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Explore our articles, videos, and other resources that we created to help navigate the complex world of Estate Planning

BLOGS

What to Do with the Black Sheep Beneficiary 

Dealing with family dynamics in estate planning can be challenging. When siblings don’t get along, critical decisions about the estate can lead to disputes. Learn how to handle this and other common issues in estate planning, and why sometimes a corporate trustee might be the best solution.

Seeing What Isn’t There

In 2021, we lost Aaron T. Beck, the father of cognitive behavioral therapy, who identified patterns of negative thinking in his patients, and as an estate planning attorney, I often encounter similar fatalistic traits in clients’ loved ones, which require self-recognition and treatment.

My Dad’s in the ICU, and He Needs an Estate Plan

Several times a year, I receive urgent calls for estate planning help, often involving loved ones in the ICU, highlighting the dangers of procrastination and the necessity of timely legal preparation for health crises and asset distribution.

Delayed Decisions

I usually discourage procrastination, but after losing a spouse, it’s important to avoid making major decisions immediately, such as selling a home or changing financial advisors, while relying on trusted professionals to navigate necessary tasks during the emotional and difficult grieving period.

Are Our Children Equal?

Any parent knows how different their children can be, even when raised in the same household, and while parents love their children equally, treating them equally in estate plans is not always straightforward.

When Death Comes Knocking, Look Busy

Nearly fifteen years ago, after a frustrating day at work, I was hit by a car while biking, which reminded me of life’s unpredictability and the importance of always striving for big goals. This experience emphasizes having something to live for at any age to keep death at bay and maintain life’s purpose.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

My northern attorney told me my estate plan is just fine and needs a minor update. Is my plan still valid?

Estate planning documents that are properly signed in accordance with your former state of residence remain valid, although when you move to Florida it’s always wise to update your plan to Florida law. Each state’s laws are different, so that in and of itself warrants a review. If you own a Florida homestead, or if your estate plan hasn’t been reviewed in several years, then those are also two reasons to sit down with us to go over your plan.

I spend half a year up north and the other half here in Florida. Is it advantageous for me to become a Florida resident?

Usually the answer is, “Yes.” Florida does not have a personal state income tax, an estate tax, gift tax, or inheritance tax. For those who have investment and retirement income, this could mean significant annual tax savings. You also save on property taxes through the Florida homestead exemptions, and the annual assessment increases to your primary residence are capped under the “Save Our Homes” property Tax Cap.

Why would owning Florida homestead warrant a review?

Florida has very strict descent and devise rules governing to whom you may bequeath the homestead. If you are married, for example, and fail to bequeath the homestead outright to your spouse, you may have an “invalid devise.” This frequently occurs when the home is owned in a trust that creates credit shelter/marital trust provisions. This is a common problem that left unaddressed could become a costly headache for you and your loved ones.

I don’t like thinking about my estate plan. Can’t I just keep what I have or just update a simple will?

Nobody enjoys thinking about what needs to happen if they become disabled or die. Many who have previously planned their estates find it confusing, and don’t like the feeling of being told what to do. That’s not what happens when you work with us. The Family Estate & Legacy Program® 7-step process begins with your goals and concerns, resulting in a plan that will give you and your loved ones’ comfort and clarity. Our Florida Bar Board Certified specialists will help you design an estate planning strategy that feels right for you and your family, whether ultimately, it’s a simple will or something more substantial.

I already have a revocable trust but never titled any of my assets into it. What now?

Your trust is ineffective if it isn’t properly funded. We see this all the time during our initial client meetings. When we update your estate plan, we won’t hand you an instruction sheet and expect you to fully and properly fund your trusts. We do it for you by working with your financial firms to ensure that your accounts fit “hand in glove” with your estate plan. You are involved in every step of that process, but we do all the heavy lifting.

BOOKS

The Florida Estate Planning Guide

 Discover the advantages to Florida residency and strategies to create your best estate plan…..

Selecting Your Trustee

Learn what characteristics to look for when choosing those who will handle your estate.

Asset Alignment and Your Estate Plan

Understand how aligning your assets are important to the success of your plan.

Common Cents Estate Planning I and II

Ever wonder what questions you should ask when you visit with your estate planning attorney, CPA and financial advisor? Gain a behind-the-desk view to real life situations in a series of easily digestible stories….

Legal Matters When a Loved One Dies

Nothing can be more stressful and heartbreaking than the loss of a loved one. Even worse can be the legal and financial matters left behind after their passing. Discover what can be done to ease this transition and secure your financial future.

RESOURCES