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 However, not only was it old and outdated, but it was apparently drafted by a real estate attorney.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…

Aug 282012
 
4 Life Changing Events That Require An Estate Planning Review

Effective estate planning is not the kind of thing that is done once and then put on a shelf for the rest of your life.  It requires consistent review and alteration as circumstances change.  Here are 4 life changing instances which should cause you to pick up the phone and give your Florida estate planning attorney a call: Marriage: Anytime someone decides to get married is a good time to consider whether an estate planning change is in order.  This is true for both the individual and their descendants.  Decisions will need to be made regarding how property will be More…

Jul 122012
 
When May A Surviving Spouse Elect To Take 1/2 Of The Homestead?

Article X, Section 4(c) of the Florida Constitution imposes restrictions on the transfer or devise of homestead property.  While living, a husband and wife who own homestead property may transfer an interest in this property only if both of them sign the deed, mortgage, or other conveyance.  Upon death, there are limits upon how an individual can devise homestead property that are largely dependent on who survives the decedent. If someone attempts to devise the homestead in a manner that is not authorized by Florida law or the Florida Constitution, the Florida Statutes determine the proper manner of descent.  The More…

Apr 052012
 
LGBT Estate Planning Is Very Important In Florida

If you are a member of the LGBT community in Florida, having a properly prepared estate plan is essential. This is because Florida law does not recognize gay marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships.  This means that many of the informal niceties occasionally granted to heterosexual couples, such as the ability of husbands and wives to make medical decisions for one another without formal paperwork, does not exist for LGBT couples. Thankfully, Florida law does recognize the validity of legally binding documents, no matter the sexual orientation of the maker.  A Florida revocable living trust and durable power of attorney More…

Dec 212011
 
End Of The Year Estate Planning - Review And Update Your Estate Plan

Many people find that the end of the year is a good time to review their estate plan and make changes where necessary.  This is because a plan that was sufficient a few years ago (or even yesterday) may no longer be appropriate today.  Thus, it is important to review your estate planning documents at least every 3-5 years to make sure that they are accurate, reflect your current wishes and are still effective.  An estate plan should be reviewed more frequently when changes in the law or life circumstances dictate such a review. Take a moment to look back More…

Nov 172011
 
Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples

It today’s America, the number of partners who choose to live together without going through the process of establishing a legal union is on the rise.  There are a number of reasons that more people are choosing to stay unmarried these days.  For example, the recent economic downturn has made many couples more hesitant to take big steps in their lives, as they prefer to wait until the turbulence has subsided.  Also, homosexual couples do not have the right to get married in many states, including Florida.  Finally, one or both partners may be receiving financial assistance that they cannot 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…