Tag: last will and testament

How Errors in Your Florida Estate Planning Documents Can Derail Your Goals

Did you know estate planning is a critical process that ensures your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes after your passing? It involves the preparation of various legal documents, such as last will and testaments, trust agreements, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, each serving a unique purpose in safeguarding your legacy and providing for your loved ones. 

What you may not realize, however, is the effectiveness of your estate plan hinges on the accuracy and relevancy of these documents. Errors, outdated information, or non-compliance with Florida-specific laws can lead to significant complications, potentially derailing your carefully laid plans. Critical issues like these can result in increased legal costs, prolonged probate proceedings, unintended tax liabilities, and even disputes among your heirs. Understanding the common pitfalls in estate planning and proactively addressing them with the guidance of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney can help ensure your goals are achieved and your loved ones are protected. We want to dive into them right here on our blog.

  1. Documents not specific to Florida. Estate planning laws vary significantly from state to state. If your documents were created in another state and have not been reviewed or updated since you moved to Florida, they may not comply with Florida law. This can lead to unintended tax consequences, probate issues, or even the invalidation of your documents.

 

  1. Outdated documents. Estate planning documents that are over ten years old may no longer reflect your current wishes or financial situation. You need to know that changes in your family dynamics, such as marriages, divorces, births, and deaths, can all impact your estate plan. Additionally, the value of your assets may have changed, requiring updates to your distribution plans.

 

  1. Changes in the law. Laws governing estate planning are subject to change. If your documents have not been reviewed in several years, they may not take into account recent changes in the law. For example, changes in tax laws can affect the tax efficiency of your estate plan, and updates in probate law can impact how your assets are distributed.

 

  1. Death of a decision-maker. If a person named in your estate planning documents, such as an executor, trustee, or power of attorney, has passed away, your documents need to be updated to appoint a new decision-maker. Failure to do so can result in delays and complications in administering your estate.

 

  1. Incorrect or incomplete beneficiary designations. Errors in beneficiary designations on accounts like life insurance, retirement plans, and payable-on-death accounts can cause these assets to be distributed contrary to your intentions. Ensure that all beneficiary designations are correctly aligned with your estate plan.

To avoid these common pitfalls, it is essential to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney who can help ensure your documents are up-to-date and compliant with current laws. An attorney who specializes in Florida estate planning law will have the expertise to ensure your documents are compliant with state-specific requirements. Your attorney can review your documents, if you have them, and make necessary updates to your documents to reflect changes in your family, assets, or decision-makers.

By taking these proactive steps, you can help ensure that your estate planning documents accurately reflect your wishes and protect your loved ones. We know this article raises 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.

Proactive Estate Planning Measures You Can Take to Prevent Disputes Over Your Will

Were you aware that one of the key concerns people have when considering Florida estate planning and the drafting of a will, is how to avoid a will contest after their death? Sadly, a will contest can lead to prolonged court battles, strained family relationships, and can significantly deplete the estate’s assets. To avoid these risks, there are seven steps you can take now in your estate planning. We would like to share these steps with you below.

  1. Be sure to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. First and foremost, it is important to work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney. A skilled lawyer will be sure that your Florida estate plan is legally sound, adheres to state laws, and clearly articulates your wishes. Your attorney can also provide advice on strategies to minimize the chances of a will contest, including ensuring all legal formalities are correctly followed. Be sure to share any specific concerns you may have about potential contests with your attorney and ask for tailored advice to avoid those risks.

 

  1. Be sure to think about speaking with your loved ones. You will want to speak with your attorney first but be aware that transparency can help in avoiding misunderstandings and disputes. You may want to discuss your estate plan as well as your goals with your loved ones. This does not mean you need to divulge every detail, but explaining your decisions can help manage expectations and reduce the likelihood of surprises that could lead to future contests.

 

  1. Be sure to choose the right decision makers. It is absolutely essential that you select trustworthy and competent agents, personal representatives, and trustees. These are the individuals who will be responsible for working with an attorney to administer your estate and ensure your wishes are carried out. Their ability to handle the role effectively and communicate with beneficiaries can greatly influence the probability of a dispute. Also, you may want to discuss this important role with them to ensure they are willing to serve in this capacity before naming them in your estate plan. 

 

  1. Be sure to plan out what you want clearly. The clearer your estate plan, the less room there is for interpretation or contention. Work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to be explicit about your wishes, including the distribution of specific assets. Your attorney may even recommend you write a letter that could accompany your estate plan for specific family members.

 

  1. Be sure to consider using tools like trusts to avoid probate. One of the complications of using only a last will and testament in your estate plan is that your estate will need to go through the probate process. This process is public and could open your estate up to challenges. On the other hand, when you use a trust agreement and fund your assets into it, you can eliminate the need for probate and provide a more structured distribution through trust administration. 

 

  1. Be sure to update your Florida estate plan on a regular basis. Were you aware that life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, the sale of a business, or acquiring significant assets, necessitates updates to your estate plan? They do. When you regularly review and update your plan to reflect these changes, you ensure that it accurately represents your current wishes and circumstances, reducing the potential for disputes.

 

  1. Be sure to think about the emotional impact of your plan. Of course your death, your estate plan and future inheritances will be emotional. Unequal distributions or perceived slights can lead to hurt feelings and disputes within your family. You cannot control how others feel and you do not have to consider this in your planning, but being as fair and thoughtful as possible in your approach can minimize negative emotions that might fuel a contest.

Finally, while it is impossible to guarantee that your Florida estate plan will not be contested, taking the steps above can significantly reduce the risk. By discussing your specific concerns with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney and seeking their advice, you can develop a comprehensive strategy that addresses potential challenges and works towards ensuring your final wishes are respected and your loved ones are cared for as intended.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. We know this article raises 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.

Learning the Difference Between Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing for Your Loved One

Are you wondering where your loved one may spend their later years? Have you noticed both cognitive and physical challenges beginning to emerge? Then finding a place that can meet your loved one’s long-term care needs, as well as being able to afford it, can be a challenge. Be aware that two of the most common options for senior living when a person needs care are nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

Therefore, learning the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing for your loved one can help ensure that your loved one will receive the right care while also safeguarding a lifetime of savings. Now be mindful that this is where the expertise of a Florida elder law attorney becomes invaluable. Your experienced Florida elder law attorney can not only help you find the care facility you need for your loved one but also be sure that there are ways to afford it without fully impoverishing your family. We want to give you more important information right here in our blog.

Let’s start with ALFs, Assisted Living Facilities. ALFs are designed for individuals who need some assistance with daily activities but wish to live as independently as possible. ALFs offer a combination of housing, personalized supportive services, and health care designed to meet the needs of people who need help with the activities of daily living. Typically services include:

  • Meals and housekeeping
  • Assistance with personal care
  • Medication management
  • Social and recreational activities

Usually residents live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas. The environment is often less medically oriented than a nursing home and focuses more on providing a community feel.

However, in contrast, a nursing home, also known as a skilled nursing facility, is designed for individuals who require 24-hour supervision and medical assistance. Most often residents share rooms and are served meals in a central dining area unless they are too ill to participate. Nursing homes provide a wide range of health and personal care services, including:

  • Full-time nursing care
  • Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
  • Care for chronic conditions or for short-term convalescent or rehabilitative care

The care is generally more intensive and medical in nature than that provided in an assisted living facility.

So what are the primary differences between these two types of facilities which may also include a combination of the following factors:

  • Care level. While nursing homes provide medical and personal care in a clinical setting, assisted living offers personal care in a more home-like, community setting.
  • Independence level. Residents in assisted living can maintain a more independent lifestyle, while nursing homes are better suited for those who require constant medical attention.
  • Expense level. Generally, nursing homes are more expensive due to the higher level of care and medical attention provided.

We know that navigating the complex landscape of elder care options can be challenging. A Florida elder law attorney can provide invaluable guidance in understanding the various care options and the associated legal and financial implications. They can assist with:

  • Long-term care planning, including the selection of the right facility
  • Preserving your assets while ensuring quality care
  • Understanding and organizing the necessary legal documents
  • Medicaid planning and applications

You will be able to find the care your loved one needs while protecting their lifetime of savings when you work with a Florida elder law attorney. They can take a crucial role in being sure that the later years of your loved one are spent with the best possible care and peace of mind

Finally, the decision between a nursing home and an assisted living facility will depend on the needs and preferences of your loved one. Understanding the differences between these options is crucial in making an informed choice that is in keeping with your loved one’s care needs and financial situation. A Florida elder law attorney can be your ally in navigating these choices, ensuring that your loved one makes the best decision for their unique circumstances. With the right help and information, your loved one can find a supportive and comfortable environment for their golden years.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. We know this article raises 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.

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.

How a last will and testament can help you communicate your final wishes

The time to plan for what you want to happen after your death is now. A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to communicate your final wishes to loved ones and outlines your directions for distribution of your property and possessions to individuals and charities, known as beneficiaries.

“A person writes a will while they are alive, and its instructions are carried out once the individual passes away. The will names a still-living person as the executor of the estate. The probate court usually supervises the executor to ensure that wishes specified in the will are carried out.” says Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA.

A last will and testament is not only a financial document. It also provides your directions for the care of your children and assigns guardianship, according to your wishes.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.