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Estate Planing

Monday, September 23, 2019

Updating Your Estate Planning


There are probably two times when people consider their estate planning documents. The first of these times is when you draw up the documents. The second time is likely when you need them.

Unfortunately, that could be a problem. There are a variety of reasons why you should review these documents every three-to-five years.
Read more . . .


Monday, February 26, 2018

Estate Planning: Should I Be Doing It?


 

What is the right age to begin consider estate planning? Should I only think about estate planning if I’m rich?

These are two interesting questions we often hear. The answers are really simple.

If you are an adult (18 or older), it’s not too early to think about estate planning. And while you may not be rich, you likely have assets that need to be considered should something happen to you.

As a young adult you may already have cash, life insurance or other assets that may have been given to you by your parents.


Read more . . .


Monday, January 8, 2018

Are Your Estate Planning Documents in Order?


With the holiday season just passed, many of us were fortunate to be able to visit with relatives we only see a few times a year. As always, we remind you to make sure that, especially if some of those relative are older, that you take the time to make sure their estate planning, medical and other important legal documents are in order.

But if you are a caregiver for an older family member or a child with special needs, it’s important to remember that your documents are in order as well.

Too often we focus on those for who we are caring, and we do not pay attention to ourselves. As a caregiver, that includes focus on your emotional and physical well-being.
Read more . . .


Monday, May 1, 2017

Estate planning for your pet: Who will take care of her when you pass away?


 

Some people love their pets as much as they love their human family. While we take the time and effort to create estate plans that protect our family members, how often do we do the same thing to protect our furry loved ones? In our practice, we are seeing more and more of our clients who want to be sure that their pets are properly provided for in their estate planning. If you have concerns about your pet’s treatment after you pass away, we can help you make proper arrangements and to be sure your estate plan considers your pets.

I recently attended a seminar called Creating Estate Plans That Work for Pets and Their People. The presenter was my friend and colleague Peggy Hoyt who practices law in Central Florida.
Read more . . .


Monday, December 12, 2016

Use Family Time to Discuss Estate Planning Issues


With the holidays approaching, there’s a greater likelihood that families will be gathering to celebrate. That often means this is the one time of the year children get to see their aging parents.

While we are not suggesting that you should not enjoy this time as a family, it is also an opportunity to discuss and review family estate planning issues.

Some questions to consider are whether any adult children are able and willing to assume the duties of the agent under a power of attorney, personal representative and/or trustee. Each has its own unique responsibilities.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Protecting a Vacation Home With Your Estate Plan


 

Family members may have fond memories of the vacation home you spent time in during the summer while growing up. But is that home protected for those children and grandchildren in an estate plan, or can it be lost when you pass away.

There may be a challenging financial problem to preserving that second home in the face of federal, state and local taxes. There may be additional obstacles as well to keeping that second home in the family. You have to consider where different family members live.
Read more . . .


Monday, September 26, 2016

Reviewing Your Estate Plan


When was the last time you reviewed your estate plan. If the answer is you don’t remember or when you first created it with your attorney, you are just like thousands of other people. But reviewing your plan on a regular basis is vital.

There are a number of reasons why you must review your estate plan. Here are a few: laws change, there are major life events like birth, marriage, divorce or death.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Asset Titles May Impact your Legal Documents


We are always reminding people of the importance of having an up-to-date Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will and the rest. But that may only be step one in the process of making sure your documents are in order.

The next step is to examine your assets to see how they are titled. You need to also examine your beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement funds. Until you do that, your estate plan is not complete.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It’s Never Too Early to Discuss Financial Preparations


Being young often gives people the feeling that they don’t have to plan for the future. And in some cases, while they may be smart enough to plan for retirement, they do not think about what happens to their estate if they die suddenly.

Often they assume they don’t have enough of an estate to worry about it, or they have no dependents yet, so why bother.

But there are several valid reasons for doing this early planning, not the least of which is taking away the burden for those you leave behind of having to track down your financial accounts or deal with any debt you may have.

The sad reality is people can die young.
Read more . . .


Monday, May 16, 2016

Who Should You Select as Your Executor?


When you consider your executor, or as is commonly known in Florida your personal representative, it is likely the last person you will ever ask to do something for you. Studies show that most people name a family member or friend as the executor of their will. But is that the right choice?

 Florida has very specific rules about who can serve in this role as an estate goes through probate, debts and taxes are paid and the balance gets transferred to the people entitled to it under your will.

 Florida statutes say your personal representative must be at least 18 years old and mentally and physically capable of serving – that is, not judged incapacitated by a court. Like many other states, Florida prohibits people who have felony convictions from serving as an executor.
Read more . . .


Monday, February 15, 2016

What If My Client Can’t Find a Loved One’s Will

Not being able to find a loved one’s will can be a stressful situation. However, if this does happen the most important thing to do is to simply keep calm. There are many ways to get around this even if a copy of the will is nowhere to be found. Here are some recommendations for when this does happen:

  1. Contact the probate court and see if the will has been admitted to probate. Chances are if this has happened, a family member or a lawyer has submitted the original copy.
  2. Look for a safe in your family member’s home. Many times people will keep important documents such as wills and financial records in safes somewhere in their home.
  3. If your loved one used an estate lawyer, look through financial records and checkbooks. Chances are the lawyer has the will or the trust that was signed.
  4. Look for the name of any financial advisors they may have used. Things like business cards can contain this information and the advisor may have the location of the document.
  5. Some people hide documents in places people would not normally look, like the refrigerator. Believe it or not some people do hide their wills in strange places.
  6. Reach out to other family members. if you do not know where the will is, chances are maybe someone else in the family might know.

 Communication is essential so that situations like this are kept under control. There are plenty of ways that a will can be found so it is important to stay calm and go through these steps.


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