Sep 282011
 
Jointly Owned Property Is No Substitute For A Proper Estate Plan

These days, it is very common to hear someone remark that, in lieu of meeting with an estate planning attorney, they intend to simply title all of their assets jointly between themselves and a child or other trusted individual.  Usually, the person was talking with a friend, coworker, or golfing buddy who suggested that joint ownership of their assets was a much cheaper and just as effective method of insuring that their loved ones received their property when they have passed.  Unfortunately, joint ownership of your assets is not as secure or effective as a professionally developed estate plan for More…

Sep 232011
 
Revocable Living Trusts Can Reduce Probate Cost For Snowbirds

Here in Florida, we are very familiar with the term “snowbird.”  Snowbirds are often retirees who may own two or more homes, typically having one in a colder state and one in a warmer state, such as Florida.  While there is no doubt that owning multiple homes in different states can be wonderful during life, it can also create serious financial issues at death. For example, let us assume you are a snowbird who has established their primary residence in Florida and maintains a summer home in New York.  If your will is probated in Florida, that probate generally does More…

Sep 222011
 
What Is The Problem With “Springing” Powers Of Attorney?

On October 1, the new Florida power of attorney statute becomes law.  One of the most highlighted provisions of this law is the fact that “springing” powers of attorney will no longer be possible.  Powers of attorney executed before the new law takes effect, including springing powers, will continue to be valid. Springing powers of attorney are popular for those who are unwilling to immediately delegate control over their affairs, usually because they are currently competent and do not want another to have any power over their assets until this changes.  Thus, a springing power of attorney is one that More…

Sep 212011
 
Am I Responsible For The Debts Of A Deceased Family Member?

After the loss of a loved one, many people want to know if they are responsible for the debts incurred by a deceased family member.  For example, it is a very common occurrence for one spouse to manage the financial affairs of the family unit and incur debts that the other spouse is not fully aware of, even where the individuals have been married for decades.  Whatever the reason for incurring the obligation, the idea of leaving a grieving spouse with a mountain of debt is usually the last thing on anyone’s mind. In order to answer this question we More…

Sep 202011
 
Understanding “Inside” And “Outside” Asset Protection

Oftentimes, when proposing an asset protection strategy to a potential client, the concept of “inside” and “outside” liability protection comes up.  The purpose of this blog is to explain the difference between the two and why both are important to any good asset protection plan.  In Florida, one of the most common ways to obtain both inside and outside liability protection is through the formation or a multiple member LLC.  Thus, we will use the LLC as our example in this case. In regards to “inside” protection, a Florida multiple member LLC protects the assets of the LLC owners (commonly More…

Sep 192011
 
New Florida Power Of Attorney Law Begins October 1

In an attempt to achieve greater consistency among the states by conforming Florida’s power of attorney law to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, the Florida legislature voted on May 4, 2011 to pass Senate Bill 670 which significantly revises Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes.  A power of attorney is an estate planning device that grants authority to an agent to act in the place of an individual. There are several important changes in the new law, some of which include: •    No Springing Powers – A springing (or “deployment contingent”) power of attorney is one which does not More…

Sep 082011
 
Protection Of Annuities In Florida

Under Florida Statute § 222.14, the proceeds of an annuity contract issued to a Florida resident are not subject to attachment, garnishment or other legal process in favor of any creditor of the annuity beneficiary unless the annuity contract was established for the benefit of such creditor.  This means that Florida offers broad creditor protection for the beneficiary of an annuity. Traditionally, an annuity is an financial product issued by a financial institution that entitles the purchasers of the annuity to a series of periodic payments.  However, an annuity should not have to follow this exact format in order to More…