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Estate Planning Archives

3 major estate planning mistakes most people make

You're in your 50s, so you're thinking about estate planning. You have a few children, a good amount in assets - investments, cash, real estate and much more - and you want to make sure they get passed on to your kids properly. But you haven't done anything yet. If someone asked you if having a plan was important, you'd say yes. If they asked to see your plan, though, it'd be impossible - since that plan simply doesn't exist.

Designing an estate plan for your digital assets

If you have been following our blog on estate planning, you know how important discuss the components of this legal portfolio with your parents. In the past, most conversations about estate plans typically included wills, advanced medical directives and trusts. Today, our reliance on the internet's ability to facilitate correspondence, pay bills, store data and sell goods requires that we incorporate digital assets into our estate plan. Even if your parents do not hold copyrights for photos published online or market wares on Etsy, there are aspects of their online identities that need to be protected when they pass.

Why You Should Talk to Your Aging Parents Now About Estate Planning

With advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles many individuals today are living longer and longer. Many of us have aging parents who are lively and independent, however, one day it will be our responsibility to take care of them. Unfortunately the law does not provide children with automatic access and control of their parent's accounts, funds and assets. For instance, when the day comes for you to sell your parent's home you may find out that you simply do not have the legal authority to do so. In such circumstances your only choice may be to institute guardianship proceedings in court to gain full legal control and responsibility of your parents and their financial affairs. Guardianship can be an expensive and time consuming process which can be avoided in most circumstances with just the most basic of estate plans. As part of your parents' estate planning, consider a simple durable power of attorney, which can be drafted to allow you to manage your parent's finances and pay their bills without court intervention.

How To Avoid the Slow and Costly Probate Process In Florida.

Many of my estate planning clients are surprised to find out that a properly executed Will does not avoid probate. In fact signing a Will gives your entire estate a first class ticket to the slow and costly probate court after you die. If you pass without a Will the situation is even worse because the estate will have to be administered in probate court as an intestate estate which will only further complicate matters. In Florida the probate process can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and in some cases may take years to complete, meanwhile your family may not have access to your assets until the probate is complete.

A Qualified Income Trust May Be Required To Be Eligible For Medicaid Benefits In Florida.

Many retirees today are finding out that they have too much monthly income to qualify for Florida Medicaid benefits to pay for their long term care. The solution is to set up a Qualified Income Trust also known as a "Miller Trust" as part of your estate planning process.

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