Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets

Everything you own at the time of your death will be transferred to your heirs. However, not all your property will pass through probate. For example, when Chase B. died, he left behind property that included two homes, three cars, several retirement accounts, a thriving business, and a saltwater fishing boat. The personal representative of his estate started gathering Chase’s property, only to learn that some assets Read More

Will My Estate Have to Pay Federal Estate Taxes?

Not every state collects estate taxes. However, the federal estate tax potentially applies to everyone, though not everyone will have to pay federal estate taxes. The best time to worry about estate taxes is while you are working on your estate planning. You and your estate planning lawyer may be able to lower or eliminate your estate’s tax bill. What is the federal estate and gift tax exemption? The IRS sets a Read More

Florida Gun Trust: Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are a gun owner, you’ve probably heard of a Florida gun trust. You may know exactly what it is used for but may be wondering if you need a lawyer to help set one up. Continue reading to learn more about gun trusts and how your lawyer can help you avoid running afoul of federal law. The National Firearms Act of 1934 As amended, the NFA requires that certain firearms be registered with the federal government, Read More

Wealth Preservation Through Estate Planning

When you consider the goals of estate planning, typically people want to pass on their property and assets to their loved ones. People may preserve wealth by careful investments in rare coins, fine art, exclusive real estate, and other items estimated to maintain or increase in value. However, wealthy individuals may need innovative and comprehensive strategies designed with an eye toward wealth preservation through Read More

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