Tag: asset protection

Key Estate Planning Tips for Consideration in Digital Asset Management

Are you aware that in this digital age, Florida estate planning has become more complex? One reason is because of the increasing presence of digital assets that need to be planned for. What do we mean by digital assets? Digital assets refer to any form of content or information that exists in a digital format and holds value to individuals or businesses. Know that these assets encompass a wide range of items, including online accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, digital photos and videos, intellectual property, and more.

 

It is important to recognize that the value of digital assets can be both financial and sentimental. By working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney you can include provisions for the management, distribution, or preservation of these assets in your estate plan to ensure that your digital legacy is properly created. Because of their unique nature, digital assets may require more strategic planning which your experienced Florida estate planning attorney may assist you with. 

 

Now, as digital assets continue to become both more complex and more prevalent, we have a few key estate planning tips in digital asset management that we share with many of our clients today.

 

  1. You need a detailed inventory. You need to begin by creating an inventory of all your digital assets. You should have a list of all your platforms, accounts, and any associated login credentials. It is important to keep this inventory updated and stored securely.

 

  1. You need to review the terms of service for each of your assets. We know that this is a constantly evolving area and can be subject to change at any time, usually at the sole discretion of the company that created the digital asset. So be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms of service and user agreements of the platforms where your digital assets reside. Be aware that some platforms have specific provisions regarding the transfer or management of accounts upon the user’s death or incapacity although this is not the norm.

 

  1. You need to give authority to your agent, your personal representative, and your trustee. You need to be sure that each of these three individuals, or one individual depending on the nature of your Florida estate plan, has the specific written authority to manage and dispose of your digital assets. 

 

  1. You need to create a central password manager for digital assets that are in your Florida estate plan. You could think about using password manager applications to securely store and manage your login credentials. Under the guidance of your Florida estate planning attorney you may want to go a step further and provide your future decision maker with the necessary access credentials to this central password manager account. While this will include usernames and passwords, it may also include two-factor authentication methods.

 

  1. You need to specify digital asset distribution. You need to work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to clearly outline your wishes for the distribution or disposal of specific digital assets in your Florida estate plan. This can include transferring ownership, deleting accounts, or preserving certain assets for sentimental or historical purposes.

 

  1. You need to regularly review, update, and manage your digital accounts. Digital assets and online platforms evolve rapidly as opposed to the ownership and access to more traditional assets such as real property. You need to regularly review and update your Florida estate plan to reflect any changes in your digital asset inventory, platforms, or preferences. 

 

By incorporating these key estate planning tips in digital asset management, you can better manage and protect your digital assets, ensuring that your digital legacy is handled according to your wishes. Remember, working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney in this area is critical to remain up-to-date with changing laws and technologies that could impact your goals for your digital assets.

 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Safeguarding Your Legacy by Avoiding Common Mistakes in Will Creation

Did you know that creating a last will and testament is an essential and often overlooked aspect of responsible lifetime planning? It is a testament to your lifelong efforts to provide for yourself and those you love most. When you take the time to develop not only a last will and testament but an estate plan, you are ensuring that your hard-earned assets and cherished possessions are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away and that there are protections in place to take care of you in the event of incapacity during your lifetime.

A well-crafted Florida estate plan must be clear, specific, and unambiguous to avoid confusion and potential conflicts both during your life and at the time of your passing. Vague language or poorly articulated instructions could leave room for interpretation, leading to disagreements and estrangements among family members or other beneficiaries. 

Unfortunately, many individuals make the critical mistake of attempting to create a will without seeking professional guidance from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. 

Consulting with a Florida estate planning attorney allows you to express your wishes precisely and in a legally enforceable manner, leaving no room for doubt. Deciding to create a Florida estate plan is a life changing decision. When you decide to be proactive and not only make a Florida estate plan to create your legacy but also to protect those you love during your lifetime and at the time of your passing, you are setting intentions to protect your future. While creating a last will and testament is an essential part of your Florida estate planning, it is crucial to do so correctly to ensure your final wishes and goals can not only be reached but are carried out smoothly. 

Unfortunately, many individuals make the critical mistake of attempting to create a will without seeking professional guidance from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. Although the notion of creating a do-it-yourself last will and testament might appear attractive due to its potential cost-saving allure, it can ultimately result in substantial legal and financial entanglements in the future. On the other hand, entrusting the task to an experienced Florida estate planning attorney proves invaluable as she brings her expertise to the table. By skillfully navigating the complexities of the legal landscape, your Florida estate planning attorney can ensure that your entire Florida estate plan remains not only legally sound but also thoughtfully designed to mitigate any potential disputes and alleviate tax burdens on both your beloved family members and your lasting legacy.

We know you have questions on how to avoid the biggest mistakes out there when it comes to Florida estate planning. Let us share ways to avoid the biggest mistakes people make when creating not only their Florida will but their Florida estate plan. 

  1. Seeking counsel from an experienced Florida estate planning attorney is paramount. Among the most critical errors individuals make is attempting to craft a will or estate plan without the guidance of a seasoned professional. By consulting with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, you can adeptly navigate the intricate legal intricacies, ensure the plan you develop together is legally valid and binding, and effectively diminish the likelihood of disputes arising following your passing.
  1. Make a habit of regularly updating your Florida estate plan. Life is full of changes, including marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and acquiring new assets. To ensure your Florida estate plan accurately reflects your current desires, it is crucial to periodically review and update it with your Florida estate planning attorney, particularly when significant life events occur. By staying proactive, you can maintain a well-tailored plan that aligns perfectly with your evolving circumstances and wishes.
  1. Always consider contingencies when planning your estate. Collaborate with your Florida estate planning attorney to prepare for various scenarios in the event that your primary beneficiaries pass away before you do. By designating contingent beneficiaries, you guarantee that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, even if the initial beneficiaries are no longer alive. This thoughtful approach to estate planning ensures that your legacy remains intact, regardless of unforeseen circumstances.
  1. Do not forget to include digital assets. In the digital age, it is essential to address your digital assets, such as online accounts, social media profiles, and digital files. Specify how you want these assets to be handled after your death.
  1. Store your will securely. Ensure your Florida will, and your entire Florida estate plan, is kept in a safe place and that your executor and trusted family members know where to find it. A safe deposit box or secure digital storage are good options but discuss with your Florida estate planning attorney to see what is recommended.
  1. Effectively communicate your wishes. Though not a legal obligation, engaging in open discussions about your will and estate plan with your family can significantly mitigate misunderstandings and potential conflicts in the future. Moreover, selecting the appropriate personal representative to manage your estate upon your passing is crucial to ensure a smooth and faithful execution of your wishes. By thoughtfully discussing your plans and choosing a responsible representative, you foster an environment of clarity, trust, and harmony that will safeguard your legacy and bring peace of mind to your loved ones during challenging times. Before you take this step, discuss the pros and cons with your Florida estate planning attorney.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

When Should You Initiate Your Estate Planning Process?

Are you currently living in Florida? Are you healthy, with a growing family, active lifestyle and thriving business? However, have you begun to wonder the following: when should you initiate your estate planning process?   Be aware that a Florida estate plan is a crucial tool for all adults to have. Estate planning allows us to think about what we want for ourselves, our loved ones, our business, and our legacy. Although it addresses what happens at the end of our lives, it is so much more than that. Estate planning makes us answer tough questions including, but not limited to, what would happen if we no longer have the capacity we need to make our own decisions, who do we want in charge of our finances if we are incapacitated or who should be our beneficiaries?

Understanding you need a Florida estate plan is the first step forward to plan for your future. The next step is to ask: When should you initiate the process to create your estate plan? As Florida estate planning attorneys,  we are frequently asked this question and want to share five important events with you. 

  1. When you become an adult. Think your 18th birthday is too young? Think again, it is not!  If you do not have a Florida estate plan in place, there will be no one who has legal authority to make decisions for you in the event you are in a car accident or other crisis. In other words, no one will be able to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, or talk to your doctors. Your Florida estate planning attorney can work with you to create an estate plan that will protect you and let you name the people you want to be in charge of you in a crisis in your documents. Your estate planning attorney can also talk to you about how to create a legacy and plan for a time when you are no longer here.
  1. When you are planning to get married. Marriage is a wonderful event and you will want to plan with the person you love for your life together. It is an opportunity to think about how you want to protect and provide for each other. There is no better way to do that than with a Florida estate plan.  
  1. When you begin to have children.  When you have children, planning becomes even more important. You need to begin to think about and answer questions like: Who should care for my children if something happens to me? When should they inherit? How can I provide for their future if I am no longer here? These are the questions your Florida estate plan can answer when you work with an estate planning attorney. 
  1. If and when you receive an inheritance. It does not matter if you receive a small or large inheritance, it is important to protect it. The person who left you this money may have had clear instructions for you that you want to copy in your own estate plan or you may have inherited through a messy process that you do not want others to go through. Whatever your reason, this is a good time to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney and plan forward. 
  1. When you are beginning to start your own business. It is important that during your start up process to consider all the ways to protect yourself, your family, and your business from what comes next.  Your Florida estate planning attorney can not only help you design your estate plan but may also be able to advise you on your new business.

 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Preparing for Summer Adventures: Essential Estate Planning Checklist for Travelers

Summer is here, are you ready to travel? Are you staying close to home? Or are you traveling to another state or out of the country to spend time with family and friends?  It seems that the travel choices you have now that the pandemic has lessened in its impact are countless. 

Are you vacationing with minor children or grandchildren who need their days planned with adventures or you are looking for adventure, or just getting a change of scenery or traveling to an exotic place with your loved ones? As you begin to prepare your summer adventures, have you added essential Florida estate planning to your checklist? We would like to share below on our blog a Florida estate planning checklist for travelers for you to complete before your summer adventure begins. It will enable you to travel with complete peace of mind.

  1. What about your mail? Be aware that neighbors and friends do not have the legal authority to pick up your mail while you are on your summer vacation. However, if you are gone for extended periods of time you do want someone to pick up your mail. So, under your Florida durable power of attorney, your agent would have the authority to pick up your mail if you were out of town.
  1. What about access to money, cash, and your bank accounts? How do you get access to your money while you are on vacation? Or if you need to make bank transfers? Or if you need to act on a business transaction or sell a piece of property? Your agent, under your Florida durable power of attorney, can be given the legal authority to handle these transactions on your behalf, and even work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to make sure it is handled correctly.
  1. What about health care decisions? While vacationing, if you were injured, unconscious, or seriously harmed to the point where you are incapacitated and not able to make decisions for yourself, who would make your healthcare decisions?  With your healthcare planning in your Florida advanced directives, you can identify not only a primary person to act in your place, but alternative choices in the event they are unable to act as well.
  1. Do you have travel insurance? Most summer travel has the opportunity to be covered by travel insurance and that is a good thing. However, the travel insurance company is not going to speak with someone who does not have legal authority to act on your behalf. Your Florida advanced directives will be a significant help should your travel insurance policy need to be activated by someone other than yourself.
  1. Do you have a plan in an emergency? While traveling, if something serious happens to you, your Florida estate plan will hold all the details of what to do. With the guidance of your experienced Florida estate planning attorney, your agent and your personal representative can work with your attorney to ensure your goals for your person and your legacy are met.

Finally, be sure to ask your experienced Florida estate planning attorney what estate planning documents to bring with you on your summer vacation.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

When Is The Best Time to Complete Your Florida Estate Plan?

Do you have a Florida estate plan? Are you aware that it is a critical tool that all adults living in Florida should have? With a Florida estate plan you can think about what you want for yourself, your loved ones, your business, and your legacy. It is also about more than what happens at the end of your life, although that is an important part of the process. In addition, estate planning also makes you answer the tough questions including, but not limited to, what should happen if you no longer have the capacity you need to make your own decisions.

Now that you understand you need a Florida estate plan to plan for your future, what is next? It may be to answer the question:  When is the best time to complete your Florida estate plan? As Florida estate planning attorneys, we are frequently asked this question. Below we have five very different instances to answer the question about when to create your Florida estate plan.

  1. As soon as you turn 18. Your 18th birthday is definitely not too young to create your Florida estate plan. Without an estate plan in place, there is no one who has legal authority to make decisions for you in the event you are in a car accident or other crisis. That means, no one will be able to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, or talk to your doctors. Your Florida estate planning attorney can work with you to make an estate plan that will protect you and put the people who you want to be in charge of you in place in a crisis. Your Florida estate planning attorney will also talk to you about how to create a legacy and plan for a time when you are no longer here.
  1. As soon as you get married. It is exciting to begin planning for a time when you will share your life with another person. You also want to think about how you will protect and provide for each other. The best way to do that is to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney and have a Florida estate plan created.  
  1. As soon as you have a child.  Planning becomes even more critical when you have children, especially minor children. Who will take care of them if something happens to you? When should they inherit? How will you provide for their future if you are no longer here? These are the questions your excellent and comprehensive Florida estate plan can answer when you work with a qualified Florida estate planning attorney. 
  1. No matter the amount, as soon as you inherit. Whether your inheritance is small or large, it is important to protect it. The person who left you this inheritance may have had clear instructions for you that you want to copy in your own estate plan or you may have inherited through a messy process that you do not want others to go through. No matter your reason, this is an important time to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney and plan ahead. 
  1. As soon as you start a business. As you begin the start up process you need to consider all the ways you should protect yourself, your family, and your business from what comes next.  In fact, your Florida estate planning attorney can help you not only design your Florida estate plan but be able to advise you on your business planning as well.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Could You Be Headed To A Will Contest In Florida?

Have you created a solid Florida estate plan?  Did you try to create a Florida estate plan that can give legal authority to another person of your choosing? Your decision to choose this person is very important because he or she will now have the ability to make your decisions should something happen to you resulting in your inability to make decisions during your lifetime. However, this lifetime protection is just one part of the equation.

Legacy planning is also important to many people. People want to decide now what to do with their hard earned assets at the time of their passing. By creating a legacy through their estate plan they will be able to provide for their intended beneficiaries, not just in the present but often for years to come. We know how important a solid future for the loved ones of our clients is.

However, what happens when all your planning is not well received? What happens if the work you and your Florida estate planning attorney thoughtfully created for your legacy comes under attack from third parties? Who could these third parties be? They could be creditors, business partners, relatives, and even your own children, who do not agree with what you intended, created and planned. So how do you prevent your careful planning from coming under attack and potentially being undone? In fact, could you be headed to a will contest in Florida?

As Florida estate planning attorneys we understand your concerns and know what to do. We would like to share with you some ways to potentially limit the likelihood of a will contest, and ultimately be successful.

  1. Take the time to identify potential complications early and share them with your Florida estate planning attorney if you want to avoid any potential contests in the future. Do you have anyone in your life that you do not want to inherit from you? Do you have business partners or employees who do not want to be included if you are no longer here?  Do you want your business to continue without you? Could you sell your business? Is there anyone in your life, including an adult child, who you absolutely do not want to be making your decisions at the time of your incapacity or death?  
  2. It is very important that you do not risk your Florida estate planning, either in the creation or in the updates or amendments, with a do-it-yourself or internet estate plan! Be aware that there are strict laws to be followed when you want your Florida estate plan to work. While you can read about signing provisions, execution, requirements, notarization requirements, and much more, your best defense to potential legal challenges is the experience of a Florida estate planning attorney who you choose to work with. Your Florida estate planning attorney will understand your goals, your values, what you do and do not want, and will be able to support you both in life as well as at the time of your passing, especially if any challenges arise.
  3. It is acceptable that you consider letting others know your wishes for your legacy. We do have many of our clients choose to keep their Florida estate planning goals and choices confidential, but you do not have to. Communication is key in all situations, especially with the understanding of what you want for your legacy. Letting vital decision makers, and even beneficiaries, know your wishes early may be a critical step in helping them understand why you did or did not make the choices they believed were in their best interest. However, before taking this step, discuss the pros and cons with your Florida estate planning attorney.
  4. Consider trust planning, not just will planning, as a part of your estate plan. Unfortunately, despite much public misinformation, a Florida last will and testament does not avoid the probate process. Instead, the last will and testament ensures that a probate may be needed. Probate is a public proceeding and can give a forum for challenges to your Florida estate plan. With most Florida trust planning, however, the probate process can be avoided, and your trust administration process can be kept private.
  5. Most importantly, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. There is absolutely no substitute for experience in this area. Your Florida estate planning attorney, with years of experience and training, will be able to help you navigate these challenges both while you are creating your Florida estate plan as well as being available for your decision makers in the event of your incapacity or death. Be sure to discuss any and all concerns you have related to potential conflict at the time of your passing with your Florida estate planning attorney so you can receive guidance on what the best course of action is. Secrets, uncertainty, or surprises, in this area do not benefit anyone and in fact can damage your planning if they are not disclosed in full when you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Protecting Your Digital Assets As Part Of Your Estate Planning

Did you know that when you begin creating your comprehensive Florida estate plan that you can include your digital assets? Your digital assets could include a range of electronic records, including everything from social media accounts to digital photos, to email, to online accounts. In addition, have you thought about whether you need to protect your digital assets?  Do you know how to protect them? Part of securing your digital assets may be planning for the future with your Florida estate plan. Did you know that digital assets can be included in your estate planning? The following recommendations may help you know how to include digital assets in your estate plan while, in the meantime, keeping them secure.

The protection and preservation of all your passwords is critical in addressing the security of your digital assets. It can be very difficult to keep track of all of the different passwords you use to access your different accounts on a frequent basis.  One recommendation to help you keep track of your passwords would be to make a written list and keep it in a locked desk drawer, lock box or home safe. Next, we recommend that this list be kept where you can access it frequently for whenever you need to make updates to your list. Another recommendation is that the passwords you choose should be strong and not easily guessed. In addition, it is recommended that you should change your passwords often, even if only once a year. Be vigilant in checking on your digital assets to ensure your passwords have not been compromised. If they have, update them immediately. 

So, is it possible to have your digital assets as part of your estate plan? Yes. There are digital assets that are financial, like a digital Paypal, Venmo, or bitcoin account. Some digital assets are sentimental, like a collection of photographs or videos of your children and grandchildren. We recommend that you have a trusted person who will be able to access these assets after you pass away.  We recommend that you pick a “password person” who can be trusted with your password  information and keep this trusted person informed of where you keep your password list so he or she can access it when the time comes. When working with your Florida estate planning attorney, you may wish to detail who should have access to your digital assets when you create your Florida will, or leave your personal representative instructions in regard to your passwords. 

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

Prenuptial Agreements and How They Affect Your Estate Plan

Are you and your future spouse considering remarriage? As you both look at your assets and your children from former marriages, are you wondering about a prenuptial agreement, but not sure how it would help?  In addition, are you wondering whether you need to look at your Florida estate plan and determine whether a prenuptial would help or hinder your estate plan? These are all good questions to ask, contemplate and find answers before you remarry. Let us share some answers with you.

To begin, a prenuptial agreement is a contract between two parties who intend to marry. This contract will outline exactly what property the parties agree to keep as separate, non-marital property and how that property will be divided in the event of a dissolution of the marriage or the death of a spouse. Now, a prenuptial agreement should not have a negative connotation because entering into a prenuptial agreement does not mean you do not have faith in your upcoming marriage or want to plan for a divorce. Let us share with you two reasons why a prenuptial agreement is important.

  1. The first and main reason to enter into a prenuptial agreement is that then you and your future spouse can outline how your own property will pass when you die if you have children outside the marriage. In most states, if you have a surviving spouse, you cannot leave all of your estate to your children. It does not matter what your will says; the surviving spouse typically can elect to disregard the will and inherit up to one-half of the estate, depending on the state’s laws. A prenuptial agreement governing the distribution of assets can help to ensure that your property passes to your children and your surviving spouse in the proportions that you desire rather than the proportions outlined in your state’s laws.
  2. A second reason for entering into a prenuptial agreement is that you want to dictate to whom you wish to leave valuable assets acquired prior to the marriage. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, those assets may become part of your estate that can be inherited by your spouse upon your death. If your desire is to leave those assets to someone other than your spouse, your will or trust alone may not be enough because of the rights given to spouses under the laws of most states. Therefore, including that information in a prenuptial agreement can help ensure those assets pass in the way in which you intend.

Most importantly, if you are marrying, or remarrying, we highly recommend that you consult a qualified Florida estate planning attorney. She will be experienced in these issues so that you can be certain you incorporate a prenuptial agreement into your estate planning.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.