4465 Baymeadows Road Suite #3
Jacksonville, FL 32217

Phone: 904-733-9080
Fax: 844-570-2242

1010 Atlantic Avenue, Suite G
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

Phone: 904-733-9080

FOREFRONT LAW

Top Attorneys in Jacksonville, FL and Surrounding Areas

Forefront Law: Committed to Helping You

Forefront Law in Jacksonville, Florida provides personalized legal services to meet the needs and goals of individuals and families in the areas of divorce, estate planning, family law, and probate. Our mission is to fully understand the circumstances, needs, and goals of our clients and to develop customized strategies to accomplish them. We pride ourselves on excellent communication with our clients and flexibility in meeting their schedules, goals, and needs.

We serve clients throughout the state of Florida, as well as out of state clients who have family or assets in Florida. We are conveniently located in Jacksonville, Florida, where we can meet with you in person. Or, if you prefer, we have other convenient options to connect with you, such as video conferencing, email, and our client portal.

We’re the attorneys Fernadina Beach, FL and Jacksonville, FL can rely on. Here at Forefront Law, we can help you when facing pressing legal issues or concerns. We go to work on your case right away, keeping you informed every step of the way. Our focus is always on the client and how we can help meet your needs.

You Have Questions that Need Answers

Can you modify your will?

A Different Kind of Law Firm in Jacksonville, FL

Forefront Law is a different kind of law firm and here’s why:

• We offer flexible meeting options that suit you, such as in person, video conferencing, phone, including evening appointments.

• We offer flexible payment options. We accept credit cards and payment arrangements can be made in certain cases.

• We keep you informed as to the status of your case by email, phone, and our client portal.

• We are responsive and promptly respond to your questions and inquires usually within one business day.

• We stay connected to you, even after we have handled your legal issues.

 

Our Mission

As some of the most experienced attorneys in Jacksonville, FL and Fernadina, FL, our mission is to help clients manage and resolve legal issues that impact their lives and that of their family and business. We do this by creating trusting relationships with clients to advise and help clients meet their needs now and in the future.

Our Services

Estate planing involves preparing in advance for the transfer of assets at the time of death. A good estate plan should reflect the specific goals and needs of the client. Most importantly, a good estate plan should give you peace of mind. Everyone can benefit from estate planning; if you own any property (real or personal), then having an estate plan is a good idea.

When you plan your estate, you allow your loved ones and the courts to know what you want to happen to your possessions after you are gone. It also helps you better understand what assets you have and how much or how many of them you have. Beginning the process of estate planning will require that you start compiling lists of everything that you own, any accounts and property, and who is listed as beneficiaries to those possessions. This process can take time, so it’s important to begin sooner rather than later.

A written will, or a “last will and testament” in legal speak, is the way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. There are limits to what you can do with what you have after you’re gone, and a good lawyer will know these and help you answer any questions about wills you have. Wills usually list all property a person owns and who gets that property or what should happen to it. For example, the property may be split equally among a group of people by percentage (each person gets 25 percent), or it may be dispersed specifically (Bob gets the house, and Sue gets the money in the savings account).

Wills also have executors who are charged with ensuring the wishes of the deceased are carried out properly. An important part of a will is outlining what authority and duties the executor has so that he or she knows exactly what to do. A properly constructed will and estate plan help make the transition of property smooth and reduce the risk of court intervention.

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Probate is a court-supervised process of identifying the assets of a decedent (deceased), paying the debts of a decedent, and distributing the assets of a decedent to their beneficiaries. Distributing the assets of a decedent in a probate proceeding is necessary to pass ownership from the decedent to the beneficiaries.

When a person dies leaving a valid trust, a Trust Administration becomes necessary to carry out the wishes of the decedent’s as written in their trust. Our law firm will work with the Trustee and beneficiaries to have the trust administered in a timely and professional manner.

When a person dies and leaves an estate, and steps have not been taken to avoid probate, the will must be determined as valid by the courts. If no will is left, the court will have to decide the right steps to take based on who has claims upon the estate. This process takes time, most often somewhere around six months to a year. A period of delay is required to give creditors or unknown heirs a chance to press a claim against an estate.

During probate, the executor of the estate will have to take an inventory of assets, file important documents, keep track of who gets what and eventually file closing paperwork showing that the will has been executed properly so that the estate can be closed. Aside from knowing how to accomplish these tasks, a good lawyer will help clients keep track of deadlines and assist in this process in a professional manner.

There are also ways for estates to avoid having to go through probate, such as creating trusts, and our experienced attorneys in Jacksonville, FL can help clients decide if these options are right. Everything from the size of the estate to the number of claimants should be considered. Planning ahead now will help reduce the confusion, stress, and frustration those executing the estate will otherwise experience. It also provides a much greater likelihood that your wishes will, in fact, be carried out when you are gone.

Planning for the management and administration of your estate should you become incapacitated. An incapacity plan allows you to specify what should happen to you, to your property, and assets, if you become sick or hurt and cannot manage your own affairs.

  • Power of Attorney – giving another person the power to conduct business in your name, such as signing legal documents and handling money and accounts.
  • Advance Directives (Living Will and Healthcare) – a document that tells healthcare providers and family members what to do or what medical procedures you want if you become seriously ill.
  • Surrogate Designation – designating another person to make medical decisions for you in case you become incapacitated.
  • Pre-need Guardian – designating a person to serve as guardian before the need arises. One has the option to list multiple possible guardians in order of preference and to forbid certain guardians.

 

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Divorce is the process a married couple must go through when they want to permanently end their marriage. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that no blame or fault for the breakup is placed on either spouse.

In a no-fault divorce state, all that needs to be alleged is that the relationship is irretrievably broken. However, issues concerning blame do come up in later developments. For instance, courts will hear testimony and admit evidence that demonstrates fault on the part of a spouse when determining how property will be divided, the amount (if any) of alimony payments, and custody arrangements.

There are simplified methods of divorce in Florida, but they require broad agreement on the part of the couple getting divorced. If spouses agree that the marriage is irrevocably harmed and cannot continue and also iron out details about assets and how to divide them, then the entire process can move much faster. Assuming that there are complicating factors, such as disagreements about what is fair or children under the age of 18, a trial is usually required.

This process can be long and unpleasant. However, experienced attorneys Fernadina Beach, FL residents can trust will try to reduce stress and chaos, especially if children are involved, answer any divorce related questions, and ensure that all deadlines are met. Furthermore, a good lawyer will be a vocal advocate for an equitable distribution in which the client is given a fair ruling.

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Family law is an area of law that deals with all family and domestic relationships, including child support, child custody, and many other concerns. Family law encompasses all relationships and situations that affect the home, and particularly children.

Because this area of law concerns rather sensitive subjects, an experienced attorney may be critical when it comes to pursuing matters in court. During a divorce, adoption or other proceedings that involve children, courts are especially careful to take the child’s interests into account. Success in family law often hinges on one’s ability to demonstrate to the courts that a child will live in a safe and stable environment.

In addition to questions of custody, family law concerns questions of protection against hostile environments or persons. Domestic violence and child abuse are tragedies that courts must unfortunately address. Pressing charges or defending against such charges will tax anyone, and knowing how to navigate this landscape will almost certainly require the special knowledge and experience of an attorney.

Reproductive rights and domestic partnerships generally are also governed by family law. Issues in these areas are no less complicated than in others, but the exact nature of the cases is likely to be different merely because the legal bonds being dissolved or enforced are different. For example, determining biological parenthood, dividing property in civil unions, and emancipating minors are all found in family law.

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Guardianship allows someone called a Guardian to be appointed to handle the personal and financial affairs of an incapacitated person called a Ward. There can be guardianship for adults as well as for minor children. Guardianship is a court supervised process. Guardians act as surrogate decision-makers, responsible for making key decisions regarding personal and financial affairs. Guardianship is granted only as a last resort, when no least restrictive alternative is viable. This is because a guardian is allowed to exercise certain delegable legal rights for the Ward. There is plenary guardianship when a guardian exercises all delegable rights for the Ward, and there is limited guardianship when the Ward is capable of making some decisions. There is also guardianship of the person and/or property. Plenary guardianship by its nature is for both person and property.

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However title to land is obtained, it is critical that that title be free and clear of liens and levies along with any other circumstances that could bring ownership of the land into question. The process of obtaining clean title is most effectively accomplished by a civil court procedure known as quiet title action.

Under the principle of adverse possession, a person who does not have legal title to land obtains legal ownership based on continuous possession or occupation of the land without permission of the legal owner. For adverse possession to be successful the trespasser must be physically present on the property, exert control over the property, and must be in exclusive and continuous possession of the property for at least seven years.

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Whether you are starting a new business or planning the future for an existing business venture, the advice of an attorney can be invaluable. Forefront Law helps Florida entrepreneurs and business owners make informed decisions about their businesses and provides tailored recommendations and assistance with business formation matters. When you start a new Florida business, one of the most important decisions you will face is what type of business entity you should form. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer or one way to create your new business; the right choice for you will depend on a number of factors, including your goals, whether your business will have one or more employees, the potential tax impact to you, and the level of business formalities you are comfortable maintaining.

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We understand the complexity of civil litigation and the worry, frustration, and stress that people experience whilst going through the process. Our firm’s attorneys will focus on your civil litigation needs, from the initial consultation to the trial, in order to ensure that you are properly represented and obtain the resolution you want, or other remedies, such as specific performance, and does not include criminal accusations. Some cases may go to trial where a judge will determine the outcome but not all do.

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Leah (Avvo)
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"My experience with Forefront Law as my lawyer for an Estate Planning process exceeded my expectations. I find Forefront Law to be very knowledgeable, highly thorough, completely competent and up-to-date on the latest laws and the impact of those laws on my decisions. She offered options, and helped me understand the benefits and alternatives to the options. I highly recommend Forefront Law to anyone who is in need of assistance with Family Law, Estate Planning and/or Probate."
Marvin
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"I found Forefront Law, Judy-Ann Smith, Esq. to be a very competent lawyer, honest and carries out the thing that she promised to do for you. Highly rated, excellent."
Gene
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"After years of procrastination, I finally decided that it was time to start getting my affairs in order. Forefront Law turned out to be the perfect solution I was looking for. Judith Ann-Marie Smith was incredible at understanding my specific needs and goals as well as my fears and anxiety concerning this extremely important part of life. Judith immediately impressed me by asking the tough questions that we often times are afraid to ask ourselves. Utilizing a clear, simple and patient process (obviously a gift from above) she laid out a step by step plan of action while making sure that I understood each point. Her entire staff was extremely courteous and prompt in attending to my every need. I would consider it a catastrophic mistake for anyone interested in estate planning to underestimate the difference Forefront law can make in their lives. I know what they did for mine."
W.B.
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"Ms Poachman gave us exactly what we needed"
G.T.
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"Judy is an excellent attorney! and has a Great staff, wonderful to work with."
M.S.
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"Thank You All for Your Service and Guidance."
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