Sep 052012
 

When it comes to families with special needs children, the act of engaging in effective estate planning takes on an even greater importance.  If something should happen to the parents of the child, it is essential that a proper plan is in place to avoid any unnecessary disruption during what will already be a devastating time in that child’s life. One important step in this kind of estate plan is the establishment of a supplemental needs trust (also known as a “special needs trust”).  These kinds of trusts are utilized as a method of protecting the child’s assets from harmful More…

Aug 302012
 

As a follow-up to the previous post regarding 4 life changing events that require an estate planning review we now turn to three property transactions that should also lead to a review of an estate plan. Going through probate: It is no secret that longer life spans, ballooning medical costs, and two recessions have been negative factors on the average inheritance these days.  That said, whatever the amount is, there will be even less of it if creditors come calling or if it passes through another probate.  Any time a person receives a large sum of money or property, they More…

Aug 172012
 
When It Comes To Florida Probate, Don’t Mess With The IRS

It is common during the course of a Florida probate for the personal representative to discover that the decedent has outstanding federal tax debt.  When this happens, it is imperative that funds which are available to pay creditor’s claims be properly allocated to the IRS.  Florida Statute 733.707, which outlines the order in which creditors of the probate estate are to be paid, states that the IRS is a “Class 3″ creditor.  This means that the funds which are available after payment of administrative costs and fees, compensation for the personal representative and the fees of the probate attorney, and More…

Aug 082012
 
When To Pay Creditors Of A Florida Probate Estate

A common question which can arise during the probate process is when exactly creditors of the estate should be paid.  As with most things legal, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Florida Statute 733.707 outlines the order in which creditors of the probate estate are to be paid.  This statute sets forth the order of priorities as follows: Class 1 (First) – Administrative costs and fees, including compensation for  the Personal   Representative and  the fees of the probate attorney; Class 2 – Reasonable funeral, internment, and grave expenses up to $6,000; Class 3 – Debts and taxes with More…

Jul 172012
 

The representatives for Michael Jackson’s estate have filed legal documents which show that the estate has generated gross earnings exceeding $475 million as of the end of May and is well on its way to settling the $500 million of debt the King of Pop left behind when he died.  The lawyers estimate that the remaining debt will be paid off by the end of the year.  Jackson was found dead in his Los Angeles, California home three years ago after he overdosed on prescription drugs. While it is certainly easier to settle the debts of the decedent from estate More…

Jun 012012
 
Insurance May Not Be Enough To Protect A Business Owner’s Personal Assets

Previously, we discussed piercing the corporate veil and the role that maintaining adequate insurance can play in determining whether a piercing action will succeed.  But what happens when insurance is not enough?  This is the time when a personal asset protection plan comes into play. It is no secret that insurance companies are in the business of making money and that a large part of their business is generated through the denial of claims.  After all, is it not preferable from their standpoint to bring in all those premiums and pay out nothing at all?  Take, for example, the story More…

May 232012
 
Lack Of Insurance May Be Justification For Piercing The Corporate Veil

Last week we discussed the legal phenomenon known as “piercing the corporate veil”.  If judgment creditor succeeds in a piercing action, courts can ignore the corporate liability shield and hold the individual owners of the company personally responsible if there is not enough assets in the company to satisfy their judgment.  This often happens when the evidence shows that the business did not follow proper corporate formalities, when owners commingle business funds with personal funds, or where the owners failed to adequately capitalize the business. When the company does not have insurance, or has not purchased enough insurance to keep More…

Apr 242012
 
Penn State To Pay $5.5 Million To Paterno Estate

Penn State University has disclosed that it will pay an estimated $5.5 million to the estate of Joe Paterno, the university’s longtime football coach who won a record 409 games and two national championships during his tenure.  Paterno was fired last November after details of a sex abuse scandal involving one of his assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, were reported to the public. Included in the payment are: a $3 million “career bonus;” a death benefit of $51,000; a head coach bonus of $425,000; a payment of $1,000 a month to his widow for the rest of her life; use of 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…