The Fernandina Beach Probate Lawyer
10161 Centurion Parkway, N., Suite 310Jacksonville, Florida 32256
(904) 448-1969 - Toll Free - 866-510-9909
Probate Lawyers and Attorneys in Fernandina Beach, Florida

The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC, is a Florida law firm offering legal services in Fernandina, Amelia Island, Nassau County, Northeast Florida, and throughout Florida, in the areas of Florida estate planning, Florida probate law, Florida wills and trusts, elder law and Medicaid planningwealth preservation and asset protection planning, charitable planning, probate and trust administration.  We are a participating attorney in the AARP Legal Services Network for estate planning and probate law.

If you need an experienced Florida probate attorney, estate planning lawyer or asset protection attorney, please contact us toll free at 866-510-9099.

You can find information about the following matters at this website and at our main website at :



The Coleman Law Firm offers a free Florida living will form at its website.





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We also provide information about current changes in the law involving our areas of practice at our Blog - The Florida Asset Protection and Estate Planning Blog.


We believe the proper definition of estate planning is to control your assets while you are alive, protect your assets for the benefit of your family and loved ones, provide for the management of your assets and your own personal care in the event of an incapacity, and to see that upon death your assets pass to the people you want, in the manner you want, at the time you want, and at the least possible cost for taxes and professional fees.  We work with each of our clients to ensure that objective is met.

What is estate planning?

The mission of the Florida estate planning, asset protection, Florida probate and elder law lawyers and attorneys at The Coleman Law Firm is to strive for our Fernandina Beach clients to achieve their estate planning goals and objectives consistent with that definition of estate planning.

We implement that mission by engaging our Fernandina Beach clients in comprehensive estate planning where our first objective is to gain a full understanding of each client’s needs, desires, goals, and objectives, as well as their fears and concerns, as it relates to their family and their estate planning.  Our focus is not exclusively on the passage of wealth at death, but includes consideration of lifetime needs and concerns to plan for incapacity, for long term care, and for protecting assets during life so the value and benefit of the assets you have accumulated are for you, your family, and loved ones.

As estate planning attorneys, we initiate our professional relationship with our clients by seeking to understand your circumstances, your family members, and your estate planning goals and objectives, as well as your fears and concerns.  We want to know about your family members, their strengths, their weaknesses, their talents and their needs.  Only by truly understanding the dynamics of your family can we then identify and help you understand the various options that are available to deal with the specific circumstances that are unique to you and your family.

After we have gained an understanding of your needs and desires, and you have gained an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the various options and alternatives available for your use to achieve your estate planning goals and objectives, and deal with your fears and concerns, we then, together with you, design an estate plan that is specifically tailored to help you accomplish the purposes for which you initiated the estate planning process.

Our estate planning process begins with an examination of each client’s needs for advance directives that are appropriate for them and their circumstances.  From there we proceed to evaluate their needs for incapacity and for long term care planning.  We examine tax issues, both income taxes and estate taxes.  We then develop a blue print for the wills and trusts, and other ancillary estate planning documents that will be needed to accomplish the efficient transfer of wealth at death, the protection of your assets during life, and your care and the management of you assets in the event of a disabling incapacity.  At each stage of the planning process we are always cognizant of the tax implications of every aspect of the plan, as well as the asset protection elements of every plan. 

There is little benefit to having a great estate plan, if all of the assets can be lost to third parties because the assets were not properly titled or structured to legally protect them against third party claims.  We look at the opportunities to provide long term asset protection for the next generation, or successive generations, as well as generational planning to minimize taxes through successive generations where that is appropriate.  We help our clients evaluate options for charitable planning from the perspective of income tax savings, as well as major philanthropy through private foundations, donor advised funds, or supporting organizations.

If you need an estate planning attorney, probate, Medicaid planning, or asset protection lawyer, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

Our documents are designed to achieve all of the estate planning, asset protection, or other objectives that have been incorporated into each client’s estate plan.  Each document is tailored to the specific requirements of the client’s unique circumstances.  The wills and trusts documents that we prepare for you are so unique to you that we copyright each one of them.

If you need to plan for your potential incapacity, for long term care, for asset protection, for income and estate tax savings, for wills and trusts, please contact the Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, and Nassau County, Florida estate planning, probate, elder law, guardianship and Florida asset protection lawyers and attorneys at The Coleman Law Firm so that we can help you design and implement a plan that meets your unique needs.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss briefly each of the major topics covered in our website.  There is a more detailed discussion of each topic on the pages that follow.

Thank you for visiting with us and if you have any questions or we can provide you additional information, please be sure to let us know.


Advance directives include several different documents that are all designed to provide for some aspect of your care in the event of your absence or incapacity.

The most common of these documents is the durable power of attorney, which is a document that allows you to designate the person or persons who you want to handle your business and financial affairs in the event of your absence or incapacity.  You should expect your durable power of attorney to be drafted to deal with your specific circumstances.  It should not be a one size fits all, cookie-cutter document.

What is an advance directive?

If both you and your spouse are in your first marriage, of long term duration, and you have one set of children, your durable power of attorney most likely should be different from the power of attorney for someone who is in their second or third marriage, as is their spouse, and you have children from a previous marriage, your spouse has children from a previous marriage, perhaps you have children together, and you want your assets to be available for your spouse’s support and comfort after your death, but you want your assets to go to your children after your spouse’s death.  A power of attorney can include provisions to allow your attorney in fact change your will or trust, to change beneficiary designations on life insurance policies or retirement plans; or your power of attorney can exclude those provisions, and include others.

Your power of attorney can be drafted to include provisions for providing for the care of pets, or for the operation of a business or farm, or any other specific circumstance you want covered.  The more complete and specific a power of attorney is drafted, the more likely that it will serve the purpose you intended.  As you review the related section of this website dealing with the Florida Power of Attorney, keep in mind that you have the right to a power of attorney that is designed to be as comprehensive or as limited as you want it to be.

If you need an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney for advance directives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

Other advance directives in Florida include the Designation of Health Care Surrogate, the Declaration of Pre-Need Guardian, and the Living Will.  Again, though there are statutory forms for each of these documents, your advance directive should be designed to accomplish your specific desires and deal with your unique concerns. If you have minor children, the advance directive to empower someone to act on behalf of your children for medical decisions in the event of your absence or incapacity, is one of the most important advance directive you can have.  Even the living will, made famous by the Terry Schiavo case, can be annotated to provide coverage of things that may be more important to you than to other people.  In many, perhaps most cases, the statutory forms are satisfactory and sufficient.  You have the right to insist that your documents are tailored to your needs.


As discussed above with reference to advance directives, and even more so with wills and trusts, you should insist that your documents reflect the planning objectives you have and deal with all of the issues involved in your specifically designed estate plan.  Your family, while it may share many characteristics with other families, is unique unto itself.  Your estate plan should incorporate wills and trusts that effectively deal with the distinctive estate planning needs, goals, objectives, dreams, desires, fears and concerns that uniquely yours.

What is a will?

There are two major distinctions between a will based estate plan and a revocable living trust based estate plan.  If properly funded (meaning the transfer or re-titling of assets), the revocable trust (1) allows for more effective planning for the management of your estate in the event of your incapacity, and (2) allows one to avoid probate.  A more detailed explanation of Wills in Florida is found in the section entitled
Do You Have A Will.  A discussion of the Revocable Living Trust in Florida is in the section bearing that same title.  Both probate administration and trust administration are discussed more completely in separate sections of this website entitled Probate in Florida , and Trust Administration.  There also is a more detailed discussion of  Probate Litigation in Florida and Trust Litigation in Florida to further develop the comparison of using a will based plan or a trust based plan, especially where you have multiple parcels of real estate in multiple states.

Basic estate planning is focused on the use of a will or revocable living trust as the foundation of your estate plan.  As you accumulate a larger estate, it is necessary to consider more sophisticated estate planning tools, both because of the potential impact of estate taxes, and the need to provide additional structure or control over the distribution of the estate.  When more sophisticated planning is appropriate there are a number of different trusts and other techniques that may be appropriate for your estate planning portfolio.  You will find it beneficial to consult with an Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, Florida estate planning and asset protection lawyer or attorney at The Coleman Law Firm to assist you in determining which of the many techniques are most appropriate for you and your circumstances.  Please call us toll free at 1-866-510-9099.

What is a revocable living trust?

Various types of irrevocable trusts are available for consideration.  These include, the 
irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT), the private annuity trust, the qualified personal residence trust (QPRT), a Retirement Plan trust, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT), charitable remainder trust (CRT), charitable lead trust (CLT), and other types of trusts that are used for specific purposes. For instance, if a spouse is not a U.S. citizen, it is important to consider the use of a qualified domestic trust (QDOT) to avoid unnecessary estate taxation immediately upon the death of the U.S. citizen spouse.  Estate planning needs, estate and income tax issues, and asset protection needs should always be considered by your estate planning lawyer or attorney when doing such planning.

If you need a trust lawyer, probate or an asset protection attorney, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

Other techniques can be used where there is a need that may be unrelated to estate taxes or pure estate planning objectives, such as asset protection planning objectives.  These techniques include family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, self cancelling installment notes, beneficiary controlled trusts, domestic asset protection trusts, premarital agreements, post-marital agreements, shareholder’s buy-sell agreements, long term care contracts, personal care contracts, and many others. Many of these techniques have benefits from an asset protection perspective as well as estate planning.

The important point to remember as you move through your estate planning process is that your plan should deal with your objectives, goals, desires, fears and concerns.  It should be as individual as you and your family, so that your unique estate planning and asset protection needs are appropriately addressed and dealt with effectively.

If you want a Florida estate planning lawyer who will design an estate plan that will effectively deal with the individual circumstances involving your family and loved ones, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099 or email the Florida estate planning and asset protection lawyers and attorneys at The Coleman Law Firm so that we can help you achieve your estate planning goals and objectives.


As experienced Florida probate lawyers and attorneys, we know how important it is for the probate estate administration process to be completed as soon as reasonably possible, and as efficiently as possible, regardless of whether the estate is simply a Florida probate for real estate, to probate a deed for real estate in Florida, or an estate that is subject to the estate tax.  Our Fernandina Beach, Florida probate lawyers and attorneys  provide you with complete and timely information regarding the status and activities of each probate case.  We are familiar with Florida probate law, guardianship law, probate rules, probate courts and the probate forms necessary for complying with Florida probate law.  Our Fernandina Beach, Florida probate lawyers and trust attorneys counsel you on each phase of the probate estate administration process and provide direction for each step that must be taken.  We have substantial experience with the Florida probate process, and especially with the probate of Florida real estate. The Fernandina Beach, Florida probate lawyers and attorneys promptly respond to all questions that are asked, and patiently provide you with a complete explanation of what needs to be done to comply with Florida probate law, and why.

If you need a Florida probate lawyer to represent you in a Nassau County, Florida probate estate, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

What is probate administration?

As experienced probate lawyers and attorneys we understand the emotional issues that become involved in probate litigation, whether the issues involve will contests, will disputes, inheritance disputes, litigation for removal of a personal representative or executor from a probate estate, or, for removal of a personal representative for breach of fiduciary duty by a personal representative, or a will challenge based on irregularities in the formal requirements for the execution of a will, forgeries, the exercise of undue influence in the procuring of a will, the will maker's lack of capacity or inability to understand the contents of a will, the improper administration of an estate by the personal representative, or disputes that arise between the surviving spouse and the children of previous marriages, especially where the Florida spousal elective share or an inheritance through intestacy may be involved. Our Florida probate lawyers and attorneys are also experienced in pursuing actions for abuse of a power of attorney.

Who pays the fee for the probate estate attorney?

Our legal fees for representing you in the administration of a probate estate administration will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular case.  Often our lawyers will work on a flat fee or fixed fee basis.  Other times, a probate lawyer's hourly rates are appropriate.  In appropriate probate or will contests our Florida probate lawyers will consider working on a contingent fee basis, which means there is no fee if there is no recovery.  In particular, if your probate administration is for the sole purpose of a real estate probate, i.e., transferring title to real property, our probate lawyers usually will work on a fixed fee basis, so that you will know from the beginning exactly what your total cost will be for the Florida probate process.

If you need legal representation in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Yulee or Callahan, Nassau County, Florida, or other locations in the Northeast Florida area for probate administration, to probate Florida real estate, for probate litigation, a guardianship, to pursue a claim for abuse of a power of attorney, or any other probate related matter, please call us toll free at 866-510-9909 or email The Coleman Law Firm, for your Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, Florida probate, trust or guardianship lawyer or attorney. 


The firm’s founder, C. Randolph Coleman, has been a Florida lawyer for over 30 years, is a frequent lecturer and nationally recognized speaker in the areas of estate planning, financial planning, and asset protection. He co-authored, The New Florida Trust Code, Lorman Educational Services, (2008), Trusts for Pets: Planning for Pets Under the Florida Trust Code, The Florida Bar Continuing Education Program (2008, 2005); Asset Protection Techniques in Florida, National Business Institute (2004); and authored, Diminished Capacity and Financial Exploitation of the Elderly - The Florida Elder Law Attorney’s Perspective, Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, 24th Annual Meeting Continuing Legal Education Program; Family Limited Partnerships in Florida (Chapter: “The Use of Family Limited Partnerships in Estate Planning”), National Business Institute (2002); Key Issues in Estate Planning and Probate in Florida (Chapter: “Protecting the Passage of Wealth”), National Business Institute (1997); Advanced Estate Planning Techniques in Florida (Chapter: “The Use of Family Limited Partnerships in Estate Planning”) National Business Institute (1995).  Mr. Coleman was the Florida Director of Asset Protection Planning for the Florida Physicians Association from 1997 to 2006, and is a member of WealthCounsel, LLC, a national association of estate planning and wealth preservation attorneys and lawyers, National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys, and ElderCounsel, LLC, a national association of elder law attorneys.

Mr. Coleman and The Coleman Law Firm are listed in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers, which lists only those select lawyers who have earned the A-V® Rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have therefore been designated by their colleagues as pre-eminent in their field.

Mr. Coleman has also received a 10.0 out of 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO.

Mr. Coleman is a member of The Florida Bar, and The American Bar Association.  Mr. Coleman is a graduate of the University of Florida of (BSBA ‘72) and the University of Florida College of Law (JD, with honors ‘78), and has served on the Executive Committee of the UF College of Law Alumni  Council.  He was a practicing certified public accountant for six years prior to entering private law practice in 1978.

We are a participating attorney in the AARP Legal Services Network.

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