Articles Posted in Estate Planning

The Miami Herold is reporting the there is a surge in people asking for wills to be written.

The article states:

Lawyers are being bombarded with requests to write wills, update estate plans and prepare health surrogate or “pull the plug” documents as people are confronted by the realization that they could be diagnosed with COVID-19 and dead within days.

Why Estate Planning matters during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what you can do to prepare.

On March 17th, the outbreak of Coronavirus has grown to at least 4,226 cases, and numbers are still growing. According to the CDC, Florida alone is ranging from 101-200 reported cases, and the elderly is a suspectable target. The elderly and those with any underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problem, and diabetes are more like to see an increase in this serious illness. As Coronavirus continues to sweep through the nation, this leaves many individuals with the feeling of uncertainty. Many advisors are continuing to tell individuals to “stay the course” and ride this rollercoaster out. This advice leaves people uneasy when looking back from the lessons that were learned in 2008. Time is valuable right now to take action for this pandemic. We have an obligation to prepare and protect our loved ones in this infectious crisis. While this topic is always a hard conversation to have, estate planning is now more than ever a critical tool that can be used to assure that your wishes are carried out in the event of death or incapacity. There are four essential estate planning documents that can help ease the uncertainty of this pandemic and provide a plan for the Coronavirus.

A Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney:  A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone you choose the ability to have the power to act on your behalf and make decisions. This can be done through a Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney, which is essential during an outbreak like Coronavirus. This will ensure that you receive the healthcare needed if you become ill.   Until May 1, we are offering a free Healthcare power of attorney with COVID-19 specific provisions.  See this article.

In Florida, an estate plan provides you a plan for what happens to your assets at your death. Another crucial part of your estate plan, specifically your will, is where one nominates who will be the guardian of any minor children. Although the court will decide what’s in the best interest of the child(ren), having an estate planning document that details your preference in place will hold considerable weight. Estate planning is important for anyone who has legal capacity, whether it may just entail power of attorney or medical care or extend to a full-featured plan, which would include trust and a will.  Today with the current situation with COVID-19, it is more important than ever to have a Medical Power of Attorney that permits the use of experimental, non-FDA approved, medications for the treatment of COVID-19.

While preparing a will or a trust is essential, it is also important to consider coordinating beneficiary designations on life IRAs, insurance, retirement plans, and so forth. A will should also includes planning during your lifetime and in case of your incapacity. Often the creation of an estate plan involves an array of topics such as asset protection and qualification for public benefits for the client, or the client’s loved one. Many times, spouses will take it upon themselves to devise a plan online without the proper instruction; let’s go through a scenario.

Here we have Tyler and Debra, who have created a plan with an online package. In this package, they prepare a trust and retitle the brokerage account and house into the name of the trust.  The couple also prepares wills. While preparing, each document language states that it will include everything be left to one another at the death of the survivor and divided assets among their three children. Tyler and Debra felt as if they had a great plan in place and that they would have no concerns involving probate. One thing they did not consider is that they could not change the ownership of Debra’s IRA during her lifetime. The first mistake that was made was not checking the beneficiary designations on the IRA. Before Debra married Tyler, she had a boyfriend as a known beneficiary for her IRA. This caused Debra’s previous boyfriend to obtain a bulk of the IRA asset and not her current husband, Tyler. This situation happened even though Debra named Tyler as the primary beneficiary of all her assets in her will and trust. Situations like these happen all the time and demonstrate why it is vital to revisit your plan and make changes to previous beneficiaries.

For several years the VA has been working on changes to the rules for qualification of certain benefits dealing with transfers, a look back period, assets in trust,  and income.  Tomorrow the following rule change will be published, watch for some analysis on this and how it has changed in the next few days.

You can download a copy of the new rule here  2018-VA Rule Changes

Designating a Preneed Guardian for your Minor Child in Florida

Designating a preneed guardian for your minor child is one of the most important things a parent can do. A designation of preneed guardian is a legal document that permits you to choose the individual who will care for your children if you pass away. You can only choose a guardian for minor children. In Florida, most people use a will to designate the preneed guardian of a minor.

How does a will designating a preneed guardian for a minor work?

The Florida Elective Share statutes has made it almost impossible to disinherit a spouse from your estate outside of a premarital, prenuptial, or post-nuptial agreement. In 1999, the Florida Legislature enacted what we now call the Florida Elective Share Statute, which was amended in 2016 and 2017 to provide even more protections to the surviving spouse.

The objective of the Florida Elective Share Statute is to protect surviving spouses by ensuring that they have a right to part of their spouse’s estate upon their death. The Elective Share equals 30% of your spouse’s elective estate, which comprises the spouse’s assets. These assets include probate assets and non-probate assets such as 401(k)s, IRAs, life insurance policies, pay upon death accounts, and revocable trusts.  See Florida Statute 732.2035.

However, you must file your election to take the Elective Share within six months of receiving notice of administration of the estate or within two years after the decedent’s death. Sometimes if might be appropriate to move for an extension of time to file an elective share; however, the absolute latest date in which you can file your election is within two years from death of your spouse. Ironically, this is the same time that a normal creditor is given to file a claim in an estate.

Tortious interference of a testamentary expectancy is a “tort” or a wrongful act that causes economic harm to another person, and allows for compensatory and punitive damages.

The plaintiff must prove the following elements to establish a claim for the Tort of Intentional Interference with Expectancy:

  1. decedent had a fixed intention to leave a portion of his or her estate to the plaintiff and

Are you getting close to retirement? Do you want to develop an effective estate plan but you are not sure how to start? If your answer to one of these two questions is affirmative, you have come to the right resource. We are all aware how important it can be to come up with the right estate plan, especially when retirement is just around the corner. You need to make sure that your assets are going to go to the right people, as well as that these are not going to be burdened with too many taxes. So, keep on reading and discover some great tips on estate planning.

1 Draw up a will

No matter how difficult it is to think about this final stage of life, you should create a will. This is an essential part of estate planning, as it will decide who will inherit your assets. Apart from real estate, you can name who will inherit non-financial assets – these can include cars, jewelry pieces or other valuable items.

It’s a good idea to consult with a professional lawyer, as such an attorney can help you come up with the best version of your will. You should also know that certain assets cannot be listed in the will; for example, you cannot leave your retirement account or life insurance policy to another party. Instead, you will have to consult with the financial institution in question and see the existent regulations.

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The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is growing rapidly. So, too, are the number of myths surrounding the disease and other forms of dementia. Let’s begin by looking at what we do know about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s before investigating some of the more common myths.

Approximately 5.5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. Of these, some 5.3 million are 65 years of age or older. In addition:

 

  • One in 10 people 65 and over has Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nearly two out of three Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women
  • African-Americans are approximately twice as likely as older Caucasians to have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia
  • Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older Caucasians
  • As the population grows older, the number of new cases of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to soar
  • Today, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. By 2050, this figure is likely to increase to one new case every 33 seconds

Now let’s look at some of the most common myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

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