Estate Planning

Estate Planning for Young Adults

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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 adult and you no longer have the legal ability to make decisions for him/her. Are you accustomed to ...

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Your Child and Their Inheritance: How to Share the Financials

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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 may be unprepared for what will happen after their parents are gone.

As a group, baby boomers are heartened ...

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The Internet vs. The Professional

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How is it that most attorneys, with decades of legal knowledge continuing education, are being replaced by electronic documents or advice forums? Welcome to the age of the Internet.

The Internet has unfortunately encouraged the rise of amateurism in all professional fields. You may have a recurring migraine and instead of consulting the expert neurologist, you simply type WebMD into Google and self-diagnose.

My staff and I come across this Internet vs. Professional mentality daily. Yes, it is easy to sit in ...

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

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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 often discovered that all it took was a little bit of real estate, combined with the death benefit payout from ...

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Poor Man’s Probate is Usually Poorly Planned

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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 “Poor Man’s Probate”. The results, which they will probably never witness, are usually tragic and ...

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Attention Florida Residents: Change in Power of Attorney Law

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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 October 1, 2011, the new law comes into effect in Florida. The most pressing question is whether your “old” or existing document is ...

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Hey, what about a Living Will?

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Recently, I watched the season premiere of “Brothers and Sisters.” It was packed with legal issues, pertinent to the type law I practice. You know the show, the strong matriarch, Sally Fields, at the head of the whiny family known as the Walkers. It takes place one year after the horrible automobile accident that occurred at the cliffhanger last May.

Last season left us with a multiple car pileup on the expressway in California. Brother Justin, who conveniently has paramedic training from the ...

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Death Arbitrage: Should I Pull the Plug Today? There’s No Estate Tax.

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I’m angry. I’m disheartened, dismayed, and disgusted. But mostly, I’m angry.

One of my peers today asked me if I am advising clients to remove life support from their loved ones – their RICH loved ones – quick, right now, before Congress acts to bring back the estate tax.

Because, depending on the nature of the assets, you can do the tax math and decide whether it is more lucrative to allow someone you love to die today, or keep the person ...

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