October 2009 Archives

October 30, 2009

Clearwater Probate Lawyer Information

St. Clearwater Probate court is located in Pinellas County. Clearwater does not have any unusual probate fees.

The Pinellas County Courthouse is located at:
     315 Court Street
     Clearwater, Fl 33756
     Tel: (727) 464-3267.

The Pinellas News is the official newspaper used for publications and notice to creditors.
    Telephone: (727) 894-2441
    Website: http://www.pinellas-news.com/
    Probate Publication Cost: $225

If you need help filing a Clearwater Probate or are a creditor or beneficiary of a Clearwater probate and are looking for legal representation in the Probate case, email a Florida Probate Lawyer or call 904-685-1200.

You may also request the Free Florida Probate Handbook for more information.

Information last updated 10-30-09

October 29, 2009

Asset Protection and Fraudulent Transfers

Under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act (UFTA) whether a transfer is considered fraudulent boils down to two basic issues.

1) Actual Intent 2) Insolvency and Transfer for less than full value

The intent of the transfer is whether it was done to avoid payment or reach of a potential creditor that existed at the time the transfer took place. It is possible to have an intent other than to avoid the creditor's reach that is not fraudulent. Often people want to transfer assets to others for little or not value, this is a problem because of the second issue.

Generally there is a 4 year look back on transfers under the UFTA. A well prepared Florida Estate Planning can deal with many of the issues involved with Florida Asset Protection to help protect you and your families future.

October 28, 2009

Asset Protection and Protecting Against Outside Creditors

Florida Asset Protection typically deals with protecting assets from Inside creditors and Outside creditors. Outside creditors are those creditors whose claims arise the business entity and are then assert4ed against the business, real estate, or asset.


It is possible to protect against Outside debts or creditors by using a business entity like a:

Limited Liability Company

Note corporations to not protect assets against Outside Creditors.

Remember its not enough to protect against outside creditors alone, you must also protect against inside creditors. When reviewing your Florida Estate Planning you should look to protect from inside and outside creditors with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer and a Florida Asset Protection Lawyer .

October 28, 2009

Asset Protection and Inside Creditors

Florida Asset Protection typically deals with protecting assets from Inside creditors and Outside creditors. An inside creditor is a creditor whose claim is directed against the business or real estate that is owned and operated within a business entity.
It is possible to protect against inside debts or creditors by using a business entity like a:

C Corporation
S Corporation
Limited Liability Company

Remember its not enough to protect against inside creditors alone, you must also protect against outside creditors also. When reviewing your Florida Estate Planning you should look to protect from inside and outside creditors with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer and a Florida Asset Protection Lawyer .

October 28, 2009

Asset Protection for Business Owners

Florida business owners are one of the groups of individuals who need Florida Asset Protection. There are two types of risks that business owners are at risk of loss. First is the risk that comes from within the business. The second type of risk comes from their personal life and may put their business and income at risk. It is important to structure your business and personal assets to minimize the risk to a loss. The first step a Florida business owner should take is to review their Florida Estate Planning with an eye towards reducing risks from assets to themselves, assets to other assets, as well as personal liability to assets that you own individually or within a business entity.

October 18, 2009

Virtual Adoption in Florida

Virtual adoption is not defined under the Florida Statutes. There was a recent Florida Bar article entitled Virtual Adoption: Not Just for Netizens written by Brian R. Dolan and Joel M. Commerford.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal listed the following elements which are necessary to establish a virtual adoption:

1. An agreement [to adopt] between the natural and adoptive parents;
2. Performance by the natural parent[s] of the child in giving up custody;
3. Performance by the child by living in the home of the adoptive parents;
4. Partial performance by the foster parents in taking the child into the home and treating the child as their child; and
5. Intestacy of the foster parents.

All five elements must be present, and these elements must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

A virtual adoption means that the person is an heir and a possible PR.

October 16, 2009

When to review your Florida Estate Plan.

Many of my Jacksonville Estate Planning clients ask me when and how often they should review their Florida Estate Plan. I like to recommend that people take a look at their situation on a yearly basis and if they notice any of the following, they should make an appointment with their Florida Estate Planning Lawyer.

1. Change or contemplation of change in Marital status;
2. Death of spouse;
3. You or your spouses' health changes;
4. Death or change in the health or marital status of a trustee, executor, guardian, or beneficiary;
5. If you change your residence or move to another state;
6.. Change in or anticipation of the number of children or grandchildren whether by blood or adoption. Consider step-children also;
7. Any disabilities, health issues, or significant factors on lifestyle of children or grandchildren;
8. If you buy, sell, or contemplate buying or selling a business.
9. Upon the discovery of a hereditary issue that will or might affect you in the future; or
10. Change in tax law or its been more than two years since you reviewed your plan with your attorney.
We offer complimentary Florida Estate Planning reviews for our clients and those who have used another attorney in the past. Our goal is to provide the best protection for your and your family members. We often find that even some of the most expensive estate plans do not take into consideration the divorce or issues with your children. While some of us like our children-in-laws better than our own children, many do not want the future ex-spouse of our children to inherit 1/2 our our child's inheritance.

October 15, 2009

Trust Mill Fined 6.4 Million in Ohio

American Family Prepaid Legal Corporation and Heritage Marketing, their officers and employees have been bared from the practice of law for in over 3800 acts by participating in an illegal Trust Mill.

The firms sent direct mail ads to Ohio residents over the age of 65containing exaggerated claims regarding the costs and complications of disposing of their assets through a will. Then those that responded were targeted with high-pressure in-home presentations in which American Family’s non-attorney sales representatives provided them with legal advice including inflated “estimates” of the costs of probating their estates and the purported savings the customer would realize by purchasing American Family’s standardized living trust document – regardless of the size or composition of that individual’s estate or his/her existing estate planning documents.

We see these all the time and its important to remember that not everyone needs a trust nor is a trust the best solution for everyone. Its important to discuss you specific circumstances and objectives with an Jacksonville Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to determine what is the best procedure for you and your family.

October 14, 2009

Estate Planning & Trust Administration with Genetic Material

As the use of genetic material becomes more accepted, the issue of what and how to deal with it has begun to be an important part of estate and trust planning and administration. Not only could this change distributions or dilute inheritance, but without guidelines or requirements for the disposition of genetic materials, there could be a conflict between the legal requirements of a trustee and what is ethically permissible as well as legal at the time of your death. The Wills, Trust & Estate Professors Blog has an article that references Jerry Coopers's article on Trust Administrators Tool-Up for Custody and Care of Client's Genetic Property.

October 12, 2009

When not to us a Living Trust in Florida

Florida Revocable Trust's are often used to avoid problems. The North Carolina Estate Planning Blog has an interesting article on when you should not use a Living Trust.

1. You want the court to dictate how your estate is handled.
2. You favor supporting the government, so you like the idea of your estate paying thousands of dollars in court fees.
3. You believe testamentary dispositions and lists of assets should be public record.
4. You want your executor to experience the joy to traveling to another state to handle probate in the location in which you own your timeshare, land, vacation place, etc.
5. You know your executor will enjoy filling out and signing lots of forms; after he or she has nothing better to do.
6. You know your family will not mind waiting for all the minute details of probate to be completed before the estate is closed and the assets distributed.
7. You are glad that the court clerks are kept busy, so a several month delay in approving a final account is no big deal.
8. An finally, you favor supporting lawyers, so you don't mind your estate paying thousands of dollars in attorneys fees for ensuring that the court requirements of probate are met.

While this article is from a sarcastic point of view, there are sometimes when the court forced supervision over probate is an advantage to the uncertainty of trust disputes. Florida has taken steps to make the Florida Revocable Trust a better tool to use than in many other states. Florida now provides for a short 6 month statute of limitations on trust disputes when proper notice is given.

October 2, 2009

Can a Florida Resident Create a Will Outside of Florida?

If you are a resident of the state of Florida, you may create a will in another state. You do not have to create a Florida Will or execute a Florida Will within the state of Florida.

There are some areas of a will that even if executed in another state may not be valid in Florida. For example many states do not have the same restrictions on who can be a guardian or the formalities required to execute a will. Most wills, other than with a holographic will, that are validly executed in another state will be valid in Florida.

Florida requires that holographic wills be executed with the same formality as another will and does not recognize the exceptions for a handwritten will that some other states do.

In a Florida Will you must name a relative or resident of Florida to be a guardian for a minor child.

If you would like a Florida Will created for you or would like your Florida Will updated or reviewed please contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer