As of September 20th 2011,the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule that has been in force for about 18 years is gone. The end of this policy marks a victory for Mayport gay and lesbian military personnel.

Now Mayport gay sailors and soldiers who don’t have to fear the loss of their military career because of their sexual orientation can feel free to obtain the legal advice and

LGBT legal documents

which will not only protect them but their relationships as well.

There are several

Estate Planning

Documents that will enable Jacksonville military men and women to provide for their loved ones. Same-sex couples do not have the inherent rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. Preparing a


Trust and

Advance Directives

will ensure that your decisions are honored when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.

Same-sex couples are often encouraged to consult with a

Mayport Attorney

to learn about other ways to legally ensure that you, your partner, and your children are provided for not only now but in the future as well.

Mayport gay and lesbian naval and military members can feel comfortable consulting with a

Mayport Law Firm

that accepts them for who they are, not who they love or how they love.

Estate Planning.jpgWe all need someone to look after us and care for us when we become part of the eldery population. We also need to take care of our spouses, our children, and our loved ones, when we have passed away. Looking to, and preparing for our future is in a nutshell, what Estate Planning in Jacksonville is all about.

Florida Estate Planning can be as simple as having your Florida Will, Florida Living Will, Florida Designation of Health Care Surrogate, and Florida Durable Power of Attorney prepared. You can also have different types of trusts prepared if you would rather have your assets managed by a trusted individual, after your death. In Florida, Trusts are also a great way to minimize your taxes as well as to manage your assets.

Preparing for future medical and financial decisions to be made on our behalf in the event of our incapacity, or illness, is the reason we prepare a Living Will, Do Not Resucitate Order, Health Care Surrogate Designation, and Power of Attorney.

Preparing for future disposition of our assets and property is the reason we “Estate Plan”. Whether you live in a large home or a small home, have extensive assets or are just scraping by, whatever we own as individuals, (real property, personal property and intangible property) is important. What we pass on to our loved ones has value to us and to them.

No matter what you have as assets and property, make sure it is protected when you pass away. Prepare now and your family won’t have the burden of going through the difficult process of grieving, while at the same time having to make decisions on your behalf, when you have not put your wishes and desires down in writing.

In a nutshell, Estate Planning in Floridais easy, just call a Florida Estate Planning Attorney to schedule an appointment today.

Jacksonville Elder Abusecouple.jpgRecently in the Jacksonville news there was a disturbing story about Florida’s senior citizens being exploited. Men posing as bank investigators were targeting Jacksonville women in their 70’s and 80’s. These women were being told, among other things, that illegal activity was occurring in their bank accounts, thereby paving the way for the con men to obtain crucial bank account information.

As a Jacksonville Elder Law Attorney, this is just one of the many horrific stories I hear about our Florida Elderly population being taken advantage of and exploited.
The Florida Statutes provide for a remedy when abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly person or disabled adult occur. This abuse can take the form of financial theft and exploitation, or the intentional infliction of physical or psychological harm. The amount of money involved, the nature, the and severity of the injury will determine the degree of the crime.

Sadly family members and friends often take advantage of the elderly. In addition, Acquaintances, such as the hairdresser, caretakers, or neighbors, are also guilty of exploiting Florida’s older population. If you live in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, and feel like you are being treated in an abusive manner, or feel like money or property is being taken without your consent, contact a Jacksonville Elder Law Attorney.

DNR.jpgFlorida elders know the importance of having a Living Will prepared. A Florida Living Will is a legal document, which expresses a person’s wishes as to life-prolonging procedures. A Living Will typically only comes in to play when certain legally defined conditions exist. These conditions are:

  • a Terminable Condition;
  • an End-State Condition; and
  • a Persistent Vegetative State

An Eighty year old granddmother made her wishes plain as day, when she had the words “Do Not Resuscitate” tattooed across her chest. She is not kidding around. Just in case emergency personnel find her face down, a large tattoo “PTO” with an arrow is inked on her back. It’s not that this Octogenarian has a death wish, it’s just that her feelings are Strong that she not be kept alive through artificial means. If she is in a vegetative state, she does not want her family to remember her as a “lump”.

When asked whether her tattoos were legally sufficient, a General Medical Council spokesman stated that most doctors would ignore her DNR tattoo. He said her DNR wishes need to be put in writing and witnessed, or for a health surrogate to be designated.

Moral of story. . . before you get inked, consult with a Jacksonville Advance Health Directives Attorney about having the legal documents prepared to express your end of life health care wishes. A Florida Living Will, executed pursuant to Florida Statutes, establishes a rebuttable presumption of clear and convincing evidence of a person’s wishes.

Circumstances change, possessions change, homes change, has your Will changed? As a Middleburg Estate Planning Attorney, I have heard many “will” stories, not all of them have a happy ending.

A Florida woman was left a home in her father’s Florida Will . Her brother was left money in the amount equivalent to the value of the home. Her father sold the home before he died, but failed to update his Florida Will to provide for his daughter.

If the subject matter of a specific gift is not in the estate at the time of the testator’s death, the specific gift, (in this case the house) will fail and the person who should have received the gift will take nothing. This is called “Ademption by Extinction“, in other words, the house no longer belongs to the deceased and therefore it cannot pass to his heirs.

Although nothing precludes the heir from contesting the will, this is a time-consuming and costly endeavor guaranteed to cause stress. A better plan is to consult with a Middleburg Wills Attorney. An attorney will review your current Will, and make suggestions as to how you can prevent similar scenarios. If you no longer own the mint condition mustang that you devised to your granddaughter, she may be quite disappointed when she realizes she receives no car or anything else.

If you have already had your Will prepared, that is great. However, life changes, what we own changes, our heirs may change. If your Will is not updated to reflect what your circumstances are now, it will not reflect what your true intentions are.

The IRS just released Notice 2011-76 that extends the filing deadline for Forms 706 and 8939 for estates of decedents dying in 2010.

The Notice provides that large estates of people who died in 2010 will have until early next year to file various required returns and pay any estate taxes due. In addition, the IRS is providing penalty relief to certain beneficiaries of these estates on their 2010 federal income tax returns. This relief is designed to give large estates, normally those over $5 million, more time to comply with key tax law changes enacted late last year. Specifically, the following relief is given:
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Last Will and Testament 1.jpgMany Middleburg families have thought about their future and what they want to happen upon their incapacity or death. However, many Middleburg families have not made that important call to consult with a Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney about memorializing their thoughts in valid legal documents.

When you plan in advance you make your own decisions, you pay less, and you rest comfortably knowing that if you become incapacitated, and when you pass away, you have important legal documents in place. Legal documents that direct what you want to happen, to your children, your assets and you.

If you are a parent, whether you are married, divorced, or single, you must consider who will take care of, and provide for your minor children in the event of your incapacity or death. It is important to designate in a Forida Will or Pre-need Guardianship document your choice of who would be your child’s guardian. Better that you make this choice than a judge.

You may not have minor children or any children, however, you still want to control what individuals inherit your assets. If you do not prepare your Will, the State of Florida will distribute Your assets according to state law, which may be in conflict of what you may have wanted.

Middleburg residents should also discuss with an Attorney about appropriate legal documents needed to designate the person you want to make those important personal, health care, and financial decisions, in the event that you are incapacitated, or are suffering from a serious illness or injury.

A Middleburg Estate Planning Attorney is able to advise you as to what documents are best suited for your needs.

It is the PR’s job in a Florida Probate case to take actions to gather the assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries. When wrongful death claims are not assets subject to distribution under Florida Probate, it is the personal representative of an estate who pursues a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida or another state. The Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyer will often work directly with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to pursue the claim for the family and children of the decedent.

The Yale Daily News is reporting that

The estate of former pharmacology student Annie Le GRD ’13 filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University in New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday, alleging that pervasive sexual harassment at the University “emboldened” her killer, Raymond Clark III, who is serving a 44-year sentence for the murder and who the suit claims was hired through Yale’s negligence.

While many states have broader statutes dealing with wrongful death claims, Florida limits which family members can have a claim and often when an elderly person dies, the adult children may not be able to file a claim.

It is important to talk with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer who is familiar with the Florida Wrongful Death Statute and requirements so that the correct form of probate is opened and unnecessary estate or personal assets are not waisted when there is no claim that can be recovered.

Florida asset protection for homestead- House.jpgOften families have vacation property that has been owned for may years or generations. It would be virtually impossible for most children to acquire or maintain these types of properties in today’s market.

We often use business entities or trusts to hold title to the property and other assets to help provide for the management and expense of owning and operating a vacation home. When the property is going to be inherited by more than one child or family. An operating agreement or trust agreement can provide rules for handling allocation of time, and expenses among the children and their families.

If you have a family beech or lake home or a ski lodge you may want to talk with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer about how to protect the property from your creditors, the creditors of your children, and disputes between your children regarding the use and expense sharing of the home in the future.

When protecting one’s assets in Forida a Florida Asset Protection Lawyer will often look at the stying of accounts and other personal property.

There are situations when having a Bank account in the name of a husband and wife as tenants by the entireties can offer additional protection from creditors. In Florida if you open joint bank account or certificate of deposit (CD) and the joint owners are the husband and wife, the account will have the benefits of a tenants by the entireties account. The statute seems to allow for husband AND wife as well as husband OR wife and does not indicate any issues as to when or how the account was opened or if a spouse was added at a later time. Florida Statute 655.29(1) is very limited and does not establish TBE status on other types of accounts or personal property that you may own. It is important to review the way in which you hold title to your personal property to make sure you will be afforded creditor protection.

655.29(1) Unless otherwise expressly provided in a contract, agreement, or signature card executed in connection with the opening or maintenance of an account, including a certificate of deposit, a deposit account in the names of two or more persons shall be presumed to have been intended by such persons to provide that, upon the death of any one of them, all rights, title, interest, and claim in, to, and in respect of such deposit account, less all proper setoffs and charges in favor of the institution, vest in the surviving person or persons. Any deposit or account made in the name of two persons who are husband and wife shall be considered a tenancy by the entirety unless otherwise specified in writing.

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