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…

Aug 242012
 
Avoiding Built-In Conflicts Is An Essential Element Of Any Estate Plan

One of the primary purposes of engaging in estate planning is that of avoiding conflicts.  The death of a loved one can easily bring out the worst in people, especially if there is incomplete, or nonexistent, guidance regarding how the decedent’s assets are to be divided.  Thus we engage in estate planning to provide some certainty as to our wishes, with the hope that this will make things easier on our family and friends after we are gone. One of the important goals of the experienced estate planning attorney is that of avoiding “built-in” conflicts.  For example, if the children More…

May 162012
 
Forming A Company May Not Be Enough To Protect An Owner’s Assets

Many people are familiar with the basic liability protections afforded to the owners of a business entity such as a Florida LLC, corporation, or limited partnership.  These legal structures allow for the protection of their owners from personal liability in the event of a successful lawsuit against the company.  However, what may not be as well-understood is the fact that this protection is not absolute.  Courts can and will ignore the corporate liability shield if the circumstances call for such treatment.  This legal doctrine is known as “piercing the corporate veil.” If challenged in a lawsuit, IRS audit or other 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…

Oct 032011
 
Important Provisions Of New Florida Power Of Attorney Statute Are Now In Effect

As written in a previous blog post, several important provisions of the new Florida power of attorney statute became effective as of October 1, 2011.  These provisions include: No more “springing” powers.  As of now, all durable powers of attorney must be effective immediately.  However, those which were executed before October 1 shall remain in effect.  We posted a previous blog outlining some of the reasons for this change. Specific identification and consent for “superpowers.”  Certain broad powers granted to an agent, so-called “superpowers,” now require special procedures.  To grant an agent the ability to exercise a superpower, that power 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 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…

Jun 012011
 
Florida Law Update: Governor Scott Approves Extension of Creditor Protection to Inherited IRAs

On May 31 2011, House Bill 469 was approved by Governor Rick Scott. House Bill 469 codifies the Florida Legislature’s efforts to statutorily protect inherited IRAs from the claims of creditors of a debtor beneficiary under Florida state law. The statute makes clear that “any interest in any fund or account that is exempt from claims of creditors of the owner, beneficiary or participant . . . does not cease to be exempt after the owner’s death by reason of a direct transfer or eligible rollover.” Furthermore, the statute states that it is “intended to clarify existing law, is remedial More…

Jun 012011
 
Florida Law Update: Governor Scott Approves Olmstead Legislation

On May 31, 2011 Governor Rick Scott approved House Bill 253. House Bill 253 is legislation drafted in response to the 2010 Florida Supreme Court decision of Olmstead v. FTC, in which the Court held that, with respect to single member LLCs in Florida, the charging order was not the exclusive remedy available to a creditor holding a judgment against the single member. In the Olmstead case, the Court ordered the debtor to surrender all right, title and interest in his LLC to satisfy an outstanding judgment. This case left the asset protection status of the Florida LLC, both single More…