Practice Areas

Ms. Berry concentrates her practice in assisting Pinellas residents and their families with any of the special legal needs they may have in the areas of:

  • Estate Planning: This is the process of working with you to allow you to specify in advance how matters should be handled at your death. You make decisions as to who should get your assets at your death and when they should receive them. You may also need planning to minimize estate, gift and income taxes so that more of your assets go to your beneficiaries.
    • Wills and Living Trusts: Having a valid will insures that after your death your property will go to those individuals or organizations that you want to receive it.  A living trust gives you full control over your property while you are living but at your death allows your assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries without going through the probate procedure (court-supervised distribution of your assets), which may involve longer periods to get assets to your beneficiaries and higher costs, especially if you hold real estate in more than one state. They are also useful if you want an individual who does not live in Florida and who is not a blood relative to manage distribution of your estate.
    • Irrevocable Trusts: In essence an irrevocable trust is a legal arrangement that transfers property, real or personal, to an individual, a trustee, for the benefit of another or others. These trusts can be used to ensure proper management of gifts you make to minors or to minimize taxes or for special purposes.
  • Incapacity Planning: You decide who you want to handle your financial affairs and health care decisions if you should be unable to do so for yourself.
    • Living trusts:  The living trust can also be used to facilitate management of your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated.
    • Durable financial power of attorney:  You choose someone to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so
    • Health care planning: Health care surrogate designations are used to name someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Living wills specify how you want matters handled if your death is imminent or you are in a coma that becomes permanent.
  • Elder Law: You can plan to protect your assets in case of illness or for the benefit of a spouse or dependent with special needs.
    • Asset protection planning (Medicaid)
    • Special needs planning
  • Probate
  • Estate and trust administration