Estate Planning

The Neighbor is Herding Your Cats

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I was on vacation a little while ago when I received a call from Orange County Animal Services, notifying me that I had come into possession of four cats. I like cats. But I’m allergic to them. And after that thought, my next thought was, is this a new thing that shelters are trying out, their own version of Publisher’s Clearing House awards? How am I so lucky?

Well, the employee explained to me that a lady had walked into their ...

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A Will or Trust? It’s Not About the Size of Your Estate

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When I use the word “trust” in a consultation, people often quickly tell me that they don’t have enough money or assets to require a trust. This is a common misconception, that a trust requires a vast estate. Perhaps we owe that to the word “trust” conjuring up visions of large philanthropic organizations that operate exclusively out of a trust, or “trust fund babies.”

In fact, a trust can often cost much less in administrative fees, on the back end, to ...

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Financial Education Resources for National Financial Awareness Day

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Financial Education Resources for National Financial Awareness Day
Posted on: August 14, 2018
By Mary Merrell Bailey, Esq., CPA MBA MSTax MSAccounting

One of my passions is financial education. As a CPA and estate planning attorney, I believe financial education is one of the most important parts of education. It literally can change your life.

A Chinese proverb pertains to financial planning. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” No matter where ...

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Effect of Divorce on Your Will, Trust, and Beneficiary Forms

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Posted on: June 19, 2018
By Hallie L. Zobel, Esq.
(Adopted from a 2018 presentation to the National Association of Divorce Professionals)

Are you going through a divorce, or have gone through one recently?

If you’ve ever had the passing thought that your ex-spouse is still named in your will or trust, and cringed, thinking that you have to get that changed before you accidentally hand over your accounts to someone whom you don’t even want to be in the same room ...

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Vietnam Veterans: You and your spouse may be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

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Vietnam Veterans: You and your spouse may be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance Benefits
Posted on: April 5, 2018
By Mary Merrell Bailey, Esq., CPA MBA MSTax MSAccounting

The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be commemorated in Orlando, Florida on April 5, 2018.

My husband is a Vietnam veteran. As we remember his service and thank him and other veterans for their sacrifices, I want to highlight a relatively unknown Veteran’s Administration benefit ...

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If You Own Out of State Property, Establish a Trust

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If You Own Out of State Property, Establish a Trust
Posted on: March 30, 2018
By Hallie L. Zobel, Esq.

If you own out of state property, it’s almost a certainty that you and your family will be better served by a trust instead of a will.

Why is that?

First, consider that probate is unavoidable with a will. Many of my clients arrive at my office assuming that probate is only for those that are intestate, or without a will. The decedent’s ...

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Stranger Things from Beyond the Courthouse

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Stranger Things from Beyond the Courthouse
Posted on: March 6, 2018
By Hallie L. Zobel, Esq.

The following Is based on a presentation I gave in January to a group of local professionals. I decided to call it Stranger Things, because some things I’ve seen in my career really are stranger than fiction!

Recent surveys from Caring.com show ...

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Preparing for the Next Hurricane Irma

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Preparing for the Next Hurricane Irma
Posted on: September 27th, 2017
By Hallie L. Zobel, Esq.

Houston under water.  Puerto Rico destroyed. Central Florida battered.  Natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma can be a sobering experience. Many clients and friends walked away from their Florida homes, prepared to lose everything. Most of us in Central Florida were very lucky and have our power back. The grocery store aisles are almost full again. The curbs still are littered with tree branches ...

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The Florida Electronic Wills Act

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The Florida Electronic Wills Act
Posted on: June 2nd, 2017
Hallie L. Zobel, Esq.

It’s wonderful to live in the 21st century, where Amazon orders often arrive less than 24 hours after being placed, even on Sundays. Movies are on demand, and the internet allows us to manage banking and all else without ever needing to leave the house. And when I do leave the house, I wonder how I ever found my way to an appointment without my ...

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Celebrate Mom by Talking with Her about Her Future

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Celebrate Mom by Talking with Her about Her Future
Posted on: May 5th, 2017
By Mary Merrell Bailey, Esq., CPA MBA MSTax MSAccounting

Mother’s Day is approaching.  How are you planning to celebrate Mom this year?

Flowers always are a safe bet. Perhaps you and your siblings could create a photo album enjoying years of gatherings.  Maybe you could take your whole family out to brunch, or have a spa day with her.

Best yet, offer Mom the ...

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