Exploitation of an elderly adult in Jacksonville, Florida is an all too often occurrence as well as across the entire state of Florida. Until recently, there was not much a person could do to stop it quickly when they suspected their elderly or vulnerable family member was being financially taken advantage of. This was a major problem. Before anything could be done to stop the exploitation, concrete evidence was required, and the money or asset that was taken, was too often unrecoverable by the time anything could actually be done. Thankfully, this is changing with the enactment of Florida Statute 825.1035.

Florida Statute 825.1035 allows for an injunction for the protection against the exploitation of an elderly adult or vulnerable adult. In order to get an injunction to stop the exploitation, the family member you believe is being financially exploited must be a vulnerable adult. In order to be considered a vulnerable adult for purposes of Florida Statute 825.1035, the individual must be 18 years or older, and be unable to perform normal activities required for daily living due to an impairment. The impairment can be because of a disability, injury, or aging. The Statute is meant to provide protection not only for elderly adults, but for any adult in Florida who could be financially taken advantage of due to any type of impairment. Continue reading

If you are a Court Appointed Guardian in  you may be concerned about the Responsibilities of a Court Appointed Guardian in Jacksonville, Fl. It is  important to understand the rights as well as the responsibilities when acting as a guardian in Florida. It does not matter if you are simply the guardian of a minor or the guardian of the person and property of an adult. Your responsibilities are numerous and are laid out by the Florida Probate Code.

In Florida, you must be represented by an attorney to become someone’s guardian no matter the situation. However, once appointed, there are a few limited circumstances where the Court may allow you to proceed pro se, without the representation of an attorney.

Guardianship of the Person

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.

Continue reading

Most seniors do their best to prepare for the unfortunate, inevitable, outcome that one day they will pass away.  They create their will, and with painstaking detail allocate their hard-earned money and assets to spouses, children, family, friends, and charities.  But what if there is not money or assets left over to leave for loved ones?  What many do not realize is that paying taxes, helping the family, and subsiding off of what Social Security provides are not the things that typically bankrupt most seniors.  So what is?  A simple Google search into Long Term Health Care will bring up horror stories many Americans experience and will continue to face.  Hard working Americans, who have been saving for 40 years, end up penniless at the end.  It is expected that 70% of seniors over the age of 65 will need long term health care at some point in their life.  With the incoming influx of baby boomers, the problems only seem to compound.  Combine that with the fact that the estimated cost of staying in a nursing home is close to $9,500 dollars a month, one can easily see how their life-time savings can disappear.  When the average time spent in long term health care is three years, at $9,500 a month, that comes out to $342,000.  Everyone wants to ensure that their spouse, children, and family are provided for as best as possible, especially when they can no longer be an influence.  Below you can find more information on what probate is, the benefits and problems with Medicare and Medicaid, as well as some typical ways people can secure funds and assets.

Continue reading

ThinkstockPhotos-531922230-300x200

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.

Continue reading

Is Equal Fair with Estate Planning?

Most of our clients want to treat their children fairly and equally.  Splitting assets equally among the children may be easy, but is it fair? When dividing assets, it is often important to determine the needs of the kids as well as what you have previously provided.  This is where it can become difficult.

Some gifts can be considered advancements against an inheritance, but most people do not take the right steps to have them considered an advancement.  A trust can be designed to deal with previously gifts or outstanding loans.  After all isn’t an outstanding loan really a debt that is now owed in part to the other siblings.
Continue reading

There have been many reports of unintended consequences related to the use of online wills over the past few years.  In fact, I have written about many of these issues on this blog.

It is important for individuals to understand that there is a difference between a document and a plan.  While both contain words it is the way those words are used that determines the difference.  Many Internet forms are generic and may not allow the permit the person named to manage the assets the powers necessary to properly manage or protect the assets. For example, in order to sell the testator’s property, the executor may have to obtain the court’s permission, and consent of the beneficiaries.  This can create additional costs and delays in the distribution of the assets.

This can be important when dealing with a homestead where the asset is not typically subject to probate.  If the homestead is owned by a trust and the house needs to be sold, the trustee can determine if a distribution or sale of the asset is best.  When an individual does not have a will or creates an online will, the home is typically not subject to probate and will pass outside of probate.  This can cause problems including delays and thousands of dollars in additional costs when some of the beneficiaries want to sell the home, and others do not.

The Florida Asset Protection Trust.

Most financial planners are unfamiliar with some of the modern twists available with Florida Asset Protection Trusts.  This is a special type of irrevocable trusts.  They tend to be familiar with the older style of irrevocable trust that can pose several problems for those who use them. These problems include:

  1. Loss of control over the management of the assets;
  2. A separate EIN number for tax reporting purposes;
  3. A larger tax bills because of the way traditional irrevocable trusts are taxed;
  4. A loss of the step up in basis available to assets owned by an individual upon the death of the settlor; and
  5. The inability to change provisions or beneficiaries in the future.
  6. The inability to transfer the ownership of insurance, annuities, life insurance and other securities.

While our Florida Asset Protection Trust is an irrevocable trust, this trust does not have any of the traditional problems that are discussed above nor it is a “self-settled trust” as defined by the IRS.  Because the Florida Asset Protection Trust is not self-settled, there is no 10 year lookback on transfers in the case of a bankruptcy. The Florida Asset Protection trust that we use is an Irrevocable Pure Grantor trust  (IPUG™). With this special type of Florida Asset Protection trust many of the advantages  and flexibilities that are traditionally only found with a revocable trust can be provided while maintaining the strong asset protection that can only be accomplished with an irrevocable trust.  Some may ask, why should we use an irrevocable trust instead of a revocable trust.  Here is a summary of the reasons that our Florida Asset Protection trust is superior to the traditional revocable trust and does not pose the problems that a traditional irrevocable trust presents:

Continue reading

Contact Information