands and you need to live up to the responsibility to care for those you love by developing a plan for your future. Young families have special needs when it comes to financial planning, estate planning, and planning for retirement – and an experienced attorney can help families to fulfill those needs

Barbara M. Pizzolato provides legal representation to individuals and couples who are newly married, who have children, and who are thinking about starting families. Individuals and couples can get the guidance they need to make smart choices today that provide for a secure tomorrow. Call to find out about some of the legal issues that you can get help with as you plan ahead to achieve security for those you love. You’ll get personalized legal advice and find out key information including:

• Why should young families get help planning for the future?
• What should be involved with your plan?
• How can a Southwest Florida attorney help young families to achieve a secure future?

Why Should Young Families Get Legal Help?

Young families should get help planning for a bright future by learning about their financial planning options, setting goals, and establishing a strategy for a secure retirement. Barbara M. Pizzolato provides assistance creating a map for how to invest, grow, and protect your money so you can achieve goals like buying houses, keeping family assets safe from creditors, starting your own business, and paying for your children’s education.

While the hope is always that tomorrow will a better day, young families also need to be aware that tragedy can strike at any time. Being prepared for the worst helps to ensure that those you love are always secure. Creating a comprehensive estate plan allows you to provide for your children if you should become sick or pass away, and ensures you won’t become a terrible burden on your family if you become badly sick or injured and hard decisions need to be made.

What Should Be Involved With Your Plan?

The plans created by young families need to be designed with their own unique situation and goals in mind. Parents of children, especially those with special needs, will have very different goals than couples with no kids whose aim is early retirement. Whatever your plan is for your life, Barbara M. Pizzolato will help to give you the legal advice and arm you with the legal tools that can make your dreams a reality.

Some of the different things that young couples and families may include in their plans include:

• Retirement planning
• Financial planning
• Creating wills and trusts to name guardians for children and provide for their future
• Tax avoidance and asset protection strategies so families can begin building and securing a legacy

These are just a few of many different aspects of planning to care for your family that Barbara M. Pizzolato can offer help with.

How Can a Southwest Florida Lawyer Help Young Families

Barbara M. Pizzolato has been working with young families for almost three decades to ensure they set solid goals, take steps to achieve them, and protect all they have worked for. To learn more about how you can get help from a Southwest Florida lawyer to achieve security for yourself and stability for your children, no matter what the future brings, call today.


Life Evolves, So Should Your Estate Plan

Life is full of ever-changing circumstances, so it is important to regularly review your estate plan to account for changes in estate and tax law or even changes in your life. Failing to update your estate-planning documents can cost you – costs which are typically greater than the cost of keeping your plan up-to-date.

So, after your first document signing with us, whether to create or restate your estate plan, be sure to ask about our Lawyer for Life Estate Plan Maintenance Program. As one of our maintenance clients, we send you periodic bulletins about recent or upcoming changes to the law, review your plan with you every two years, and permit you to tinker with your plan within the maintenance program guidelines to address changes in your life.

Fort Myers (Main Office):

12751 New Brittany Blvd.

Suite 402

Fort Myers, FL 33907

P: (239) 225-7911

F: (239) 221-0279

By Appointment only

Naples Office:

4851 Tamiami Trail North

Suite 253

Naples, FL 34103

P: (239) 225-7911

F: (239) 221-0279

New York Office:

Suite 240, One Suffolk Square

1601 Veterans Memorial Hwy

Islandia, NY 11749

P: (866) 817-4713

F: (239) 221-0279

New Jersey Office:

c/o Richard A. Feldman, Esq.

80 Main Street, Suite 140

West Orange, NJ 07052

P: (866) 817-4713

F: (239) 221-0279

Proudly Serving Communities across Lee County, Collier County, Charlotte County & Southwest Florida

The information on this Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.