What is the Difference Between a Revocable and Irrevocable Trust?

If you have started looking into estate planning options, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Estate planning can seem complicated, as there are many possible mechanisms and trusts that can be employed. However, once you understand the basics, it is easier to determine which of these options will truly meet your needs. If you are wealthy and have a large amount of assets, a trust may be an excellent option for you. The choice between a revocable or irrevocable trust is a personal choice, based on what you are looking to get out...

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Understanding Guardianship

In Florida, guardianship is a legal proceeding by which a competent individual or qualified institution is appointed as the guardian of an incapacitated person. This guardian then has the authority to exercise the legal rights of the incapacitated person on their behalf. In some cases, a bank trust department may be appointed to care for the incapacitated person’s assets.  What Constitutes an Incapacitated Person? In order to be deemed incapacitated, a person does not actually have to be comatose or entirely unable to function. Rather, a person is deemed incapacitated by the court if they are found unable to manage some of...

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Can I Amend My Living Trust?

Estate planning can seem like a daunting endeavor. Many people mistakenly believe that it is something they can do once and then be done forever. In reality, a person’s estate is rarely static. Rather, they acquire and part with assets regularly and experience major life changes such as getting married or divorced, having children, starting businesses, and suffering the loss of loved ones, all of which affect their estate. Estates are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that estate plans would need to change over time to reflect the evolving needs of the estate and its benefactor. Luckily, that...

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The Pour-Over Will: A Critical Estate-Planning Safety Net

If you live in Florida, it is important to understand probate. Probate is the process of distributing a decedent’s assets and settling their debts after they die. Probate can take months or even years to complete and during this time the decedent’s heirs do not have access to the assets. If the heirs were financially dependent on the decedent while they were alive, this can create great financial hardship. Additionally, probate can be a costly process due to lawyers’ fees, which are all paid out of the assets prior to their distribution. If it is a complex estate or if...

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Top Three Florida Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning can seem like an overwhelming and unpleasant endeavor. No one wants to think about death; it is much more pleasant to imagine we will live forever and hope the details will just sort themselves out. However, it can actually be a huge relief to get your affairs in order. With the help of an attorney, many people find it is not nearly as cumbersome a process as they thought.  Part of the problem is that for many people, “estate planning” can seem like a somewhat vague and daunting process reserved for the wealthy. However, estate planning is really just...

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Pandemic Estate Planning: Why Make a Living Will?

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered and affected nearly all aspects of our lives, and we have worked hard to adapt by social distancing, home-schooling, and working remotely. One thing that some people may have overlooked in focusing on trying to stay healthy and survive the day-to-day challenges is thinking about what would happen if they actually got sick. It is understandable; it is far easier to survive each day when you are not also holding space for your own mortality and worst-case scenarios. Unfortunately, in our current climate, and with the virus spreading internationally, contracting COVID-19 is no longer a...

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How You Can Avoid Florida Probate and Why You Should

Unless you are a wills and estates attorney, you may not be intimately familiar with the concept of probate, but understanding what probate is and how to avoid it can make all of the difference when it comes to effectively distributing your assets after death.  What is Florida Probate?  So, what is probate? Probate is the process by which a person’s assets are distributed after their death. This process may involve settling debts, paying estate taxes, and distributing assets. Depending on the specific circumstances, probate can look different. For instance, probate will unfold differently depending on whether you have a valid will...

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Appointing a Florida Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives another individual the power to act as an agent on your behalf, for either a general purpose or a specific reason. The scope of the power of attorney can be tailored to your needs for the agent. For instance, you can execute a power of attorney that allows another individual to close on the sale of your home, sell your car, sign a contract on your behalf, or access your bank account. A power of attorney can be executed for just about any legal task, including forming wills, trusts, and giving gifts. Essentially, a power...

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Paying for Home Healthcare with Medicaid

Just because you worked hard to save up money your whole life does not mean that you want to spend that hard-earned savings on medical care. Sadly, Americans are facing a crisis of rising healthcare expenses, and many seniors find their entire retirement savings end up going to providing medical care for themselves and their spouses. Even the adult children of many seniors find themselves footing the bill for home healthcare and other related services that are simply too much for families to provide.  So, how do you ensure quality medical care late into your retirement, while preserving some of your...

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Three Things You Should Know About Special Needs Trusts

If you have a loved one with special needs or severe disabilities, then you might have at some point heard of a special needs trust. These special planning tools are widely regarded as a ‘silver bullet’ for protecting a disabled person’s right to state and federal aid, while preserving any inheritance or assets they may have. But before you run out and spend the time and effort to have a trust drafted for your loved one, there are a few key considerations that a lot of people overlook. Before signing anything or spending your hard-earned cash on an estate plan,...

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