Asset Protection

With the ever-increasing number of lawsuits in the United States, protection of family wealth is of paramount importance.  In conjunction with the prudent investment of assets, a comprehensive asset protection plan can help ensure your family’s wealth will be preserved for your financial security and for future generations. There are a number of ways to legally protect your assets from the claims of potential judgment creditors.  Florida is recognized having some of the best laws in the nation to protect your family’s wealth.  In addition, clients can take advantage of the laws of other states and countries to protect their family wealth.  The firm has a team of experienced attorneys to help clients develop and implement a comprehensive asset protection plan that is tailored to that client’s unique situation.  Such planning can include:

  • Protection of married couples’ assets (i.e., tenancy by the entirety)
  • Protection of the family residence (i.e., homestead)
  • Protection of wages
  • Protection of certain assets, such as life insurance, annuities, retirement accounts, and education accounts
  • Use of business entities in Florida and other states to protect assets
  • Use of trusts in Florida, other states, and offshore jurisdictions to protect assets
Business Planning and Transactions

Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene, P.A. offers clients a wide range of business-related services.  We especially understand the significance of, and intricate dynamics relating to, closely held businesses.  We live at the intersection of the business and personal lives of our entrepreneurial clients.  Business services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Formation, reorganization, on-going governance, and dissolution of business entities, including corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, and limited liability companies
  • Contract preparation, review, and negotiation
  • Structuring and implementing business and commercial transactions, including purchase and sale of businesses, buy-sell agreements, shareholder agreements, employment contracts, and deferred compensation arrangements
  • Business succession planning
  • Tax planning, both for businesses and for the business owner
Charitable Planning
Our attorneys have significant experience assisting clients with charitable planning designed to perpetuate legacies.  Oftentimes, such planning is accomplished by shifting from involuntary philanthropy (taxation) to voluntary philanthropy (charitable giving), without reducing the desired inheritance by heirs. Such techniques and vehicles include:

  • Private foundations
  • Donor advised funds
  • Not for profit/tax exempt entities
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
Commercial Litigation and Business Dispute Resolution
In addition to being experienced advocates, our attorneys are skilled and experienced at solving problems and creating opportunities to resolve various disputes. We utilize numerous methodologies in resolving disputes including negotiation, pre-litigation mediation, litigation, and trial or arbitration.  Our attorneys have significant experience in handling federal and state trial litigation as well as appellate litigation, with emphasis in all areas of commercial and business law.

The firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in diverse matters including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Contract enforcement and defense
  • Business torts
  • Defense and enforcement of software licenses
  • Enforcement and defense of copyright and trademark rights
  • Mortgage fraud issues
  • Franchise related matters
  • Purchase and sale of goods disputes
  • Establishing easements or rights of way
  • Dealer terminations
  • Mortgage and lien foreclosures
  • Securities fraud claims
  • Claims involving timber harvesting methods and timber leases
  • Defamation and slander claims
  • Fraud claims
  • Defense of bad faith claims
  • Matters involving the uniform commercial code
  • Breach of warranty claims
  • Conversion of trade secrets claims
  • Unfair trade practices claims
  • Disputes involving the failure to pay broker’s commission
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Shareholder and partnership disputes
  • Negligence
  • Civil conspiracy
  • Real estate disputes
  • Federal and state statutory claims
  • Class actions
  • Restrictive covenants and unfair competition
  • Landlord tenant disputes
  • Construction litigation

When litigation is necessary, we represent your interests aggressively and ethically, seeking positive results in the most efficient and economical way possible.  We work to keep our clients informed of the progress of their case, while providing the information they need to understand the litigation process and its costs.

Estate and Trust Administration

At Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene, P.A., we offer specialized service to clients in the areas of trust and estate administration.  This service includes a full-time staff focused solely on trust administration for trusts established during a person’s lifetime, offering counsel to trustees regarding ongoing duties.

In most instances, our estate and trust administration services are provided in the context of the loss of a loved one. At a time when a family is grieving, the firm’s estate and trust administration teams stand ready and pledge to make the process as smooth as possible, while providing the quality of service and attention the family should expect and deserves. In general, we provide advice and assistance in carrying out the wishes and desires set forth in a last will and testament, and in executing trusts created for the purpose of transferring wealth to loved ones, charities, and other beneficiaries.

Because of our specialized focus on estate planning and closely related matters, our experienced teams can provide comprehensive services, including, but not limited to, advice and guidance in the following areas:

  • Fiduciary duties as trustee during lifetime
  • Fiduciary duties as a personal representative or trustee serving after the death of a loved one
  • Probate matters considered by the probate court
  • Potential creditor issues
  • Marshaling, accounting for, and distributing estate and trust assets
  • Distribution of trust assets, including distributions to lifetime trusts for descendants
  • Tax advice
  • Legal services to personal representatives and beneficiaries on federal and state tax issues, including representation before all taxing authorities
  • Representation of the beneficiaries of estates and trusts
Estate Planning

Estate planning has been a cornerstone of the firm’s practice since its inception.  Our primary objective is to understand our clients’ needs and goals with respect to planning for their families and transferring their wealth. We listen to our clients’ objectives, and then work with them to develop a comprehensive estate plan designed to provide pass wealth to their heirs in the most tax and cost efficient manner, while also passing on their legacy and values.  We use our experience and knowledge of the ever-changing tax and estate laws to integrate flexibility into tax planning, asset protection planning, and planning for incapacity in a way that is consistent with our clients’ needs.

Our areas of estate planning practice include:

  • Wills and revocable trusts
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts and gifting trusts
  • Multi-generational planning, including dynasty trusts
  • Family business/succession planning
  • Planning with retirement benefits
  • Charitable planning, including charitable trusts, private foundations, and public charities
  • Powers of attorney and advance health care directives
  • Asset protection planning
Guardianships

A legal disability could arise due to the fact that the individual is under age 18 or, if she has attained the age of majority, she has some limitation that makes it legally impossible for her to exercise some or all of her rights. Florida law provides a mechanism to allow another, the guardian, to exercise these rights, generally under the supervision of the Court, through the creation of a guardianship.

Our attorneys can assist families addressing guardianship issues by discussing the available options. If it is determined to be appropriate, our attorneys can file pleadings requesting the Court to declare an individual incapacitated, and if needed, requesting the appointment of a guardian for the individual. We can also assist with the annual filings needed to assure that the guardianship remains in good standing with the Court.

Probate, Trust and Guardianship Litigation

We have extensive experience with litigation involving probate, trusts, and guardianships. This experience includes representing both proponents and contestants in will contest cases and applicants and contestants in guardianship cases, as well as prosecuting and defending claims against executors, administrators, trustees, guardians, and agents under powers of attorney for all claims, including breach of fiduciary duty and removal. We often litigate questions of undue influence, coercion, and capacity and are experienced in litigating issues involving the community or separate character, tracing, and valuation of assets. In addition, we represent clients in claims as beneficiaries of insurance policies, annuities, and retirement plans.

Specific examples of cases we handle are:

  • Will and trust contests
  • Will and trust construction proceedings
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims—defense and prosecution
  • Accounting litigation
  • Fiduciary surcharge and removal litigation
  • Trust modification, reformation, and termination
  • Challenges to powers of attorney and related documents
  • Guardianship litigation and incapacity proceedings

Our attorneys understand that most of these cases involve litigation between family members, and we realize the emotional toll taken on our clients and the destructive effect on family relationships.  We work closely with our clients throughout the litigation process to ensure that they are aware of the status of their cases and have the ability to direct the course of the litigation. Whether it is through settlement or trial, we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.

Real Estate

The firm provides timely and thorough assistance to our clients in a wide variety of commercial, residential, and vacant real estate matters, and in doing so, we strive to minimize negative ad valorem, documentary, income, gift, and intangible tax consequences.

Our attorneys negotiate, document and facilitate the closing of real estate acquisitions and sales. We also represent landlords and tenants in the negotiation and documentation of leases of commercial, retail, office, shopping center, and residential real estate.

In support of other areas of the firm’s practice, our attorneys document the transfer of properties in and out of trusts, estates, and business entities and advise clients concerning various transfers of real property between family members and their related entities.

Tax Controversy

The Tax Controversy practice area involves representing business and individual clients in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  These disputes can arise in various functional areas of the IRS including examination (audit) of all types of tax returns, collection of unpaid taxes, administrative appeal of adverse tax conclusions, and tax litigation.

With the client’s authorization to represent them before the IRS, we make certain the IRS personnel comply with all procedural and substantive rules and requirements, and we provide a buffer to direct contact between the IRS personnel and the client. We provide information and documentation to IRS personnel in an organized and effective manner in order to best present the client’s position on the issues involved in the dispute.

Tax Planning

At the foundation of our thinking, we believe that taxes alone should not drive decisions. However, our attorneys understand that planning for the right tax result is an important part of any decision and strive to ensure that our clients understand the federal, state, and local tax consequences of their decisions. We specifically provide tax guidance in the following areas:

  • Wealth transfer tax planning
  • Business succession planning
  • Choice of entity and operational structure for closely-held businesses
  • Mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures
  • Tax exempt organization qualification and operation
  • Tax deferred exchanges (also called “like kind exchanges”)
  • Documentary stamp tax planning
  • Federal and state tax controversies