Spiro J. Verras Blog

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Probate and Estate Planning In the Cloud: Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

What is the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, and why is it important?

On July 1, 2016, the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act took effect. "Digital assets" include electronic records like emails, texts, online photographs, and social media accounts. Before the passage of the Digital Assets Act, Florida, like most other states, lacked any legal authority addressing the disposition of such assets in the event that an individual becomes incapacitated or dies. As a result, fiduciaries - including agents acting under Durable Power of Attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and Personal Representatives of estates - were frequently denied access to digital assets by custodians of the incapacitated or deceased person's accounts. Every experienced probate attorney can attest to the growing problem posed by lack of legal access to digital assets.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Improvements in Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

How has legalizing gay marriage in all states positively affected estate planning for same-sex couples?

Until very recently, gay and lesbian couples have faced discrimination and injustice with regard to many legal issues, including such routine family matters as hospital visits, inheritance, adoption, and health benefits. Though some of these issues can be difficult for unmarried heterosexual couples as well, they have been much more problematic for same-sex couples, for whom marriage was not an option in the past. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, civil rights involving these issues have been clarified and, despite a conservative backlash, ensured by law. The world is changing rapidly, as are the laws affecting and estate planning, so it is essential to protect your assets and your loved ones by having an excellent estate planning attorney.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Guardianships and the Law

What is guardianship and how is it deemed necessary?

For many people, estate planning includes making provisions for family members who require assistance throughout adulthood. Such individuals may suffer from severe congenital defects, deteriorative or incapacitating illness, psychiatric disorder or disability as the result of an accident. Any condition that prevents such individuals from caring for themselves may require the establishment of a guardianship with the disabled person as the designated "ward." If you have a person in your family who requires this type of protection, it is essential that you set up the guardianship with the assistance of a well-respected attorney with expertise in the field.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

The Need to Include Planning for Long-Term Care in Your Estate Planning

Why should you include planning for long-term care in your estate planning?

Seniors are gradually becoming a larger proportion of the American population.  The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that this growth will become more and more rapid in the future. By the middle of the next century, it is estimated that there could be more people over 65 than people under 18. This means that planning not just for retirement, but for an extended lifespan is becoming increasingly necessary.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

“Strange Inheritance” Reports on a Verras Law Client Who Inherited the World’s Largest Autograph Collection

The Fox Business News show “Strange Inheritance” recently visited the offices of Verras Law, P.A. to meet with probate attorney Spiro J. Verras and his client Juan Carlos Saucedo-Campos, who inherited the estate of legendary autograph collector Jack Kuster, including over 35,000 celebrity autographs and 17,000 never-before-seen celebrity photographs.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Buying a Home and Then Leasing It Back to Its Former Owner

Why would you buy a home and then lease it back to its previous owner?

There are several reasons that buyers purchase a house and then lease it back to the seller for some period of time. Typically, it is a favor to the seller who requires more time in the home after the sale. This can happen for any number of reasons, including:

  • A new home has not yet been purchased
  • A new home is under construction
  • A major family event, such as a wedding, is going to take place
  • A family member has become ill or injured or is near death
  • Employment locally requires the seller to stay in town longer than planned
  • The move will be more complicated than expected

When the buyer is flexible about allowing the seller lease the house back for a few months, it often works to the buyer's financial advantage.

A Case in Point

A woman in Seattle relates that she made an excellent purchase during a very strong seller's market. Though she did not make the highest bid on the property -- in fact, many offers were considerably higher than hers-- she was able to offer the seller the advantage of flexibility by allowing him to remain in the house for several months after the closing.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

For-Profit Adult Day Care Centers: New Approach to a Growing Problem Are there any innovations in adult day care facilities?

Daniel and Genevive Barbeau-Nassar have recently opened a new and different kind of day care center for older adults in Venice, Florida. What makes it unusual is that All Smiles Adult Day Care Center is primarily financed by for-profit providers. In addition, All Smiles offers more security for participants in the program who tend to wander -- a common trait among the cognitively impaired elderly.

New programs in senior facilities are certainly needed since, according to the National Adult Day Services Association, the population enrolled in such centers is growing at an annual rate of 5.5 percent.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Evidence Shows that Medical Errors Are the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in U.S. How common are medical mistakes?

We have all heard the horror stories of medical mistakes: the wrong breast is removed; the wrong kidney is implanted; the surgeon leaves a contaminant in the gastrointestinal tract. Terrifying though these stories may be, most of us assume that safety and sterility standards will be observed when we are hospitalized or operated on. We also assume that the medications our doctors prescribe will help, rather than harm, us.

Unfortunately, a recent study published in the BMJ  (formerly the British Medical Journal) reported that medical errors in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now the third leading cause of death in this country, after cardiovascular disease and cancer. Such mistakes are responsible for the loss of 251,000 lives a year.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Are Inherited IRAs Protected From Creditors?

Depending on where your heirs live, IRAs that designate them as beneficiaries may not be protected from their creditors.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Brady Bunch has become the typical Modern Family - How remarriages are affecting inheritance

Traditional families, in which neither spouse has been married before and in which all children share the same parents, usually have relatively straightforward estate planning needs. Blended families have unique inheritance considerations, and without careful planning couples with stepchildren may not achieve their estate planning goals.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Financing and Growing Your Small Business Through Crowdfunding

Social media have revolutionized much of modern life, including business finance. With crowdfunding, you can raise small amounts of capital from many different sources, while retaining control over your business venture. Crowdfunding for business ventures is not without its risks, and shouldn't be undertaken without legal advice.

Read more . . .

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