Your estate plan will likely be the most important set of legal documents and strategies you create during your lifetime. At Kulas & Crawford, we understand the challenges you will face when creating that plan. With that in mind, we are dedicated to helping our friends and neighbors in the Fort Pierce, Florida community with all their estate planning needs, both now and in the future.
The History of Fort Pierce, Florida
Situated on the “Treasure Coast,” named after the famed sinking of a Spanish treasure fleet in 1715, Fort Pierce is one of the oldest communities on the east coast of Florida. Incorporated in 1901, the city grew from 300 pioneers to approximately 41,000 residents today and encompasses approximately 29 square miles.
The area now known as Fort Pierce was originally inhabited by the Ais tribe, a hunter-gatherer culture whose territory extended from south of the St. John’s river to the St. Lucie Inlet. Spanish explorers often roamed the area that eventually became St. Lucie County. In fact, in 1715 a Spanish treasure fleet sank off the area that is now St. Lucie County, leading to the naming of the area as the “Treasure Coast,” a reference still used today. During the 19th century, the area was owned by Spain. The Spanish government issued several land grants in the area, including one to a settler named James Hutchinson. The grant contained 2,000 acres, and today, the barrier island Hutchinson Island still retains his name. During the middle of that century, Seminoles and runaway slaves often fled to the virtually uninhabited area. In December 1837, during the Second Seminole War, a group of soldiers under the command of Lt. Colonel Benjamin K. Pierce sailed down the Indian River and established a fort, naming it after their commander, hence the name Fort Pierce. During the latter half of the 19th century, settlers slowly began to venture into the “wilds” of Florida. A turning point was when the Flagler Railroad reached the area in the 1890s. The city of Fort Pierce was officially chartered in 1901. During World War II the United States Naval Amphibious Training Base was established in Fort Pierce on North and South Hutchinson Island. During its operation, over 140,000 troops were processed through the base, and after the war ended, many sailors and their families remained in the area, causing a population boom.
Fort Pierce, Florida Today
Fort Pierce, often called the Sunrise City, is located on the “Treasure Coast” of Florida and has been the hub of St. Lucie County, Florida for over 100 years. Covering approximately 20 square miles, Fort Pierce had a year around population of 42,645 residents according to 2012 figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. During the winter months, however, the city’s population swells as northern “snowbirds” flock to the warmer climate. Fort Pierce has received many impressive awards, including the 2005 City of Excellence Award by the Florida League of Cities for overall excellence in city government. In addition, in 2011, Main Street Fort Pierce, Inc. received the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in downtown and in 2015. Fort Pierce was named one of USA Today’s Most Idyllic and Historic Main Streets in America. USA Today applauded Fort Pierce’s downtown in its Aug. 11, 2014, edition in an article headlined, “Idyllic and historic main streets across the USA.” The publication describes Fort Pierce by saying “Swaying palm trees line the sidewalks, and the atmosphere evokes the early 1900’s when the city came into its own. Period Spanish architecture punctuates the downtown area, the star of which is the historic Sunrise Theatre. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is a must.” Also in 2015, Fort Pierce’s downtown Main Street was named No. 1 on a consumer-advocacy group’s list of “50 Best Small Town Main Streets” in America. The honor was given by Top Value Reviews, which ranked Fort Pierce top among cities with a population of 60,000. Without a doubt, residents and visitors to Fort Pierce would agree with the numerous awards and accolades the city has received.
Kulas & Crawford in the Fort Pierce, Florida Community
At the Kulas & Crawford, we understand how important your estate plan is to you and to those you love. Knowing that; we have devoted our practice to helping people just like you to create an estate plan that achieves all of your estate planning goals. Because your estate planning needs will change over the course of your lifetime, we strive to create a lifelong relationship with our friends and neighbors in the Fort Pierce, Florida community.
Estate planning is not something that is completed in one sitting and then forgotten – at least not when it is done properly. Instead, your estate plan is something that will need to be reviewed and updated throughout the course of your life as your needs and objectives change. When you first sit down to create an estate plan your primary concern may be simply ensuring that you do not leave behind an intestate estate. Consequently, a Last Will and Testament may be all you need. As you move through the various stages of your life, however, that Will may become inadequate to protect your assets and your loved ones. As such, you may find that you need to include additional components into your estate plan, such as an incapacity planning component or probate avoidance strategies. A trust may be needed to protect your minor child’s inheritance. As the value of your estate grows, you will need to consider tax avoidance and asset protection tools as well. Finally, as you look toward your “Golden Years,” you will want to incorporate your retirement plans into your estate plan and add Medicaid planning to your comprehensive estate plan along with funeral and burial planning tools to ensure that your final wishes are honored. At Kulas & Crawford, we would be honored to be with you throughout your life’s journey to help ensure that your estate planning needs, wishes, and objectives are fulfilled.
For more information, or if you have specific questions or concerns regarding estate planning, or wish to get started on your plan, contact the experienced Fort Pierce, Florida estate planning attorneys at Kulas & Crawford by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment.