Estate Planning for the Single Adult

Esther shrugged as she read the headline, 4 Common Estate Planning Errors and How to Avoid Them. She didn’t bother to read the article. Esther thinks because she is young, single with no kids and a modest bank balance that she does not need an estate plan. Esther is wrong. Even single adults – young or not-so-young – need to do their estate planning. A Simple Will. Most adults own something – a car, furniture and Read More

Understanding Where You Stand: Florida’s Elective Share Statute

Roslyn and Martin’s marriage was troubled. They never divorced or even separated, but Martin’s anger got the best of him at one point. He decided to remove Roslyn as a beneficiary on all his retirement accounts, checking accounts, and savings accounts. He quietly retitled some business property to prevent her from receiving any benefit from it after his death. After his death, Roslyn was shocked to learn that her Read More

Competency: How to Know When Someone Is Capable of Signing a Will

Grandpa Joe’s family knew he needed to make a Will. He had even asked his granddaughter, Abigail, to take him to an estate planning lawyer. But he had also wandered out of the house in his pajamas and called Abigail by his late wife’s name several times. They were concerned about his competency. How could they know whether he was capable of signing his Will? Due in part to our rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation, Read More

4 Common Estate Planning Errors and How to Avoid Them

Some mistakes don’t show up right away. When people make estate planning errors, they may never know what they did. Their loved ones will find out, though. But, there are ways to prevent errors that may cause your family unnecessary grief. It just takes some careful planning and communication. Lost Assets Martha did not trust banks. Instead of depositing her money into a checking or savings account, she hid it in Read More

Preserving Memories: Keeping Your Vacation Home in the Family

You spent summers there, squishing sand between your toes while ocean breezes ruffled your hair. Your own children played under the lofty pines in the front yard while discovering the house’s secrets and building lifelong bonds. Now, your grandchildren eagerly await their time on the front porch swing with you. Preserving memories is important. Keeping your vacation home in the family starts with including it in your Read More

Florida Probate System

When people engage in estate planning discussions, the subject of probate is probably going to come up. Many people actively try to avoid probate. Yet, many people have poor estate plans that don’t protect them from probate or, even worse, don’t even have an estate plan. If you find yourself in the middle of a probate proceeding, it will help to understand the Florida probate system. The Purpose of Read More

2 Reasons to Disinherit a Family Member

Family members can engage in disagreements that last for years. Some families consist of people existing at very different levels of success. Both of these factors are often taken into consideration during estate planning. They’re only two of the reasons someone might want to disinherit a family member. Sometimes, as heart breaking as it can be, parents feel they must disinherit a child. It could be that the Read More

How and When to Revoke Estate Planning Documents

People may want to revoke their estate planning documents for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’ve become estranged from the friend or family member you named as your personal representative or agent. Or you’ve decided to give your estate assets to a new set of beneficiaries and want the change to happen now. Knowing how and when to revoke estate planning documents can save you some time and stress. How to Revoke Read More

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