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Estate Planning

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Executor (Personal Representative) - A poem

I ran across this poem today by Edgar A. Guest.  He certainly makes a decent case for naming a professional as the executor of your Will.

 

THE EXECUTOR
I had a friend who died and he,
On earth so loved and trusted me,
That ere he quit this earthly shore,
He made me his executor.
He tasked me through my natural life,
To guard the interests of his wife,
To see that everything was done,
Both for his daughter and his son.
I have his money to invest,
And though I try my level best,
To do that wisely, I’m advised,
My judgment oft is criticized.

His widow once so calm and meek,
Comes, hot with rage, three times a week,
And rails at me, because I must,
To keep my oath appear unjust.
His children hate the sight of me,
Although their friend I’ve tried to be,
And every relative declares,
I interfere with his affairs.
Now when I die I’ll never ask,
A friend to carry such a task,
I’ll spare him all such anguish sore,
And leave a hired executor.

Edgar A. Guest, Today and Tomorrow (Chicago: Reilly & Lee Company, 1942)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

FUN ESTATE PLANNING JUMBLE (with permission from author Jeff Knurek)

 

Jumbles:  BOGUS, LLAMA, DISMAY, CASHEW

Answer: When she suggested her Dad talk to a lawyer about his estate planning, he said WILL DO


Thursday, September 12, 2013

NOT MARRIED BUT LIVING TOGETHER?

Did you know?

If you live with your significant other, you may run into problems if you try to buy a life insurance policy and name yourself as the beneficiary.  Non-work related life insurance policies require that you have an “insurable interest” in your unmarried partner.  Usually business partners, co-owners of real estate (your house for example) and spouses have this insurable interest.  The two of you may need to become business partners or own real estate together to qualify for an insurable interest.  


Thursday, September 5, 2013

American Taxpayer Relief Act

The American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law

On January 2, 2013 President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) into law. This came the day after the Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill. ATRA makes permanent many tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, and makes a permanent patch on the alternative minimum tax and extends many individual and business tax provisions.
Following is a summary of many of the ATRA features.

http://www.estateplanninganswers.org/the-american-taxpayer-relief-act-was-signed-into-law/


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Post - DOMA Tax and Estate Planning

DOMA Here is a great podcast from Bob Keebler that covers tax and estate issues after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision by the Supreme Court of the U.S. This podcast (transcript also available) discusses the complexity of moving from a same-sex marriage state to an opposite-sex only marriage state, income tax planning for same-sex married couples, estate and gift tax planning, the marital deduction, gift splitting and portability issues, as well as IRAs and retirement plans. Enjoy!

 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

TOP 10 ESTATE PLANNING MISTAKES

10 PLANNING MISTAKES

 

1)       Failing to Address Health Care Decisions

2)       No Plan to Control Financial & Property Matters During Incapacity

3)       No Strategy to Transfer Assets

4)       Failure to Understand & Plan For Taxes

5)       Thinking Children – Minor And Adult – Don’t Need Inheritance Protection

6)       Failing to Transfer “Values”

7)       Not Preserving Tax Deferral Benefits of Retirement Plans

8)       In second marriages, failing to protect your spouse, and your kids

9)       Access to Medical Records – Failing to Plan for HIPAA

10)    Failing to Plan for Tangible Personal Property

 

 

No one knows what tomorrow may bring and if here is an unexpected death, who would take custody of the children? Who would get mom’s antique piano and what would happen to that retirement nest egg? 

No one particularly welcomes thoughts of death or dying but we strive to make estate planning a painless and rewarding process. Clients are often anxious the first time we meet, but by helping them clarify and get things in order, it really lifts a burden off their shoulders.  It is never too early or too late to discuss estate planning strategies.

Throughout your life, things change.  You change, your assets change, your family changes, the law will definitely change.

At White & Crouch, P.A., we foster a lifetime, ongoing relationship with our clients.  Call us today.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Can't I just get my Will from LegalZoom?

Legal Zoom does great marketing and seems like a great alternative to those pesky lawyers.  I mean gosh, you have to go there, you have to talk to them and you just wind up with documents, right?  

Of course, I am an attorney and so I may have biased opinion but after reading this post, http://www.texaswillsandtrustslaw.com/2010/05/24/legalzoom-vs-lawyer-what-you-dont-know-can-hurt-you/ I can't say enough about finding an attorney and making sure your Will really DOES have the effect you want and really IS a legally binding document.  

For example, look at this statement posted on the top left hand corner of the website that says 80% of people who fill in the blanks do so incorrectly.

 

Of course, this is followed by the great marketing technique that "professionals" are available to help and that you the customer can have “peace of mind” knowing that LegalZoom "professionals" will help you customize your Will based on legal decisions.

BEWARE: LegalZoom is NOT a law firm. LegalZoom is NOT permitted to provide legal advice, apply the law to your particular situation, review your answers for legal sufficiency, or draw legal conclusions.  Don't fall for it.

Check out this video  that shows an attorney who walks through the process of obtaining a will through LegalZoom.   It shows how easy it is to make significant mistakes - even for someone who is an attorney.

Is LegalZoom cheaper than going to an attorney?  Yes.  But if your documents are invalid or ineffective, you may as well flush your money down the toilet (or at least go to a nice dinner!).  Worse, if the document IS valid but results in unintended consequences, you have now done more harm than good.  The sad truth is that mistakes are not likely to be uncovered until after you die.

PLEASE, consider it an investment and don't go the cheap route on this.  It's too important to just hope you get it right.

 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

What happens if I die without an estate plan?

If you die without a good estate plan, you’re leaving everything to chance. Simply put, you won’t have any idea what will happen to your loved ones in the event of your death or disability.

That’s not to say that your loved ones won’t survive or even prosper after you’re gone. The laws of Florida provide for the orderly distribution of property even though there may not be a Will or other legal documents in place. While those laws are designed to make sure that your creditors are paid and that all remaining property is distributed to the "natural objects of your bounty," they certainly don’t take into consideration the particular needs of any of your loved ones, nor do they seek to minimize costs or the delays often associated with probate. 

Certainly, it stands to reason that you know best how you want to provide for your loved ones in the event of your death or disability.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beware of Estate Planning Fraud

Often presented in a seminar, by direct mail and even telemarketing, companies are promising a one-size-fits-all type of standard Living Trust that does not take into account your individual needs or situation. These so-called estate planners say they work with an attorney; however, the attorney is only the front person and is not involved in preparing the trust document.

Some have a sound-alike name similar to that of the American Association of Retired People (AARP) or other trusted organization, which might confuse the elderly into thinking the company is legitimate. I am told these defrauders sometimes even go door to door in the daytime to avoid any potential adult caregivers that may be home.

If you or your loved one wishes to set up a trust, talk with an experienced estate planning attorney today.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Think you Don’t Have a Will? Think Again.

If you’re a resident of Florida and you die intestate (without a Will) or if your Will is deemed ‘invalid,’ the Florida Legislature has written one for you.

Under Florida Statutes ss.732.101 & 732.102, if you are married your spouse will inherit according to the following rules:

* If you have no lineal descendants, your spouse inherits 100% of your estate;

* If you have lineal descendants, all of whom are also your spouse’s lineal descendants, and your spouse has no other descendants, your spouse receives 100% of your estate;

* If you have lineal descendants, one or more of whom are not lineal descendants of your spouse, your estate is split 50-50 between your spouse and your descendants;

* If you have lineal descendants, all of whom are also your spouse’s lineal descendants, but your spouse has one or more descendants who are not your lineal descendants (children from a previous marriage, perhaps), your estate is split 50-50 between your spouse and your descendants.

 

Getting Legal Help

At White and Crouch we understand what your estate plan should and should not include to protect your assets and your loved ones. We can help you make a thorough plan to give you peace of mind. Contact us today at (352) 372-1011.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Formal vs. Summary Administration of Estates

Everyone has heard horror stories about Probate. However, there is nothing inherently evil about it, and it provides a number of benefits. There are two types of Probate in Florida: Formal Administration and Summary Administration. Formal Administration has the advantage that it provides a court-supervised structure to ensure that everyone with a stake in the estate gets a fair shake. If there are any disputes, they can be brought before the Court for resolution. Once distributions are made to the beneficiaries and the estate is closed, the beneficiaries do not have to worry about future claims against the estate.

Summary Administration, as the name implies, is less formal, takes less time, and costs less. However, little guidance or protection is provided in the event of a dispute or a claim against the estate. Summary Administration can be used if there is no direction for Formal Administration in the Will, the assets of the estate do not exceed $75,000, or if the decedent has been deceased for more than two years. In these instances, the court can order an immediate distribution of the assets to the heirs. In a functional family where no claims or disputes are anticipated, if an estate qualifies for Summary Administration, that is often the wiser choice.

Getting Legal Help

At White and Crouch we understand what your estate plan should and should not include to protect your assets and your loved ones. We can help you make a thorough plan to give you peace of mind. Contact us today at 352-372-1011.



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From our office in Gainesville, the estate planning firm of White & Crouch, P.A. advises and represents clients in communities throughout Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Putnam County, Clay County, Bradford County, Union County and Gilchrist County in North Central Florida. Call us at 352-372-1011 or contact the firm by email to arrange an initial consultation with us today.



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