Estate Planning

If You Own Out of State Property, Establish a Trust

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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 loved ones are often confused and frustrated with the hassles and paperwork involved in probate when they are already ...

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Stranger Things from Beyond the Courthouse

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Recent surveys from Caring.com show that only 42% of U.S. adults have estate planning documents. The following cases could have been easily avoided with those documents in place.

(All names in the following case examples have been changed.)

Elizabeth Always Had a Plan

Elizabeth’s son, Steve, came to us in when his mother was becoming forgetful. She had dementia. ...

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Preparing for the Next Hurricane Irma

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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 and other debris,  a reminder that things aren’t entirely back to normal.

Hurricane season isn’t over.  ...

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The Florida Electronic Wills Act

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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 phone’s routing.

And now, with the Florida Electronic Wills Act, Senate Bill 206, (currently tabled and ...

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Celebrate Mom by Talking with Her about Her Future

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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 most meaningful gift of all – two conversations about her future.  First, what plans does she have for herself?  Second, what role does she foresee ...

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Five Clues That it’s Time to Update Your Estate Plan

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Creating an estate plan is often an emotional exercise. For some individuals, engaging in thoughtful decision making regarding the orderly distribution of one’s assets provides a sense of peace, satisfaction, and even pride. For others, the experience may be daunting as they come face-to-face with their own sense of mortality. In either situation, once the documents have been signed, clients tend to settle in with a sigh of relief, dust off their hands, and view their estate plan as ...

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Your Funeral Wishes – Your Way

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You may already have estate planning documents to ensure that your worldly possessions are passed on in a manner consistent with your values and traditions. But have you thought about planning ahead to spare your loved ones from the painful task of making decisions regarding your funeral arrangements – while they are grieving?

Do you have specific ideas about how you would want your life celebrated?  We encourage our clients to think through all the options. For example, ...

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The Presidential Candidates – The Federal Estate Tax and the Capital Gains Income Tax

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Tonight, we should know who will be our next president.  While Congress passes tax legislation, the president shapes policy. What plans does Donald Trump have for the estate tax versus Hillary Clinton? How do the plans differ compared to the current rules?

Estate Tax Now

The estate tax is one of three federal transfer taxes – an excise tax, separate from and in addition to the income tax – levied on the privilege of transferring wealth.  If you transfer wealth during your ...

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6-Step Estate Planning Checklist

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As we enter the final quarter of 2016, we like to remind our clients, friends, and professional associates to pause and reflect on their goals (whether for themselves or for their clients) for the coming year.  To facilitate that process, we have prioritized a checklist summarizing what we consider to be “Six Very Important Action Items.”

One of the most critical steps in the estate planning process is to properly fund ...

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Financial Literacy in Working Women Improves While Knowledge Gap Persists for Female Retirees and Widows

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Recent studies reveal that financial capability among working women is improving, but closing the financial literacy gap has a long way to go as it relates to retired women and older widows. Women will be alone and in charge of themselves for a long period of time. But statistics show that women probably don’t have an estate planning attorney, CPA, or financial planner on their personal team of professionals to help them along the way.

Financial advisors and estate planning practitioners ...

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