What to Consider Before Using a Safe Deposit Box for your Last Will and Testament

Securing your estate planning documents like a Will or Trust is a good idea but storing them in a safe deposit box at the bank may have unintended consequence.  This article presents some common issues that occur when using a safe deposit box for your important documents.   A safe deposit box is a secure container that is often stored inside of a vault at a bank.  You can go to the bank and pay Read More

How to Plan Your Estate When You Have Minor Children

One reason that people decide to create an estate plan is they want to ensure that their family will be taken care of.  Many parents want to include provisions in their estate plan about how their children are to be provided for. The following are some methods that you can use in your estate plan to make sure that your children are taken care of and raised according to your wishes if you are unable to care for them Read More

Out-of-State Heirs: Four Things You Need to Know

Today, families live spread out across the country and the world.  This means that sometimes a loved one will pass away with property in Florida but some or all of their heirs live in different states, and sometimes, even different countries.  Because the property that is left behind is located in Florida, the Florida Probate courts have jurisdiction over the cases. What do you need to know if you are an out-of-state Read More

Understanding Inheritance

There’s a lot to do when a loved one passes. On top of handling your own grief, you may have to make final arrangements, communicate with family members or friends, and handle legal affairs. The decedent’s estate is a high priority—prompt handling of the estate ensures that beneficiaries receive their intended inheritance. Several Ways to Inherit in Florida Depending on your loved one’s final arrangements, Read More

Revocable v. Irrevocable Trusts: What is the difference?

What is a Trust? Trusts are among the many tools that can be used in planning the management of your estate.  The two main categories of trusts that are used are revocable and irrevocable trusts. This article will explain some of the differences between those two types of trusts.   Requirements for Creating a Trust Before getting into the differences, it is useful to understand why a trust may be used in an estate Read More

Surviving Spouse’s Right to Elective Share

When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse is entitled to make an election for a spousal share.  This overview of a surviving spouse’s right to an elective share applies Florida law.   What Is An Elective Share? An elective share, also called a forced share or spousal share, is an option that may be exercised by a surviving spouse related to the decedent’s estate.  By making the election, the surviving spouse is Read More

What is a Health Care Surrogate and Why Should You Have One?

What happens if you need medical care, but you are unable to make decisions about the kind of care you would like or how that care should be administered? You can plan ahead in case you are ever incapacitated at the time that a decision needs to be made about your medical care.  Advanced medical directives are a method for you to express your wishes for your own medical care. They are advanced because you are making Read More

What is a Florida Living Will and Why Should You Have One?

What happens if you need medical care but you are unable to make decisions about the kind of care you would like or how that care should be administered? It is common for people to want to make decisions regarding their medical care.  When someone is incapacitated, those decisions often fall to spouses or close relatives.  Sometimes the individual will have designated a health care surrogate. For people who Read More

Does My Divorce Affect My Estate Plan?

In short, most likely yes. When you were married, you likely created an estate plan and will with your spouse in mind. You probably listed your spouse’s name for a number of important roles like health surrogate, and primary beneficiary, among others. But your marriage has changed and so should your estate plan. This article outlines common estate planning mistakes people make during the divorce process, how to avoid Read More

Florida Homestead Property and the Probate Process

Florida laws on homestead property are complex but can also provide homeowners with benefits.  The laws provide for exemptions on taxes and specific distribution of the homestead property when the owner passes away.  It is important to consider the impact of homestead property in your estate planning process as it is different than other property you may own.  The Florida state Constitution, Article X, Read More