Wills • Trusts • Inheritance ... Planning for your family's future.
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Welcome to Cramer Law Center

Welcome to the Cramer Law Center. Our law office is conveniently located in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. I am Jeffrey Cramer and as an estate planning lawyer I focus my practice on all aspects of estate planning for individuals and their families, asset protection and business planning for professionals and owners of small businesses, including preparing wills, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, designations of healthcare surrogate, special needs trusts, revocable living trusts, buy-sell agreements, family partnerships, and family limited liability companies. The estate planning attorneys at the Cramer Law Center also focus on the legal needs of senior citizens, practicing in the area of elder law, including Medicaid planning and guardianships. In a guardianship proceeding, we can represent the interests of the person seeking to be appointed guardian or we can protect the interests of the ward, who is alleged to be incapacitated. We also are involved in all aspects of estate administration, including probate and trust administration. In situations where there has been no planning or ineffective planning, we also handle cases involving probate litigation, guardianship litigation, will contests, trust contests, disputes between heirs, removal of a trustee, removal of a personal representative, undue influence, probate fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, forged documents, trust reformation, or spouse’s elective share.

Our office is located in Duval County, but we also service the surrounding areas including Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine in St. Johns County, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island in Nassau County, Orange Park and Green Cove Springs in Clay County, Palatka in Putnam County, Palm Coast in Flagler County, MacClenny in Baker County, and Starke in Bradford County, in Northeast Florida. I hope you will find the information contained in this website useful and that you will feel free to contact an estate planning lawyer at the Cramer Law Center if you have any legal questions.

Our Mission

Our mission as estate planning attorneys is to ensure that our clients maintain control of their property while alive and well, plan for themselves and their loved ones if they become disabled and then give what they have, to whom they want, when they want and in the way they want, all while assuring their wisdom is transferred along with their wealth. We combine extensive client counseling with a continuing maintenance and education program to design estate plans that work. We focus not only on transferring financial wealth, but also on assisting clients to leave their wisdom and legacy to future generations. We do all of this in a caring and compassionate environment. Read and learn more about how we can help you in the menu under Areas of Practice.

Latest Post


THE LATEST DO-IT-YOURSELF NIGHTMARE

We are constantly warning clients and friends alike of the dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning.  The odds are just too high that a fill-in-the-blanks estate plan will fail.  We hate to say we told you so, but here it is straight from the pen of Justice Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court:

“I therefore take this opportunity to highlight a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of utilizing pre-printed forms and drafting a will without legal assistance.  As this case illustrates, that decision can ultimately result in the frustration of the testator’s intent, in addition to the payment of extensive attorney’s fees — the precise results the testator sought to avoid in the first place.”

 

The case that Justice Pariente is referring to is Aldrich v. Basile, where the Court recently was asked to interpret a do-it-yourself will.  Ann Aldrich wrote her will on an “E-Z Legal Form.”  Ann’s big mistake was that her will gave away specific assets (i.e. my gold watch to my sister) but it did not contain a residuary clause.  A residuary clause basically says “here is what to do with any asset I did not specifically mention.”

Ann’s will may have given away all of her assets at the time she made it, but she later inherited more assets from her sister.  She did not update her will to include the new assets, but instead expressed her intent in a separate handwritten note that “all” of her worldly possessions should go to her brother.  Unfortunately for Ann and her brother, this note was not a valid way for Ann to update her will or direct what to do with the assets not specifically given away.  Further, the will itself, without a residuary clause, was not sufficient to “effectively dispose of” any assets not specified.

The end result was that Ann’s heirs under Florida’s intestacy statute (the State’s default will) shared in the property that Ann wanted to go solely to her brother.  Even though it seemed clear what Ann really wanted, she didn’t express it in a legally enforceable way, so the Court had to follow the terms of the will.  As the Court explained, the will was not ambiguous (which would have allowed them to consider Ann’s intent) – it was just missing some critical words!

The internet may provide data, information, and knowledge. But it does not, and cannot, provide legal advice.  Please don’t do estate planning without first obtaining creative, wise, and experienced legal advice.  The parties in the Aldrich case were fighting over an $87,000.00 bank account.  The legal fees most certainly wiped out the bulk of that inheritance.  Don’t let that happen to you or your loved ones.

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Contact Info:

Cramer Law Center, P.L.
3030 Hartley Rd., Suite 290
Jacksonville, Fl. 32257
Duval County
904/448-9978 Phone
904/448-9979 Fax

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