A comprehensive out estate plan can accomplish several important goals, including creating a framework for the division of your estate assets upon your death, helping to grow your assets during your lifetime, protecting you and your family in the event of your incapacity, and ensuring that your loved ones are provided for when you are gone. At Stivers Law in Miami-Dade County, Florida we know that selecting an attorney to work with you on the creation of your estate plan is an important decision. We would be honored to have the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss how our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you make the most out of your estate plan.
History of Miami-Dade County, Florida
Located in southeastern Florida, Miami-Dade County covers almost 2,500 square miles (including over 500 square miles of water) and includes the City of Miami which is the county seat. According to the most recent census (2020) data, Miami-Dade County is the most populous county in Florida with a population of 2,701,767 and the seventh-most populous county in the entire United States. Miami-Dade County is named for the City of Miami and Major Francis L. Dade, who served in the U.S. Army during the Second Seminole War.
At least as far back as 12,000 years ago, Native American nomads lived in what is now Miami-Dade County along the Miami River. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon was the first-known European to visit the area. At that time, the Tequesta people inhabited what eventually became Miami-Dade County. In 1567, Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles established the first European mission on the Miami River’s north bank. Over the next two and a half centuries, the weapons and diseases brought by the Spanish caused the Tequestas to disappear. It wasn’t until 1821 that Spain sold Florida to the United States for $5 million.
Dade County was created shortly thereafter in 1836 with Indian Key as the original county seat. By 1890, however, there were fewer than 1,000 residents of the county. In the interim, the county seat was moved to Miami and Miami incorporated as a city in 1896. The arrival of the railroad and the real estate boom of the 1920s saw a rapid increase in development and population growth. That growth was subsequently slowed significantly during the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s by both a major hurricane and the Great Depression.
Miami-Dade County Today
The growth and popularity of the City of Miami toward the end of the 20th century resulted in the decision to change the name of Dade County to Miami-Dade County in 1997. Miami-Dade County is both geographically and demographically diverse. The City of Miami is densely populated and well-known for its high-rise buildings and multi-million-dollar ocean-front homes. To the south and west of Miami, the sparsely populated and heavily agricultural Redland and Homestead areas make up on-third of the county’s populated area. Parts of both the Everglades National Park and Biscayne Bay National Park can also be found in Miami-Dade County.
Hispanics are the ethnic majority in Miami-Dade County, accounting for over-two-thirds of residents. The ethnic diversity of the county is apparent, however, by smaller groups of immigrants from Haiti, Ukraine, Portugal, Poland, and numerous other countries. Moreover, less than one-third of households speak only English at home. Only 30 percent of households has children under 18 living with them and just over 14 percent of the population is aged 65 or older.
Residents and visitors to Miami-Dade County are fortunate to have numerous cultural and entertainment options. Miami’s South Beach is famous for its nightlife while water sports and beach lounging can be found along the Atlantic Coast. Countless museums, parks, and theatres can also be found in Miami-Dade County. History and archeology enthusiasts should make a point of visiting the “Miami Circle.” Located on the south side of the mouth of the Miami River, the Miami Circle is a series of holes cut into the oolitic limestone forming a 38-foot diameter circle thought to be used as a ceremonial site and believed to be about 2,000 years old.
Stivers Law in the Miami-Dade County Community
At Stivers Law we focus on the issues we feel matter most to our friends and neighbors – protecting yourself, your assets, and your loved ones, both now and in the years to come. Working with the right estate planning attorney is crucial to creating a plan that reflects your estate planning needs and objectives. We are cognizant, however, of how difficult it can be to discuss highly personal financial and family matters with a virtual stranger. This is one of the many reasons we strive to create lasting relationships with our Miami-Dade County clients.
For your estate plan to be successful it needs to be an ongoing venture that is continuously reviewed and updated to reflect changes that occur in your life. Your initial estate planning needs may be as simplistic as ensuring that you don’t leave behind an intestate estate should something happen to you. For that, a basic Last Will and Testament is sufficient. It won’t be long, however, before you outgrow that simple plan. Marriage and/or the birth of a child will cause you to expand your estate planning needs and goals. Protecting your spouse and/or child will likely dictate changes to your plan, such as the addition of a trust to protect your minor child’s inheritance. Incapacity planning will also need to become part of your overall plan.
The growth of your estate itself may also require you to incorporate asset protection and tax avoidance tools and strategies into your plan. Additional goals such as probate avoidance may also become important to you. Middle age should have you contemplating your retirement years and the high cost of long-term care. That, in turn, may dictate the need to add Medicaid planning to your estate plan to ensure that you can afford the cost of that care. If you have strong beliefs regarding end-of-life medical treatment and/or the disposition of your body after your death, you will also want to ensure that those beliefs are honored by including funeral planning and the appropriate advance directives in your comprehensive estate plan.
Our hope at Stivers Law is that we can be there with you as you pass through the various phases of your life to help ensure that your estate plan protects you, your assets, and your loved ones.
If you have additional questions about estate planning, contact the experienced Miami-Dade County, Florida estate planning lawyers at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule your appointment today.