Understanding Florida Simultaneous Death Law

During an accident or natural disaster, it may be difficult or impossible to determine which victim lived longer than the other. This type of situation can cause serious consequences for beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. Understanding the Florida Simultaneous Death Law may also make a difference in the estate planning choices you make. Simultaneous Death Law: What It Says Florida Statutes 732.601 Read More

The Team Approach to Probate

When Kevin passed away, he left an estate worth $3 million, property he owned separately, property owned jointly with his second wife, and both minor and adult children. He had not consulted with an estate planning attorney for many years, so his estate plan was not as current or up-to-date as it should have been. As his family and business associates squabbled over his estate, it became clear they needed to take a Read More

3 Reasons to Establish a Revocable Living Trust

Estate planning tools offer unique and useful benefits. Wills provide a way to distribute a person’s estate after their death. Trusts, including revocable living trusts, provide another way for individuals to accomplish their estate planning goals. Before deciding to establish a revocable living trust, consider why you might want to use a revocable living trust. Incapacity Unlike a Last Will and Testament, a Read More

The Out-of-State Personal Representative

Probate can become complicated, especially when an out-of-state personal representative is involved. What is a personal representative? The person who takes on the responsibility of shepherding an estate through probate is a personal representative. This person is also sometimes referred to as the executor. Someone who wants to serve as a personal representative must: Be at least 18 years of age, Never Read More

How Can a Spendthrift Provision Protect Your Heirs?

The thought of leaving a nice inheritance for your loved ones may bring a smile to your face. However, for some, it may cause a few worry lines instead. When you take a realistic look at your heirs, do you see any who may not benefit from a lump sum inheritance? If so, can a spendthrift provision protect your heirs? What is a spendthrift provision? It’s part of a document, a trust for example, that protects money Read More

6 Steps to Take When Executing an Estate

The person who executes or administers (the preferred term) an estate during probate is usually called the personal representative. The jobs of getting an estate through probate may seem simple. However, estates vary greatly in value and complexity. Generally, though, there are at least 6 steps to take when administering an estate. #1 Obtain Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate The personal representative may Read More

Do a Husband and Wife Need Separate Wills?

Many couples do all their financial and estate planning together. It seems expedient and keeps both of them completely informed. But is this always a good idea? Are there times when a husband and wife need separate Wills? His and Hers Estate Planning A joint Will is a single legal document that typically says the surviving spouse receives the entire estate. One big disadvantage to using a joint Will is that both Read More

Standalone Retirement Trusts and Your IRA

Trusts generally consist of a grantor or settlor, a trustee, and at least one beneficiary. Every trust also has another characteristic – a purpose. Trusts may be established to save taxes, protect assets, provide for someone with special needs, or distribute wealth to current and future generations. For Standalone Retirement Trusts, the purpose is to serve as beneficiary for qualified retirement funds, including Read More

Disadvantages of Irrevocable Trusts

Dave and Marge H. were interested in establishing an irrevocable trust. They had heard it might be a good estate planning option for them. However, they never considered the disadvantages of irrevocable trusts. Basic Trusts Trusts consist of at least one grantor, one trustee, and one beneficiary. After the grantor creates the trust, it must be ‘funded.’ The trust is just an empty vessel unless assets are Read More

What Is Probate?

Some of us have been involved in probate at some point in our lives. If probate is so common, why do we struggle to answer the question, “What is probate?” Read on to learn more about this common court proceeding. What Is Probate? It’s a Court Proceeding But there are many court proceedings: civil lawsuits, guardianships, criminal cases, and divorces just to name a few. What makes probate different? Probate is the Read More