Articles Posted in Estate Planning

Estate planning has many benefits, with one of the best being that it allows our clients to have peace of mind.  This peace of mind comes from knowing that your family members can be taken care of if something happens to you.  This type of estate planning is especially important if you have minor children.

Parents are often so busy that they don’t have time to think about planning for their death or incapacity.  A parent’s time is often spent thinking about getting kids to school, helping with homework, and providing a good lifestyle for their children.  Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without warning, from an unexpected illness, on a highway, or as a result another catastrophe.

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Jacksonville Estate Planning For Single Parents

One of the best aspects of Jacksonville estate planning is that every plan can be tailored to a person’s life and specific needs.  In Jacksonville, Estate planning is important for every person, but it is even more important when you are a single parent because estate planning can directly benefit minor children.

There are several issues that single parents need to consider with their Jacksonville estate planning attorneys.  These are some of the common issues that single parents should consider.

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Florida Asset Protection Trusts and Domestic Asset Protection Trusts Can Be Effective Prenuptial Agreements

Planning for a divorce is never easy or fun, but divorce is an unfortunate reality in today’s world where almost half of all marriages end in divorce.  Without legal planning, a spouse seeking a divorce is likely entitled to an equitable portion of the marital property.  The traditional way to protect property from a divorce was through a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement; now there may be a better alternative by using a Florida asset protection trust.

So what happens if there is no legal planning?  If the married couple fails to plan for the dissolution of marriage adequately, then the division of marital property will be left to the discretion of a judge during the process of an expensive and time-consuming divorce process.
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In Florida it can be crucial to do Estate Planning For Second Marriage

More and more Americans are getting remarried which is causing estate planning to become more complex.  People are living much longer than in the past, which means that the rate of remarriage is occurring at a much higher frequency.  A second marriage adds new obligations and rights for the new people in your life, while still keeping the obligations from your first marriage.

The effect of multiple marriages is that it could create multiple claims on a person’s estate.  Many estate planning issues can be resolved with careful planning.  Here are some key issues for estate planning for a second marriage.

1. Length of the New Marriage

The first issue that is common in estate planning is the duration of the subsequent marriage.  For instance, say a person has a spouse with early Alzheimer’s.  This person also has a retirement plan that named his children outside the marriage as beneficiaries.  The couple has been married for eight years, and the person would be destitute without the spouse’s IRA.  It may be time to think about changing the estate plan to include the new spouse, which would desperately need the funds from the retirement plan.

2. Children from the First Marriage or outside the current marriage

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Yes A Spendthrift Provisions Can Protect Against Civil Judgments

What is a Spendthrift Provision? One of the best forms of asset protection we can provide is through a trust that contains a spendthrift provision.  In a revocable trust, a spendthrift provision has some significant benefits such as protection against your beneficiaries’ creditors.

So what exactly does a spendthrift provision do?  A spendthrift provision is a provision within a revocable or irrevocable trust that limits the beneficiary’s access to trust.  This restriction protects the trust property in two ways, it prevents a beneficiary from selling his or her interest in the trust property as a beneficiary, and it prevents the beneficiary’s creditors from compelling the trustee to make distributions except where this would void public policy like in the case of alimony, child support and some civil judgements.
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How To Protect Against Elder Abuse

A Senate Special Committee on Aging had a hearing in November of 2016, which allowed experts to testify that elder abuse is still a growing problem in the United States.  The experts testified that over 5 million elders, or one in ten seniors, that live at home experience some elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Jaye Martin, the executive director of Maine Legal Services for the Elderly, testified that not only is financial abuse (elder abuse) running rampant, but that the elder abuse is most often perpetrated by family members who are guardians.  This information regarding financial elder abuse was further supported by a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.
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A Florida DNR is a document you will not complete with your Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer. Many feel that estate planning is a great area of law because it allows people to plan ahead for how they wish to be treated medically in a scenario when someone is not able to decide on their own.  This is why we recommend that every person plan for their future through estate planning documents such as a will, trust, living will, medical and financial powers of attorney and even simple documents such as a Florida “Do Not Resuscitate Order.”

A Florida DNR, Do Not Resuscitate Order, is a form developed by the Florida Department of Health, known formally as Form 1896, that identifies a person that does not wish to be resuscitated in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest.  This form, tells hospitals, doctors, and other health providers to not resuscitate you when certain conditions occur because you do not feel your quality of life will be sufficient after resuscitation. We recommend that everyone have a Florida DNR, Do Not Resuscitate Order, if they do not wish to be revived under certain conditions because most doctors and health care providers will attempt to resuscitate a person by default.

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As a Jacksonville Will Lawyer I have seen an alarming trend in Florida.  Most Americans live fast-paced lives with long work hours, bills to pay, and mouths to feed.  After a long day, the last thing on our minds is our mortality.  But studies show that Americans need to be more concerned.

According to a 2015 survey performed by Rocket Lawyer, 64 percent of Americans do not have a will.  Of those without an estate plan, only 27 percent thought there was not an urgent need to make a will.  The most alarming statistic of them all – 15 percent of those surveyed said they did not need a will at all.  As a Jacksonville Will Lawyer I have noticed  that do have wills have not had them updated in many years.
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Florida Living Trusts are often the cornerstone of a great estate plan and provide many of our top estate planning clients benefits.  Here are a few of the best or most important things that everyone should know about living trusts.  In many situations, an asset protection trust can be used in conjunction with a living trust.

1. A Florida Living Trust is Revocable

A Florida Living Trust is more formally known as a revocable trust.  The trust’s name is an indication of its flexibility.  The Florida living trust is revocable, which means that the person that created the trust can change the trust, or even cancel it, whenever he or she likes.  For example, if the creator of the Florida living trust wishes to add or remove a beneficiary from the trust he or she may do so at any time through an amendment or restatement.

Any changes to the trust will be effective during the settlor’s lifetime.  A person can transfer assets into the trust for his or her benefit during his or her lifetime.  The living trust can even permit a transfer of assets in the scenario that the trust creator becomes incapacitated.
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While the following article deals with divorce, our readers may consider it terms of accessing emails or online information of a deceased spouse or family member and the potential criminal liability that may be associated with accessing digital assets.

Federal wiretapping laws usually do not mix with state divorce proceedings.  However, these laws became a central issue during the divorce of Paula Epstein from her husband Barry Epstein in Illinois.  The issue is, did Ms. Epstein violate federal wiretapping laws when she put an auto-forward on her husband’s email account so she could read his emails.

Barry Epstein sued his wife under federal law while the couple was in the process of divorcing.  Paula accused her husband of serial infidelity.  In response, Barry’s attorney asked Paula for any documents and evidence she had that was related to the accusation.  Paula complied and produced copies of the incriminating emails between Barry and several other women.  This discovery response caused Barry to sue her under federal law.

Barry argued that Paula violated the Wiretap Act by secretly placing an auto-forwarding “rule” on his email accounts that automatically forwarded the messages on his email client to Paula.  Barry also claimed Paula’s lawyer violated the Act by disclosing the intercepted emails.  The courts dismissed this claim because the attorney could not be liable for disclosing Barry’s emails in response to his discovery request.

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