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Where do we begin

The Estate Settlement Program provides you comfort and clarity when administering a loved one’s probate or trust administration.

Nothing is more difficult than losing a loved one. Lawyers ask you to sign legal documents, CPAs discuss tax returns and your financial advisors discuss repositioning asset portfolios. These are the people that you least want to deal with in your time of grief.

The Estate Settlement Program™ was developed by board certified attorneys with decades of experience. It consists of seven modules designed to lead you through your loved one’s probate and/or trust administration. You remain in control of all decisions, yet our experienced legal team guides you every step of the way, helping you navigate an otherwise complex legal, tax and financial world.

During one of life’s most difficult times,
you’re not alone in managing the legal, tax, and financial affairs
to best protect your family.

Expertise

Professional Team Led by Board Certified Wills, Trusts &
Estates Attorneys

Comfort

Holding Your Hand &
Easing Your Worries

Clarity

Committed to Providing You
Valuable Tools & Resources

Sign up to receive a FREE copy of Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies for valuable guidance and information!

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Your Estate Settlement Team

Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills,
Trusts & Estates Attorney, CPA

Bio: Craig R. Hersch has created several trademarked processes tied to his estate planning and administration practice, including The Family Estate & Legacy Program™ and The Estate Settlement Program™. He is the author of two books, Common Cents Estate Planning and Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies, and two additional books are anticipated for publication in 2016. His work has appeared in several professional journals, including The Practical Tax Lawyer, Trusts & Estates Magazine, and The Florida Bar Journal.

Michael B. Hill
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills,
Trusts & Estates Attorney

Bio: Michael B. Hill concentrates his practice in estate and wealth preservation and business succession planning. Michael has extensive tax, legal and technology skills, enabling him to create unique plans meeting client’s individual and family needs. Michael is a double graduate of the University of Florida, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1998, and his Juris Doctor, with honors, in 2001. Michael is a member of the Florida Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Lee County Bar Association.

Christopher E. Halkitis
Attorney-At-Law

Bio: Christopher E. Halkitis assists clients with all of their tax and estate planning needs, advising on and drafting simple and complex wills, trusts and other estate planning documents on a daily basis. Chris also works closely with the firm’s Annual Maintenance Program clients, keeping their estate plan updated with any law changes as well as changes in financial circumstances. Chris received his LL.M. in Taxation and his Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis.

Hayley E. Donaldson
Attorney-At-Law, CPA

Bio: Hayley helps guide family members in the trust administration and probate process after the passing of their loved one.  Additionally she assists clients with their tax and estate planning, drafting simple and complex wills, trusts, and related estate planning documents. Hayley received her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida, graduating first in her class. Hayley is also a Certified Public Accountant with a Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas and degrees in Accounting and Finance from the University of Miami.

The Family Estate & Legacy Series

Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies

by Craig R. Hersch (Author)

Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies is a book that accompanies The Estate Settlement Program™. Florida Bar Board Certified Attorney and CPA Craig R. Hersch reviews the differences between a probate and a trust administration, defines the role of personal representative (executor) under a will and the successor trustee of a revocable living trust, and walks you through the elements of a probate and trust administration. The legal, tax and financial issues surrounding your loved one’s assets are considered, as well as the role of your financial advisor and CPA. You’ll learn how continuing marital trusts and ongoing trusts for family members are established and administered, and what happens when a will or trust is challenged. The book explains these issues in “layman’s” terms, in an easy-to-read format.

Sign up to receive a FREE copy of Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies for valuable guidance and information!

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What Our Clients Are Saying

We found the legal team to be outstanding professionals, exceedingly knowledgeable, extremely thorough and expeditious, easy to understand, and very warm and caring. Without reservation, we enthusiastically recommend this wonderful team of advisors.
Tom & Ellen K., Fort Myers, FL
My wife and I began working with the Sheppard Law Firm in 1999. Initially, Craig Hersch helped us with an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust and related gift tax issues. The relationship grew into complete estate planning… something I always assumed would be “pretty far down the road.” Tragedy befell our family when my wife, Cathy, was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2015. The family was devastated and the last thing we had on our minds was dealing with the complexities of estate issues- legal, tax and financial. Craig had put a comprehensive plan in place. I challenged him about a number of my concerns, and you know what, everything Craig had put in place made the entire process effective and efficient, which was very important to me during this difficult time. Craig’s legal assistant, Aimee Balcer, was also a huge help to my entire family throughout the process. The Sheppard Law Firm is truly a great team to have working with you on estate planning.
Ted B., Fort Myers FL
Craig Hersch and his associates did a great job settling my father’s estate. We are most appreciative of their efforts. We also established a personal relationship through this process.
James D., Atlanta, GA
Craig Hersch has been my father’s attorney for many years. So it was with confidence that my family turned to him after our father’s passing to handle any legal concerns in the settlement of his estate. From the beginning, as the Personal Representative, I found Craig Hersch and his team to be thorough and helpful, all in a timely fashion, throughout the process. An initial conference was arranged to understand the family’s needs, to explain how the process would unfold and the specifics of how the firm would help manage the various steps. Communications from then on were regular, prompt and to the point, with additional conference calls bringing in all pertinent players arranged as needed. I highly recommend the Firm to anyone seeking thoughtful and experienced help through a similar situation.
Lynn F., Tarpon Springs, FL

Craig and his team did a very thorough job which was well thought out and executed.  He took the time to guide us in all phases.  He brought clarity to a complex situation.  Follow his advice, the process is worth your time and effort.

Roger S., Fort Myers, FL

It seemed as though everyone’s goal was to make everything as easy and comfortable for us as possible.

Judith P., Fort Myers, FL

My husband recently passed away and all of this was new to me.  Chris and his team were kind, patient and extremely helpful.  They made every effort to explain everything in simple terms and made sure that I was comfortable with each step and understood everything.  I would recommend this office to anyone needing their services.

Linda C., Fort Myers, FL

When my mom passed away, it was a very upsetting and confusing time.  Luckily she had the foresight to consult with Michael Hill and had introduced us to his law firm and staff.  The process of settling the estate and trust went smoothly and Mr. Hill took care of every detail (including working with our out-of-state holdings and banks).  We were so thankful for his professional approach and his assurances that we are having him handle our estate and help our children in the same way he helped us.

Bob & Judy E., Ocala, FL