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Brevard County, Florida, legal blog

Using death beneficiaries to avoid probate for your heirs

Probate proceedings can be costly and time-consuming. In the worst cases, a probated estate can take years to resolve. For this reason, most Florida estate planners will take action by whatever means possible to prevent their heirs from needing to wait through probate proceedings in order to receive their inheritances.

One way to achieve this for certain assets is through the use of death beneficiaries. Death beneficiaries allow estate planners to designate specific property to become the property of an heir or beneficiary at the moment of death.

This isn’t the way to avoid Florida probate

You want the best for your children, of course, so you would like for them to avoid legal complications when you’re gone. So you’ve hit upon a way for them to avoid Florida probate on your estate and dodge its time-consuming complications – or so you might believe.

The plan you’ve come up with is to make your oldest son the co-owner of your bank account. In that way, the account passes directly to him when you pass, and has the added bonus of enabling him to take care of your bills and deposits if you become incapacitated.

A winding tale of money, prison, probate and family

The story of a father and son winds though life and death, from Florida to New Hampshire, and from freedom to prison. Both the father and son lived in both states at times before the older man’s death in 2010. The 53-year-old son currently lives about 100 miles north of Brevard County in DeLeon Springs.

He might not be here much longer, however, after his convictions on five counts of stealing more than $400,000 from his late father were upheld by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. He faces a prison stay of up to 30 years for his convictions and was also ordered by a Florida probate judge to repay the estate $573,000.

Where there's a will there's a way: 7 reasons to draft a will

It's surprising how many people don't have a finalized estate plan or even a will. When these individuals pass away, their families will have a more difficult and costly time trying to put all the necessary affairs in order. Also, if these individuals become physically or mentally incapacitated, family members will struggle to determine who should be in charge of caring for the person.

Fortunately, not having a will is a problem that Florida residents can fix by visiting their local estate planning attorney.

Estate planning: It’s for everyone

Estate planning is right there among favored topics such as your child’s latest accomplishments, your new car, your first kiss, favorite movie and what you did on your summer vacation. Just kidding, of course. No one is eager to plan what will happen when you die.

But if you have children or a spouse or a house or a business, it makes sense to take a few minutes to protect those you love with well-considered estate planning.

Estate planning: too important to DIY

Many Brevard County homeowners love to do many house improvements on their own. They enjoy fixing what ails their home and sometimes adding new and attractive features as well. Not everyone enjoys home DIY projects, of course, but all homeowners realize that the more they can repair themselves, the less they will spend on plumbers, carpenters and others.

That do-it-yourself attitude makes a lot of sense around the home, but it can cause real problems in estate planning. A recent article about online estate planning services makes it clear that while these companies can be cheap, their products are littered with omissions that could be costly for loved ones.

A look at undue influence in Florida probate

The scene is all too familiar. A loved one has died, but attention from that sad event is diverted by irregularities in probate. The will is different than described or it is not as it should be.

Here in Florida, it is possible with the help of an experienced attorney to ask for a review of the will or the estate. While no one looks forward to a will contest, it is important to protect your family, rights and assets.

3 signals that you should update your estate plan

When was the last time you examined your estate plan? If the last time you looked at these documents was when your attorney drafted them, you are not alone. In fact, most people go 20 years or more between making updates to their estate plans. For example, people tend to draft a will when they first have children and then do not update it until the children become adults. However, there are other reasons why you should update your estate plan.

While you should definitely make updates when major life events occur such as divorce or retirement, there are other reasons like changes in the tax law that should trigger updates to your estate plan. The following includes some of the most common reasons why you should update these documents.

Part of Anthony Bourdain’s legacy: thoughtful estate planning

Anthony Bourdain’s untimely death shocked his fans and the world at large. The famous chef, author and travel documentarian made news again a few days ago when his will was probated.

Tabloids and gossips went into a frenzy when it was revealed that Bourdain was worth “only” $1.21 million at the time of his death. Social media was abuzz, too: the dollar amount seemed far too small for a man who had had such a big impact on American culture. Forbes took a look at Bourdain’s estate plan and understood that it made clear which two parts of his life that the late icon held most dear.

What language does a special needs trust require?

Parents of special needs children might want to consider setting up a special needs trust. Such a trust will allow parents to leave money and assets behind for the benefit of their child, without their child actually owning the assets personally. This allows the child to continue receiving vital government benefits while benefiting from a higher quality of life offered by the financial funding of the special needs trust.

Special needs trusts occupy a special status, however, and they require specific wording. Keep reading to find out what kind of legal points a special needs trust should address.

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