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Gainesville, FL Estate Planning, Will & Trust Law Blog

Friday, October 25, 2019

Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan

In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many of the respondents said this was due to procrastination, but many others mistakenly believed that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.

Why should you have an estate plan?

An estate plan serves many functions, but a few main services that a thorough estate plan provides you is the assurance that your assets are protected, a plan is in place in the event you become ill or incapacitated, and your property is passed down according to your wishes. 

Read more . . .

Friday, July 26, 2019

Recap: Discretionary Trusts

Recap: Discretionary Trusts


If asked “where would you like your assets to go after you pass away” the reply likely made would be, “to my spouse and then my children.” Simple as that, right? Wrong. It is not only important to think about the “where” or “who,” but also the “how,” that is, how will your assets be left to your beneficiaries? The “how” in estate planning can take you on many different avenues and which path you decide will be determined by multiple elements including your goals, your family circumstances, and your assets. If a goal of yours is to try and protect the assets you leave to your beneficiaries from creditors, then you are contemplating asset protection. So, while you may think that leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries after you die is the easiest and most desired form of distribution, it is also the “how” that will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses.
Read more . . .

Friday, May 17, 2019

What does a discretionary trust mean?

What does a discretionary trust mean?


There are many reasons why leaving assets outright to a beneficiary is not the most ideal method of distributing assets. To list a few, maybe a beneficiary has a high risk job such that exposure to lawsuits is prevalent in the beneficiary’s line of work, or it may be the case that a beneficiary is a spendthrift and does not know how to manage money. Other reasons could come down to family dynamics such as a beneficiary’s unstable marriage. Whatever the scenario, it is a good idea to consider whether a discretionary trust is a good fit for your estate plan. Below is some basic information on discretionary trusts and how they may be beneficial to your particular family’s needs.

Read more . . .

Friday, March 15, 2019

Which life events that require an immediate estate plan update?

Which life events that require an immediate estate plan update?


Estate planning is the process of developing a strategy for the care and management of your estate if you become incapacitated or upon your death. One commonly known purpose of estate planning is to minimize taxes and costs, including taxes imposed on gifts, estates, generation skipping transfer and probate court costs. However, your plan must also name someone who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you cannot make decisions for yourself. 


Since your family’s needs and circumstances are constantly changing, so too must your estate plan. Your plan must be updated when certain life changes occur.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection

How You Can Build an Estate Plan that Includes Asset Protection


Much of estate planning has to do with the way a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. From smart incapacity planning to legacy planning, there is a lot that goes into crafting a comprehensive estate plan. One important factor to consider is asset protection. 

Asset protection is the process of positioning one’s assets in such a fashion that they are difficult to be reached by a judgment creditor or divorcing spouse.
Read more . . .

Monday, January 21, 2019

IRAs, Annuities and Guardianship: Providing for Your Minor Children after You Die

IRAs, Annuities and Guardianship:

Providing for Your Minor Children after You Die

Deciding on a guardian for your minor children may very well be the most vexing decision you’ll make regarding your estate planning. Not only must you trust the appointed guardian to raise your children as you’d want them raised, but you also need that person to be financially responsible with your children’s inheritance. For example, if you have an IRA or an annuity that you wish to pass to your minor children, how can you ensure those funds will be used properly - especially if the person you trust most to raise your kids isn’t necessarily the best with finances?

This question is multifaceted, so let’s unravel one aspect at a time.


The Question of Guardianship

Here’s the good news: The person who raises your minor children and the person who handles their inheritance don’t have to be the same person. If necessary, you can appoint one guardian to serve each function, naming one as the guardian of the person and another as the guardian of the estate.
Read more . . .

Friday, January 11, 2019

3 Liability Planning Tips for Physicians

3 Liability Planning Tips for Physicians


The practice of medicine is a fulfilling and altruistic profession that is fraught with the risk of liability.  It’s not just medical malpractice claims either (although those are certainly scary enough), but it’s also the entire scope of risk from being in business, including employment-related issues, liabilities created by business partners and employees, and contractual obligations, as well as personal liabilities.


Below are three liability planning tips physicians can incorporate as part of their estate plan to protect their assets from creditors. 


Tip #1 – Insurance is Always the First Line of Defense Against Liability


Liability insurance is the first line of defense against a claim.  Liability insurance provides a source of funds to pay legal fees as well as settlements or judgments.

Read more . . .

Friday, December 28, 2018

Estate Planning...A must whether you have a little or a lot!

Estate Planning...A must whether you have a little or a lot! 


While everyone is celebrating during this holiday season, the manner of these celebrations can vary based on differing family traditions, religions, and geographic regions. Estate planning is no different - protecting your family’s future must be customized to fit you and your family’s unique needs. No matter your level of wealth, it is important to understand that the reasons for estate planning are universal.

Read more . . .

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Do You Really Need a Will?

Do you really need a will?
You May Not Think You Need a Will, But You Really Do.


It’s hard to believe, but most Americans do not have even a simple will. A common misunderstanding is that a will is only for the rich and famous, and not the average person with modest assets. It is also a common misunderstanding that a will is entirely unnecessary when assets are jointly owned or consist of life insurance policies or retirement accounts that pass by beneficiary designation. 


Wrong on both counts.
Read more . . .

Friday, December 7, 2018

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ


Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either. 

Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse:

  1. Intestate. If you should die intestate, your estate will go through probate and all the world will know what you owned, what you owed, and who got what. 

Read more . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Three Tips for Talking About Your Estate Plan During the Holidays

Three Tips for Talking About Your Estate Plan During the Holidays


The holidays are right around the corner, bringing the joyous season of gathering with family and loved ones into full swing. It is the time to slow down, get caught up with loved ones, and enjoy the family and experience quality time around the dinner table. It is also a great idea to take this opportunity to review your estate plan and talk about the topic with your loved ones. 


Do Not Be Indifferent

While the entire topic of estate planning can be a touchy subject, covering your eyes about the issue is not good for you or your family. According to a Read more . . .

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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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