Pour-Over Wills: A Safety Net for Your Assets

Tightrope walkers need a safety net. Fire fighters also may use them when rescuing people from a burning building. It may surprise you to learn that even your estate planning may benefit from a safety net of sorts. A pour-over Will may prevent your assets from falling into the probate abyss or being devoured by estate taxes. Omitted Trust Assets. People often transfer their assets to a trust, intending that the Read More

What Are My Rights as the Surviving Spouse?

When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse has many decisions to make. It’s important to know a surviving spouse’s rights as those decisions are made. Fortunately, Florida statutes contain provisions stating certain surviving spouse rights. Will vs. Intestate The first thing to learn is whether the deceased person (the decedent) executed a valid Will. If so, probate assets will pass in compliance with the Read More

New Year’s Resolution – Time to Update My Estate Plan

New Year’s is a time of reflection. It’s a time to think of the happenings of the past year and look forward to life ahead. While you’re in a contemplative mood, make updating your estate plan a primary New Year’s Resolution. What Do I Need to Update? The past year may have dealt you some major life events. Births and deaths, marriages and divorces could all lead to changes in your estate planning documents. Even Read More

Recent Florida Residents: Have You Updated Your Will Yet?

Florida is the fourth most populous state in the USA, behind California, New York, and Texas. And it’s a fairly popular place for people to move to from other states. If you’re a recent Florida resident, you’ve probably already noticed differences in weather, culture, and laws. Until moving, many people don’t realize how different laws are from state to state. States even have customized estate planning laws. As soon Read More

Spendthrift Provision: Protecting Beneficiaries from Themselves

Most of the time, we have the best intentions when deciding who will get our property after we’re gone. A well-crafted, comprehensive estate plan can give the maker a sense of accomplishment, contentment, and serenity. During the estate planning process, though, people start to ask some hard questions about their heirs: Are my loved ones able to manage receiving a large sum of money or valuable property? Are they so Read More

How Divorce Affects Your Estate Plans

Divorce rates for people age 50 and older are rising. In fact, the divorce rate for people over age 65, nicknamed “gray divorce”, has almost tripled since 1990. Going through a divorce causes cataclysmic changes in every aspect of a person’s life, including where they will live and what possessions they will keep. Divorce even affects estate plans from the moment the divorce petition is filed until the ink dries on Read More

The No-Beneficiary Estate

Estates come in all sizes, both in the value of the estate assets and the number of people involved. Some people write Wills that name an executor and several beneficiaries. Some don’t. In fact, only about 44% of Americans have written a Will. But whether a Will exists, estate assets not disposed of in any other way must still be transferred to someone through a process known as “probate.” A person is referred to as Read More

Characteristics of Properly Executed Will

Legal documents are sometimes invalidated because they were signed incorrectly, not dated, not notarized, or not signed at all. Meeting legal requirements is especially critical when it comes to your Last Will and Testament. After all, people may not learn a Will is deficient until it is too late to have the testator re-do the document. It’s important to know what constitutes a properly executed Will. How can we Read More

No Will? There’s a Way: Florida Intestate Proceedings

When someone dies without leaving a valid Last Will and Testament, they are referred to as being “intestate.” But dying without a Will doesn’t mean there’s no estate to distribute to appropriate parties. It just means there’s no document stating how to do it. If there’s no Will, Florida law still provides a way to settle an intestate estate. One thing to note right away is that some assets pass to surviving Read More