Aug 272015
 

Many people think they can avoid the probate of an estate if their deceased loved one had a Last Will and Testament. This is a common misconception. A will is a set of directions by the deceased on how they want their estate to be distributed. Probate is the legal processes where a deceased person’s affairs are managed in an organized manner to ensure that all legitimate debts are paid, burial expenses are taken care of, and the remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries according to the will or via intestacy. 

Aug 132015
 
Considering a Do-It-Yourself Will?

When clients visit our office to discuss the prospect of having a will drafted, the topic of online legal services often arise. Clients want to know if the cost savings are worth it. Sure, it costs less to use a document created by a website, but is it truly worth it? The 2014 Florida Supreme Court case, Aldrich v. Basile, provides a cautionary tale. In 2004, Ann Aldrich drafted her will with an “E-Z Legal Form.” After her intended beneficiary predeceased her (and left all of her assets to Ann), she attempted to add an addendum to her will, leaving More…

Mar 042014
 

Philip Seymour Hoffman passed in February at the age of 46. He was a successful actor with a family. Nobody plans to die in their forties but it happens. Fortunately, Hoffman left a last will and testament. However, not only was it old and outdated, but it was apparently drafted by a real estate attorney. Unfortunately, many lawyers include wills and trusts or estate planning in their list of practice areas. When deciding to use an attorney to assist you with your estate planning, hire an experienced estate planning attorney. As time passes, laws change, as they did in 2011 More…

Feb 062014
 
Don't Forget Your Pets!

Pet ownership throughout the nation is on the rise and so are the number of pet trusts created each year. Although some pet owners leave tens of thousands of dollars in trusts to care for their pets, pet trusts are no longer just for the wealthy. Many pet owners leave just enough funds to provide for the basic necessities of their pets, such as food and veterinary care making pet trusts more popular among all pet owners. As many pet owners view their pets as a part of their family, pet owners want to be sure that their pets are More…

Jun 182013
 
IRA Trust-The Secret That Very Few Know About

The purpose of any trust is to protect assets and wealth and to provide administration and distribution to the beneficiaries. An IRA Trust is no different. An IRA Trust deals specifically with IRAs and can be drawn by the “grantor,” or the individual who created the trust. An IRA Trust is not like a Revocable Living Trust, which concentrates on averting probate and placing assets squarely into the hands of the name beneficiaries upon the death of the grantor. An IRA Trust should be set up as part of a comprehensive estate plan. If you have over $100,000 in an More…

Jun 062013
 
Free Gun Trust!

Last month, Ourednik Law Offices offered a free gun trust with a revocable living trust package. We were pleased at the response and since the need is so obvious, we’ve decided to extend it until the end of June. A gun trust eliminates the need to register Class 3 weapons by using the grantors, or individuals who set up the trust, as the legal owners. The gun trust has a trustee who is responsible for, and possesses the weapons. As many beneficiaries can be named as desired by the grantors, and the beneficiaries can be any age. One of the big advantages More…

Oct 112012
 
If I Die Without A Will, Will The State Get My Assets?

The answer is, possibly.  One of the most persistent estate planning “myths” around is the belief that if someone dies without a will, the State of Florida is entitled to their possessions.  While it is possible that Florida could collect a windfall upon a person’s passing, it is by no means a certainty. When a Florida resident dies without a will, they are considered legally “intestate.”  Given the relative frequency of this occurrence, it is not surprising that the Florida Statutes have a procedure in place for controlling the disposition of the decedent’s property. If there is a surviving spouse, More…

Oct 032012
 
Obtaining The Florida Homestead Tax Exemption Following Transfer To A Trust

Article VII, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution currently allows for homestead protection from ad valorem real property taxes.  The effect of this provision is to exempt the first $25,000 of property value for all purposes and also to exempt another $25,000 of value for homes worth up to $75,000 for all purposes but the property taxes calculated for schools.  This exemption may be further expanded following the 2012 election. Many people wonder how they can preserve their homestead protection from taxes if the property is transferred to a revocable or irrevocable trust.  Florida Statute § 196.031(1)(a) says that every More…

Sep 192012
 
Funding A Revocable Living Trust

One of the most common estate planning instruments used in the State of Florida is the revocable living trust.  These trusts are popular due to their ability to help avoid the arduous Florida probate process as well as their usefulness in planning for incapacity.  The first step to forming a Florida revocable living trust, is usually the drafting of a trust agreement which is then signed by the trust creator (known as the “settlor” under Florida law) who may also serve as initial trustee.  These agreements are often crafted under the guidance of a Florida estate planning attorney, as they More…

Sep 132012
 
Florida Law Removes Divorced Spouse As A Beneficiary From Non-Probate Assets

A recently enacted Florida law would nullify the designation of a spouse as the beneficiary of non-probate assets such as life insurance policies, qualified annuities, individual retirement accounts (IRA), employee benefit plans, and payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) accounts, upon the dissolution or annulment of a marriage. Florida Statute 732.703, effective July 1, 2012, states that “a designation made by or on behalf of the decedent providing for the payment or transfer at death of an interest in an asset to or for the benefit of the decedent’s former spouse is void as of the time More…