Estate Planning for Young Adults

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Estate Planning for Young Adults
Posted on: May 16th, 2013
By: Mary Merrell Bailey, Esq. CPA MBA MSTax MSAcctg

Teenagers, rejoice! At age 18, your government says you are an adult and your parents have no legal ability to make decisions for you. Just what you want, right? No more nagging about cleaning up after yourself, making something of your life, and sitting up straight.

Parents, beware! When your child turns age 18, your government says your child is an ...

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Your Child and Their Inheritance: How to Share the Financials

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Your Child and Their Inheritance: How to Share the Financials
Posted on: May 13th, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

Most children are left in the dark regarding detailed information about their parents’ financials. Well-off parents may not want to tell their children for fear of them becoming dependent. Parents who struggle financially may not tell their children as a means to keep them from worrying. Both approaches are understandable, but in failing to speak to children about the family wealth, children ...

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Elder Abuse & Exploitation: What to Look For

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Elder Abuse & Exploitation: What to Look For
Posted on: May 13th, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

Attorney David Pilcher and I spoke at the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute on pertinent estate planning, guardianship, and elder law subjects; more specifically, elder abuse. Our goal was to educate state law enforcement on the many aspects of elder abuse.

According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 2.1 million elderly Americans become victims to abuse each year. Elderly adults may become victimized due to ...

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The Internet vs. The Professional

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The Internet vs. The Professional
Posted on: May 1st, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

I spent three years full time at Cumberland School of Law earning my Juris Doctorate. I graduated, passed the rigorous three-day Florida Bar exam, and have spent a total of twenty-five years practicing law. How is it that with such a wealth of legal knowledge and such a focused history of continuing education, an electronic document or advice forum can replace me? Welcome to the age of ...

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Estate Planning is Still Relevant: Three Key Documents Every Adult Should Have

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Estate Planning is Still Relevant: Three Key Documents Every Adult Should Have
Posted on: April 29th, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

The federal estate tax exemption, which is the maximum amount of wealth an individual can have when they die but not pay any federal estate tax, used to be $600,000. The families of the deceased who exceeded this limit were often people who did not consider themselves rich—maybe a farming family with a small working farm for example. Unfortunately, they ...

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Top 10 Blunders in Probate & Trust Administration

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Top 10 Blunders in Probate & Trust Administration
Posted on: April 26th, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

Probate and trust administration isn’t for wimps. It also isn’t for people who aren’t ready to shoulder the burdens associated with being named as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is the person who gets the laborious task of holding assets in trust for a beneficiary. In Florida, trustees of trusts and personal representatives of estates are classified as fiduciaries.

While taking on such a role may ...

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Undue Influence: How to Spot When Assistance crosses the Line

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Undue Influence: How to Spot When Assistance crosses the Line
Posted on: April 23rd, 2013
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

Everyone has influence in their life. Influence is the ability to effect someone’s character and behavior. When raising children, a parent’s influence is generally positive. Parents choose their child’s clothing, diet, social environment, residence, education and entertainment.

So, what is undue influence? This type of negative influence involves a person taking a position of power over another person. To put it into perspective, ...

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Poor Man’s Probate is Usually Poorly Planned

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Poor Man’s Probate is Usually Poorly Planned
Posted on: June 29th, 2012
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

People often ask what seems to be the usual recurring question, “Do I really need a will?” After I ask a few questions about their circumstances, I usually discover that they have already done something about their estate plan. Unfortunately, this generally means that a non-attorney gave them legal advice and misleading direction. They’ve engaged in a course of action in which some call a ...

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Attention Florida Residents: Change in Power of Attorney Law

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Attention Florida Residents: Change in Power of Attorney Law
Posted on: October 2nd, 2011
By: Mary Merrell Bailey, Esq. CPA MBA MSTax MSAcctg

Just when you thought you had your estate planning documents in order, there sneaks up a drastic change in the power of attorney law. A durable power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to act on your behalf. You are the principal and the person you appoint is the agent. Effective ...

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Who Will Raise Hope?

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Who Will Raise Hope?
Posted on: March 27th, 2011
By: Hallie Zobel, Esq.

There is a corny television show named Raising Hope. It is about a twenty-something young man named Jimmy who is raising his daughter Hope because her mother was executed for a crime she committed. I am embarrassed to say that I watch it on occasion because it follows Glee. That is a whole other story. Anyway, Jimmy lives with his mother, Virginia, father, Bert, grandmother and daughter Hope. ...

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