Category Archives: Estate Planning

Florida Spousal Elective Share

Here are a few things you should know about the Florida Spousal Elective Share if you pass away before your spouse, regardless of some planning you may have done.

  1. The elective share amount it 30% of the elective estate
  2. The elective estate includes:
  • The Probate estate (Assets that must pass through probate)
  • Joint accounts (even joint with people other than the spouse), Pay on Death accounts (even if the beneficiary is NOT the spouse), Totten Trusts
  • Property held in joint tenancy by the entireties
  • Life insurance (even if the spouse is not the listed beneficiary)
  • Pensions and retirement funds
  • transfers made within 1 year of death
  • Property passing directly to the spouse
  1. Elective share can be waived by written agreement
  2. Elective share can be barred under certain circumstances

Considering the above, it would be beneficial to have an experienced estate planning attorney look over your plan and discuss the best option to achieve your goals. The statute for the elective share can be found at Florida Statute Section 732.201-732.2155.

~Cristin Buell, Esquire 813-925-8083

http://www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Advertisements

Why Should I have a Backup on my Estate Planning Documents?

Many times when drafting an estate plan, people will name their kids or family members, or close friends as a beneficiary on their accounts and in their will.  Quite often they will use the same people or other close family or friends as their Health Care Surrogate and/or Power of Attorney.  What people forget is that families and friends often travel together and accidents happen all the time, all around us.  So it is important to have backup, or contingent, beneficiaries and agents listed in case one of those accidents happens to you or your loved ones. It’s not fun to think about, but it’s almost necessary.  Be in control as long as you can to help protect your legacy.

~Cristin Buell, Esquire 813-925-8083

http://www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Why do I need an Estate Plan?

If you don’t create an estate plan to designate who will be your beneficiary, who will be able to make decisions in the event that you cannot and who will be guardian over your children, then the state of Florida will make that decision for you and it could be a decision you would not have wanted. Be in control as long as you can.

 

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Estate Planning Tips

  1. Start now – even if you don’t think you have assets, there’s more to Estate Planning
  2. Decide who gets what and how it should be spent – write it down
  3. Know the basics – Last Will and Testament, Designation of Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, Power of Attorney
  4. Consider taxes in creating an estate plan – the goal is to minimize taxes
  5. Avoid Probate, if possible – Probate can take 9 months or longer
  6. Work with a team – Estate Planning Attorney, Accountant and Financial Advisor
  7. Choose your burial or cremation preferences – and prepay
  8. Review your plan over time – recommended every 8-10 years

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

5 Estate Planning musts before traveling

It is always important to have your estate plan in order, however, if you will be traveling, it’s a must.  Should anything happen to you during your trip, having your affairs in order will minimize stress for your loved ones. Here are 5 items to make sure you have and check off before traveling.

  1. Last Will and Testament – This is the most common document people think about when it comes to estate planning. In the Will you name an executor to administer your estate, you name beneficiaries to receive you estate, and you can name a guardian to care for your minor children.
  2. Advanced Directives: Living Will and Health Care Surrogate – These documents express your health care preferences and name someone to make health care decisions for you, if you are unable to. Remember, estate planning isn’t just about death, it’s also making sure your affairs are in order for incapacity as well.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney – This is a financial power of attorney to name an agent to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
  4. Life Insurance – Make sure it is up to date before traveling, especially the beneficiaries listed.
  5. Review Titles / Deeds and Beneficiaries – In addition to checking life insurance beneficiaries, check those on other account as well such as IRAs, checking accounts, savings accounts, anything with a POD or TOD.

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

Top Ways to Avoid Probate

No one wants to go through probate. Even if the estate is small and simple, probate can still be a pain and take months.  Here are a few ways to avoid probate for your loved ones that survive you.

  1. Create a Revocable Trust – A trust is created to manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute the remaining assets after your death.  This is done by a successor trustee that will have immediate access to the trust without having to wait months or go through the courts.
  2. Name beneficiaries on your accounts – Any bank accounts you have, including a regular checking and savings account, can have beneficiaries designated on them.  These beneficiaries will receive the funds soon after your passing just by completing the bank paper work.  This is sometimes called Pay on Death or Transfer on Death.  This can be done for IRA’s, stocks, 401Ks, CDs, etc.
  3. Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship – On any property that you own, if you included another person, or people, on the deed with joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, then when one of you passes, the remaining people would automatically receive and continue to own the property.

These are a few options to avoiding probate.  It’s always good to consult with an Estate Planning Attorney to make sure that the options are best for you and your goals.  Each person is different as are their goals and estate planning needs.

~Cristin Silliman, Esquire

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.

It’s never too late

Even if you lost a loved one just yesterday or many years ago and discover that there is an asset out there in that person’s name, you can still go through probate. There is no time limit to be able to take care of someone’s estate. Never assume it’s too late.  It never hurts to ask a probate attorney if it’s worth going through probate or if it’s possible to do on your own.

It’s also never too late to create a will. I have had several clients create a will days before their passing.  Some attorneys will make a trip to your house or the hospital or nursing home to ensure that your estate plan is taken care of to give you peace of mind.

www.thelegacylawfirmllc.com

Disclaimer: The content in this internet website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice.