Preservation Requires a Concerted Effort Florida Estate Planning, Probate, Tax, and Estate Litigation Attorney

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As an Estates & Trusts attorney in Panama City, Florida, I provide a full range of legal services for my clients' personal and business needs. This includes areas such as tax focused estate planning and estate administration (probate). The purpose of this website is to give an overview of my practice, but it should not be a substitute for calling me about your situation.

I also advise clients with business planning issues including complex business structures and closely held entities. Business principals should generally seek assistance before making decisions. Investor/Partnership agreements are an example of an area that can make the difference between long-term success and instant failure. Obviously, perfect documentation will not make a business successful; but a flawed foundation can break an otherwise viable opportunity.

Our Services How We Can Help You


I am a graduate of University of Florida, Levin College of Law and I received an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University. I started my legal career at a large firm in south Florida. I then moved to a practice with two local attorneys. As a sole practitioner, when you work with me, you will have the confidence of knowing who is ultimately responsible for handling your case.

As a Panama City probate attorney, I focus on assisting clients with estate planning, guardianship, probate, probate & trust litigation, taxable estates, trusts and wills. If you are interested in discussing how my services could help your particular situation, please consider giving me a call.

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Meet Your Attorney


I am an experienced estate planning & estate administration (probate) attorney. I assist clients with complex estate planning and estate administration / probate cases. Clients, creditors, and even attorneys who do not regularly practice in this area are often surprised by the results of seemingly insignificant clauses, maneuvers, notices, etc.

I help clients in Panama City with planning and administering both taxable and non-taxable estates. This is a two sided process, and a good working relationship with my clients is something I strive for. I am accessible to my clients, and try to provide a clear time frame for the project. Every client and their respective families will have particular needs, and I focus on preparing documents tailored to meet these needs. As such, I prefer to have clients that are also accessible to me (in terms of returned phone calls, e-mails, etc.)

  • What are some of the benefits of conducting business through a legal entity?

    One of the most important benefits is the protection of your personal assets against the claims of creditors. Generally speaking, directors, officers, managers, members, and stockholders (the interested parties) are not held personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business entity. The interested parties should be limited in their personal liability to the amount invested in the company. Another legal benefit is the transferability of ownership, which can be done either in whole or in part. Also, some estate tax planning options are only available to business entities. Retirement funds, such as 401ks may be established more easily. Also, a business entity can acquire and establish its own credit rating.

  • What are some of the mistakes people make when going into business?
    There are always risks involved in going into business. As most people know, a majority of small businesses do not succeed in the long run. Mistakes of new business owners may include the lack of a realistic business plan, underestimating costs and tax liabilities, and unfavorable business contracts/agreements. Even more problematic is a failure to understand the business or the marketplace, underestimating the competition, and/or not being effective at managing a business. Responsibility for these latter areas ultimately falls to the owners, but sound legal advice can substantially improve the chances of success.
  • How can I be protected from liability claims that arise from my business?

    Generally speaking, business owners doing business as limited liability companies, corporations, or limited partnerships do not have personal liability for the obligations or debts of the business. This assumes that no personal guarantees have been executed. If the business has been properly created, it is a separate legal entity. The details of formation are important, and the filing fees must be paid. If properly created and maintained, the assets owned by the business should be the only ones that are subject to debt or other liability considerations.

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I recognize that no two cases will ever be the same. Your story, your background, and your estate will be different. It is important to me that I can provide personalized care and attention to each case. I do not prepare "cookie-cutter" testamentary documents (wills & trusts). I'll be glad to speak with you if you are seeking probate representation, or if you would like to discuss your estate plan.

If you live or work in the Panama City area (Bay County and the surrounding counties), I will be happy to talk with you. As a Panama City Estates & Trusts attorney, I offer accessibility, accuracy, and a commitment to work efficiently. I assist my clients with everything from basic estate plans to preparing for litigation.

Do you need legal help with an estate, business, or tax issue? Please consider contacting Panama City probate attorney Max W. McCord III.