Spiro J. Verras Blog

Friday, January 25, 2019

Plan Carefully to Pass Down Your IRA Assets

Can a trust be the beneficiary of my IRA?

Individual retirement accounts have become a significant asset for most Americans. According to the Investment Company Institute, Americans hold over $9.2 trillion in individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Over 43 million people own IRAs and these accounts have an average balance of over $100,000. With such significant wealth in IRAs nationwide, it becomes critical for IRA holders to plan for the transference of their assets to their heirs.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Dangers of DIY Wills

Will a fill-in-the blank will be enforceable in Florida?

In the digital era, it is easy to find almost anything you search for online.  Those seeking to create their own will online will find no shortage of standard form type wills.  The problem with the web, however, is that anyone can post nearly anything.  As such, a supposed Florida will found on the internet might be completely invalid per state law.  Websites like LegalZoom offer more assurance than the standard form will and could comply with the law, but nonetheless these do-it-yourself wills suffer from some major shortcomings.
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Friday, December 28, 2018

Debunking Common Estate Planning Myths

Is a will the only estate planning document I need?

There are a lot of misconceptions swirling about estate planning.  For the nearly half of all Americans who do not have an estate plan, estate planning myths can negatively impact your ability to create a thorough end of life plan.  Our Tampa estate planning lawyers dispel some of the most common estate planning myths below.
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Estate Planning for Your Illiquid Assets

What is the best way to pass down my valuable hard assets like antiques, jewelry, or art?

Some assets are easier to include in your estate plan than others.  Liquid assets like cash, stocks, and bonds can fairly easily be placed in a trust for distribution upon your death or equally split among children or grandchildren in your will.  So-called “hard” or illiquid assets, or those which are not easy to liquefy or set a value to, can be far more difficult to distribute. Hard assets could potentially include artwork, antiques, property, or jewelry.  These assets may be of unknown value and may not be included in an inventory list of one’s assets.
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Friday, November 30, 2018

Estate Planning for Snowbirds

How should I include my second home in my estate plan?

With its sunshine and warm temperatures, Florida is the ideal second home for so-called “snow birds,” or those who live in colder states, but come down to Florida every winter.  Every year, Florida will welcome between 900,000 to one million seasonal residents during the winter months.  Most snowbirds own a second home in Florida.  While many snowbirds already have an estate plan in place, not all snowbirds will have taken into account their second out-of-state home.  Probate is controlled by state law, with your state of residence taking control over property owned within it. Owning a second home and living part time in a different state creates estate planning concerns that are best addressed with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Don’t Wait Until Your Death Bed to Make an Estate Plan

Why might a deathbed will be contested?

It’s natural to want to put off creating an estate plan.  After all, few of us wish to contemplate what will become of our assets and loved ones after we die.  At times, people procrastinate making an estate plan for so long that they end up on their death bed.  Only then do they attempt to write a will or have their attorney make a trust, but death bed estate planning could come with serious legal complications.  Our Tampa estate planning lawyers discuss why making your estate plan on your death bed or changing it when you are dying should be avoided whenever possible.

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Key Terms to Know While Making Your Estate Plan

What is a codicil and when is it used?

The field of estate planning is mired in confusion for many of us.  Terms like “intestacy” and “testamentary capacity” may elicit uncertainty in the minds of individuals with limited exposure to the estate planning world.  Unclear on the definitions of many estate planning terms and unsure about the steps to take to create an estate plan, some people may put off estate planning until it is too late.  Our Tampa Bay estate planning lawyers offer some definitions of important concepts in estate planning to help you enter the estate planning process with knowledge and clarity.

Essential Estate Planning Terms to Know

Review the definitions below and be sure contact an estate planning lawyer for more information about any concepts that remain unclear to you.

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Real Estate and Your Estate Plan

How might a 1031 exchange form a part of your estate plan?

 Real estate has long comprised a large portion of many investor’s estates.  Now, with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018, many investors may wish to consider making real estate a larger part of their portfolio because the Act offers several benefits for tax reduction both during and after your lifetime.  To ensure your real estate holdings are passed with minimal taxation to your loved ones, you will want to make sure your real estate holdings are thoroughly considered and included in your estate plan.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Asset Protection Strategies for Floridians

What types of insurance should I secure to protect my assets?

In our litigious society, all of us are potentially at risk of seizure of our assets due to various forms of liability. Liability for debts can arise due to accidents, malpractice, breach of a personal guarantee, and many other circumstances. Professionals like doctors, lawyers, and dentists, as well as business and property owners, are particularly vulnerable to potential liability. Fortunately, there are steps that we as Floridians can take to protect our assets.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Including Your Stepchildren in Your Estate Plan

Will my stepchildren receive a portion of my assets if I die without a will?

There are over 1,300,000 households with stepchildren in the United States, according to Census Bureau data. Stepfamilies are a growing percentage of the American population, and the bond between a stepparent and stepchild can be quite strong. Most stepparents will want to ensure their stepchildren are protected after their death, but may not be aware that under Florida law, stepchildren are not automatically protected. Our

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Sues Family for Elder Exploitation

What types of elder abuse commonly occur in the U.S.?

Buzz Aldrin, the famed American astronaut who became the second man to walk on the moon, recently filed a claim in Florida against two family members and his former business manager alleging elder exploitation. Aldrin, who is now 88, seeks to retain control of his business Buzz Aldrin Enterprises and his not-for-profit organization, ShareSpace Foundation. The suit comes months after Aldrin’s family filed a request to be appointed as...

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