If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of your chief concerns along with your health will certainly be the financial aspects of dealing with the disease. Mesothelioma is a severe form of cancer that will require specialized care at every juncture. The cost of treatment combined with lost wages can be financially crippling.

We can help you find medical treatment options and we can represent you in your claim for damages to cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages and the pain and suffering. At VanNess & VanNess, P.A., we not only counsel our clients through their mesothelioma claim, but also help them plan for their family's financial future.

As part of this process, we always make sure our clients have up-to-date estate plans, including: health care surrogate documents or medical powers of attorney, living wills, durable powers of attorney, last wills and testaments, and often, trusts. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various types of estate planning documents, prepare the appropriate documents and then oversee our client's execution of the appropriate documents.

Over the years, we've learned that mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims come about in different ways. In many cases, the amount of the damages received needs to be allocated among multiple interested parties. After a client passes, those proceeds are often distributed to his or her family and transfer-type taxes may then be levied upon the proceeds, depending on a number of factors. Many of our clients have found that Florida provides greater tax advantages, asset-protection opportunities and creditor protection than other states.

Tax And Asset Protection Advantages Of Living In Florida

Florida does not impose any of the state, inheritance, gift, income, intangible or generation-skipping taxes that many other states impose. New York, for instance, levies estate, income and generation-skipping taxes on its residents. For this reason, many people choose to change their domicile (state of residency) to Florida in order to avoid the imposition of significant tax burdens on themselves and, ultimately, their family.

Florida also has some favorable asset protection laws. One example of Florida's unique creditor protection is found in Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, wherein homestead property is exempted from levy and execution by judgment creditors. This means that a creditor cannot force the sale of your homestead to satisfy a judgment. Other advantages of Florida's asset protection laws include retirement benefits, life insurance policies, annuity contracts, life insurance proceeds, property that is owned as tenants by the entireties, medical savings accounts and college funds.

Establishing Florida Residency To Obtain Maximum Protection

In order to benefit from the tax advantages, asset protection opportunities and creditor protection afforded under Florida law, individuals need to make sure that they are residents (domiciled) in the state of Florida. At a minimum, individuals seeking to become residents of the state of Florida should meet the residency requirements, register to vote in Florida, get a new Florida driver's license, register vehicles in Florida and update other records with financial institutions to reflect Florida as the address of record. If you own a home in Florida, you should file for the homestead exemption.

There are additional steps that may also need to be taken in order to make it clear that Florida is a client's domicile so that they are afforded the tax benefits, as well as the asset and creditor protection of laws of the state of Florida.

The most important first step you can make, once you know you have contracted mesothelioma, is to contact an experienced attorney at VanNess & VanNess, P.A., to explore your options for compensation.