"Death and taxes and childbirth. There's never any convenient time for any of them." — Margaret Mitchell

Estate, trust, asset protection and business planning questions influence nearly every family financial planning decision we make.  For example, many of our clients don’t know that business management agreements, such as shareholder agreements, corporate by-laws, operating agreements and partnership agreements can actually protect the hard built value of their family businesses from the reach of a divorce court and Equitable Distribution claim.  Similarly, many of our clients don’t know that the same agreements can also double as pre-marital or post-marital agreements or that an entity as simple as a one-owner limited liability company or family trust can protect separate assets from future divorce claims.

Every divorce case presents unique questions that require answers and present opportunities to plan for a sound financial future.  Stay-at-home care givers often suffer the tax consequences of unfortunate decisions made by the primary earning spouse.  Self employed individuals and family businesses wrestle with issues ranging from making the best choice of which business entity to use (e.g., sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships or limited liability companies), to planning for retirement, to providing tax-deductible health care benefits for family members, to writing wills, powers of attorney and health care instruments.  We help our clients organize their businesses, structure intelligent approaches to financing and credit management, ownership and succession planning, keeping business creditors away from personal family assets and protecting the future of your business for you and your family.

The phrase we hear most often from potential clients is: “I think I need help.”  While in most cases this statement is entirely true, the problems we routinely see are completely avoidable with a little advanced planning.   All too often, clients come to us when – to turn a phrase –  “the wolves are at the door.”  We ask why let the wolves arrive in the first place?  Why let a creditor threaten your family’s financial future?  Why let your spouse’s decisions to pursue divorce jeopardize the financial security you’ve worked so hard to create and protect?

At James Zisa Attorneys, P.A. we believe that planning for a good result secures a good future.   Talk to us; ask your questions and get answers relevant to you.  Often enough we can answer your questions in just one meeting.  For others, more extensive work is required, but most successful attorney-client relationships are based around the simple premise that a client, with a question, picks up the phone and gets an answer.  James Zisa Attorneys, P.A. offers a full scope of services for clients interested in discussing estate, trust and tax planning questions, and we pride ourselves in being a “one-stop” shop for all of your financial planning needs and our client’s certainly appreciate the convenience.


They say death and taxes are the only things that are inevitable. The truth is, you can not pay your taxes. I’ve done it, and there’s consequences, but it can be done. Death you’re not going to get out of, and you kind of got to deal with it.” — Steve Earle

Typically most “estate planning” engagements involve preparing four (4) simple, but crucial, instruments: 1) a Last Will And Testament; 2) a Durable Power Of Attorney; 3) a Health Care Power Of Attorney; and 4) a Living Will, or Advanced Medical Directive.

Having prepared these instruments, and more, for over 28 years we’ve summarized our answers to the most commonly asked questions we hear in a few articles titled Frequently Asked Questions, appearing under the FAQ Tab at the top of your screen.   Just click on any of the links appearing below for more information.   Even after reading this information, most of our clients still have more specific, technical questions and we are happy to help.  Feel free to call us with your questions.