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Monday, February 13, 2017

Estate Planning for the Single Parent


As a single parent, do I need an estate plan?

As a single parent, your primary focus is the well-being of your child.  Single parents face a unique set of responsibilities.  You are the sole caretaker and financial provider.  Parenting solo can be stressful, but the joys you experience with your children along the way are far greater.  Being a single parent makes it all the more important for you to prepare a thorough estate plan.


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Monday, January 23, 2017

Selecting a Guardian Requires Careful Consideration


What qualities should I look for in a guardian for my children

New parents take on a number of responsibilities and having a child is a big adjustment. While becoming a parent is a wonderful experience, it is also a time to start thinking about the future. Of course, no one wants to think about dying or the chance that their child will be left without a parent. But new parents must ask themselves who will care for their children if they die.


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Monday, January 16, 2017

Make Estate Planning Your New Year's Resolution


Why do I need an estate plan?

Now that the New Year is hear, many individuals will make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, find a new job, take up a long neglected hobby, and so on. But there's one thing everyone should put at the top of their to do list for 2017: estate planning.

Surely, no one wants to start the new year thinking about dying or the possibility of becoming ill, but like the song says, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Without further delay, let's take at look at some estate planning options for the coming year.

Create or Update Your Will

If you don't have a will, now is the time to put one in place.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Nexus of Digital Assets and Estate Planning


What is the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act?

Today, many individuals conduct their affairs digitally through the use of email, social media, computer storage of digital pictures and music, as well as online bank and investment accounts. What they may not realize, however, is that this portfolio of assets will live on after they die.

Until recently, there was no clear guidance under Florida law concerning the legacy of these assets. Back in March, however, Governor Rick Scott signed into the law the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. The law, which became effective on July 1, is designed to enable Florida residents to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets in the event they become incapacitated or die.
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Simple Tips for Executors


How can I prepare for being an executor?

While being named as executor of a loved one's estate may be an honor, it is also a serious responsibility. In fact, managing another's assets can be complicated and stressful, but there are steps you can take to make getting the job done easier.

The first thing to recognize is that coping with the loss of a family member or friend is emotionally challenging. Dealing with grief can not only make you sad, but irritable and anxious, all of which can affect your ability to think clearly. While there may be things that need to be done quickly, such as arranging for the funeral, take time to mourn before you assume your role as executor.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Nexus of Digital Assets and Estate Planning


What is the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act?

Today, many individuals conduct their affairs digitally through the use of email, social media, computer storage of digital pictures and music, as well as online bank and investment accounts. What they may not realize, however, is that this portfolio of assets will live on after they die.

Until recently, there was no clear guidance under Florida law concerning the legacy of these assets. Back in March, however, Governor Rick Scott signed into the law the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. The law, which became effective on July 1, is designed to enable Florida residents to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets in the event they become incapacitated or die.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tips for Avoiding a Will Contest


How can I prevent my will from being contested?

For those who have a will in place, it is possible for family members to dispute your instructions in which case the probate court may ultimately decided how your assets will be distributed. There are a number of steps you can take to prevent a will contest after your death, however.

Reasons for a Will Contest

There are a number of claims on which a will contest can be based. The first is that the will was not properly executed. Generally, the document  must be signed by the person making it (the "testator") along with two witnesses.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Childless Single's Guide to Estate Planning

What basic estate planning documents should single people with no children have in place?

While many of our estate planning clients are married couples or single people with children, It is also important that single people without children create an estate plan. Of course the concerns and needs of childless singles differ, but it is just as vital for them to have a comprehensive plan to protect themselves and their assets. Unmarried people don't have spouses who can usually step in to manage the affairs of an incapacitated married person, and childless people don't have descendants to serve as their "natural heirs." Consequently, it is critical that they thoughtfully plan their estates and advance directives.

By failing to have a will and other essential documents in place, the state's laws will determine which heirs will inherit your assets. These "heirs at law" are usually close relatives such as children, parents and siblings. If no living relatives can be located, the state may ultimately acquire these assets. In either scenario, these decisions may not be consistent with a person's wishes, or disputes can arise between those who believe they are entitled to an inheritance. For example, the artist Prince passed away unexpectedly in 2016 without a will. He was unmarried and had no children, and his parents had both predeceased him. Under the laws of the state of Minnesota, where he lived, his siblings would inherit his substantial estate in equal shares. Since Prince had no will identifying his siblings, several persons came forward claiming to be children of his late father. The result was lengthy and expensive probate litigation.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Common Estate Planning Mistakes


How can I avoid mistakes in my estate plan? 

Many people have heard of the term "estate planning," but may not understand what it means. Put simply, estate planning is about getting your affairs in order, protecting your assets, deciding in advance who will make decisions for you if you are unable to do so, and providing for your loved ones. Although there is a wealth of information at our fingertips online, the internet is not a reliable source for estate planning information and guidance. As as result, many individuals are poorly advised and misinformed. Let's take a look at a few common estate planning mistakes.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nursing Homes Barred from Requiring Arbitration


What is being done about elder abuse in nursing homes?

Last month, we wrote a post on the factors involved in selecting a nursing home in light of widespread neglect and abuse in the elder care system. The Obama Administration has since issued a rule that will make it easier for the families of injured nursing home residents to sue for damages.  Specifically, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (a division of the Department of Health and Human Services) has barred all nursing homes that receive federal funding from requiring residents to resolve disputes through arbitration. This new rule is designed to provide greater protection to as many as 1.5 million residents.


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home

How can I select the best nursing home for my aging parent?

The fact that our society as a whole is living longer and the number of seniors is growing fast means that many individuals will face the difficult choice of entering an assisted living facility ("ALF") or a nursing home. While many elder care facilities provide quality health care to their residents and patients, nursing home neglect and abuse continues to plague the system. For this reason, elders and their loved ones need to choose an ALF or nursing home carefully, and also have a plan for financing long-term care.  

Why are patients injured in nursing homes?

Patients are often neglected and injured for a number of reasons. One overarching problem is that some nursing homes care more about making profits rather than patient care. As such, these facilities look to cut costs by not retaining adequate staff or hiring workers who have not received adequate training.

When patients are neglected, not properly supervised, or heavily sedated (as they sometimes are in an effort to minimize their care needs) they are more likely to be injured in falls, which can have catastrophic consequences



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