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Wills & Trusts

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 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.


Friday, May 31, 2013

What Will Happen To Your Pet When You're No Longer Around?

When it comes to protecting your pet, no one does it better than you do.

·         You love them…

·         You feed them…

·         You make sure they have everything they need to live a happy, healthy life.

But what would happen if you were no longer around? Who would care for your pet? Would your friends and family know what foods to feed or what medications to give?

How can you ensure that your pet continues to receive the love and care they need?

IS MY PET REALLY AT RISK?

According to animal welfare organization “2nd Chance 4 Pets,” over 500,000 pets are abandoned each year due to the death or disability of their human companions. That’s 500,000 too many. What’s worse is that those pets could have been protected with just a little planning. Think about it: what will happen to your pet if you become disabled? What if you’re no longer able to speak for yourself? How will the courts know what to do with your pet? And how can you make sure that your beloved animal doesn’t end up in a shelter somewhere or worse, alone on the streets? Sadly, that happens all the time.

With a Pet Trust, you can prevent your pet from becoming another statistic. Give us a call today – together, we can make sure your pet has a happy, healthy life.

 


Friday, May 24, 2013

Do You Need to Update Your Will When You Move to Florida?

 

Do You Need to Update Your Will When You Move to Florida?

 

If you move to Florida and you have a Will that was drafted and signed in another state, is it still valid?  The myth that an out of state Will is automatically invalid when you move to Florida is not true.  A Will that is signed by a non-Florida resident is valid in Florida if:

·         It complies with the statutory formalities for executing a Will or

·         The Will is valid under the laws of the state where the Will was signed UNLESS the out of state will was verbal or handwritten. 

·         In Florida, a Will MUST be in writing to be valid.  A Will in a person’s own handwriting is not valid unless it meets the formal document signing requirements of either Florida or the state in which it was signed.

·         Even if your will is VALID, it may not be EFFECTIVE.  Some provisions of your out of state Will may not be valid under Florida law. 

For example:

a.       your will is based on “community property” rights that were recognized in your prior state. Florida does not have “community property” rights.

b.      you named a friend or neighbor from your previous state as guardian of your minor children who is not qualified to serve as a Florida guardian.

Did you know:

1)      A Power of Attorney drafted in some states loses its validity when the person who signed it becomes incapacitated.  In Florida, it does not – if properly drafted. 

2)      A “Living Will” drafted in another state may not comply with the particularities of Florida law. 

3)      Florida law provides that you may designate a “health care surrogate” to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

We believe that when someone moves to Florida they should consult with a Florida estate planning attorney to ensure that their estate planning documents are up to date and conform with Florida law.  If you have family, friends, or neighbors who recently have moved to Florida, please share this information with them.

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!




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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