Planning For Everyone In Your Life—Even Your Pet

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in estate planning, Trusts | 0 comments

Everyone loves their pets. In 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that a little more than 70 percent of Americans have a pet. Even though most pet owners would like to believe they will always be around to take care of their pets, often this is not the case because of death or incapacity. Therefore, many people may want to leave something behind to ensure that their pet is taken care of in the event something happens.

Usually, an animal cannot inherit money, property, or an estate. Therefore, a pet could not be the beneficiary of a trust. Thus, even when someone would try and leave something behind for their pet, the Florida probate courts were unable to enforce the provisions.

However, in 1990, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws changed the Uniform Probate Code (UPC) to allow for the creation of pet trusts. Florida has since then adopted the UPC and has made pet trusts valid for the lifetime of the pet.

These pet statutes provide ways for the courts to distinguish the pets, uphold the trust, and decide the sensibility of assets. If the trust has been established to care for more than one animal, the trust will remain in effect until the death of the last animal. However, when creating a pet trust, testators should consider other factors, like arrangements for alternate caregivers, the day-to-day care requirements for the animal, including emergency care and the final disposition of the pet.

There are also other important considerations when establishing a pet trust, like determining whom the pet caregiver will be. The pet caregiver should be a person or organization that is actually willing to provide for the animal once you are gone. Therefore, it is best for a testator to speak to the potential caregiver before nominating them to ensure that they are willing to accept this responsibility. The pet owner should also consider whether the potential caregiver has the physical accommodations to provide for the pet. For example, if the pet owner has a dog or cat, the pet owner should consider whether the potential caregiver lives in a building that permits animals. Even though everyone would like to take care of their pets after they are no longer able to, it is best to consult with an estate planning attorney because drafting the proper document can be complex.

Whether your priority is your children, your pet, or just preserving your legacy, estate planning is important for everyone.  Don’t delay call today for your free consultation.

For more information on Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Probate administration visit our website at www.wfplaw.com

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Respect Your Elders, Help Them Set Up an Estate Plan

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Elder Law, estate planning |

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Respect your elders.” This is a phrase we’ve all heard a million times, and for good reason. However, respecting your elders doesn’t just include thanking your grandma for the extra $20 she slips you when you visit her. You can truly help the elderly by assisting them in setting up an estate plan. Senior Citizens’ Day is coming up on the 21st, and there is no better gift than the peace of mind an estate plan brings.

Senior Citizens’ Day was first scheduled on August 14th, which is the date FDR passed the Social Security Act. In 1988, Ronald Reagan, officially moved the observance to the 21st, and it remains in place to raise awareness for issues affecting senior citizens. One such issue is seniors’ need for an estate plan, if they do not have one already.

Important Things to know About an Estate Plan

Elderly people should set up an estate plan containing three key documents: a health care surrogate, living will and testament, and durable power of attorney. These documents, among other elements of the estate plan, have many benefits, one of which is that they allow you to designate who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf.

Here is a quick overview of the three:

  1. Health Care Surrogate. If you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself due to illness or injury, this person will make them on your behalf.
  2. Living Will and Testament: This written statement is a healthcare directive that allows you to manage your healthcare, even if you become incapacitated.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney: This document gives someone authorization to act on your behalf legally, with whatever range of control you, the principal (donor), give them.

While there are many more facets of an estate plan, these three are the big ones to know.

How Estate Plans Help Our Seniors

Concrete plans for the future. When you think of the future, you might feel a sense of nervousness. No one wants to leave their loved ones behind to face a legal mess in probate court. Through estate planning, your affairs are well-organized and your legacy kept intact, just the way you want it to be.

Tax advantages. As the old saying goes, two things are unavoidable: death and taxes. Luckily, estate planning concerns both, and taking advantage of US tax laws by giving gifts is a way to lessen the size of your estate and reduce your estate tax.

Funeral arrangements. Although it may be morbid to think about, preplanning your funeral will give your family peace of mind. They will be grieving, and it is burdensome to plan a funeral while you’re in mourning. Making funeral arrangements beforehand allows you to have the funeral service you want, while also taking the weight off your family’s shoulders.

Knowing you’ll be in good hands. When deciding your healthcare surrogate and POA, you will want to pick the most responsible people in your family and discuss it with them to make sure they are up to the task. We all have “that” cousin or sibling we wouldn’t want handling anything even remotely important— it is a relief to know that you are in the hands of the competent people you’ve chosen.

Estate planning is so vital to maintaining an organized future. Help a senior citizen today by encouraging them to set up an estate plan.

If you would like more information on how Wild, Felice and Partners, P.A can help with protecting your asset, providing plan for your family and building your estate plan,  please call 954-944-2855 or visit us today at www.WFPLaw.com.

 

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Plan For A Bright Future

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

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It’ll be time to go back to school soon, and, while you’re buying pencils, notepads, and books, you should also consider giving your children something more long-lasting than a shopping cart full of school supplies: a trust fund.

What is a Trust Fund?

A trust fund is a legal construct that holds property (money, land, possessions, etc.) for another person. The state legislature controls the trust, and some states allow for perpetual trusts, which last forever. There is often a “spendthrift” clause in the trust that prevents the grantor from using the fund’s money for their own gain.

There are three main parties to know when it comes to trust funds: the grantor, grantee, and trustee. The grantor establishes and donates the property to the fund. The grantee is the beneficiary of the fund, and the trustee is in charge of managing it.

Aren’t They Just for Rich People?

Trust funds have been mischaracterized. People think of the “trust fund babies” from movies: the blond, rich kids who always end up being the villain. However, kids who receive trust funds do not often fit this stereotype, and the benefits of trust funds don’t include being able to stick it to the other kids at a summer camp in an ‘80s movie. There are a lot of important advantages to trust funds that help kids have a bright future.

The Benefits of Trust Funds

Trust funds hold property until you feel that your child is ready to handle the responsibility. As you can imagine, teenagers and college kids aren’t exactly paragons of financial stability. By putting money away in a trust fund, parents know that their kids won’t end up in dire straits if worst comes to worst.

Trust funds have tax benefits as well, particularly when it comes to estate tax savings. They also protect assets from the beneficiaries themselves, if you don’t feel that they are responsible. For example, you can leave the profits of your business to your children, without the children being able to control the business. Trust funds are also great options for grandparents seeking to help their grandchildren pay for their education or other expenses, long after the grandparents are gone.

There are many different types of trusts, all of which have different specifications, but, as you can see, the phrase “trust fund baby” is misleading. They’re not just for rich people. They’re for anybody who wants to plan for a bright future for their children or grandchildren.

If you would like more information on how Wild, Felice and Partners, P.A can help with protecting your asset, providing plan for your family and building your estate plan,  please call 954-944-2855 or visit us today at www.WFPLaw.com.

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“The Tooth Fairy Is Real”; “My Kids Won’t Fight When I Die” and Other Lies You Tell Your Family

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

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Remember when you were young and believed in the tooth fairy? You’d put your newly-lost tooth under your pillow and, when you woke up, there was a little bit of money in its place. National Tooth Fairy Day is coming up on August 22nd, and trust us when we say that giving a mythical creature part of your body for unknown reasons in exchange for a small amount of money is preferable to probate court. Probate court takes way more than the tooth fairy, and its process is far more complex than switching out a tooth for some cash.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process in which someone’s assets and debts are disbursed after his or her death. Probate court supervises this procedure. If you die intestate (without an estate plan), your state’s law takes over and governs what happens with your assets.

Why You Need an Estate Plan

Contrary to popular belief, the state doesn’t get everything you own if you die intestate. This only happens when someone has no relatives. If the person in charge of managing your estate digs up some long-lost relative you didn’t know you had, then the state won’t get your money. However, you don’t want to leave the state with the ability to pawn off your possessions onto whomever. This is where an estate plan comes in.

Probate can also take time. The state mandates a period for creditors to file claims. Usually, the process is wrapped up within a year. But, sometimes, the process can drag on for much longer if there are family fights or disputes over property. If your family is like every other family in the world, then you know that there are always relatives who will make things way more difficult than they need to be. Dying intestate opens the floor to lengthy, drawn-out disputes, causing probate to drag on and on.

What All This Costs

Probate is also costly. When you die with no estate plan, the probate court itself oversees the process and appoints an attorney to handle your affairs. The fees for this take money away from your estate, and the administrator isn’t always someone you would have picked had you made a will.

If you have no estate plan, navigating the probate process is exhausting and annoying. Creating an estate plan and keeping it current will help your loved ones have peace of mind and wrap up your estate quickly and efficiently after you die.

If you would like more information on how Wild, Felice and Partners, P.A can help with protecting your asset, providing plan for your family and building your estate plan,  please call 954-944-2855 or visit us today at www.WFPLaw.com.

 

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After You Tie The Knot, Tie Your Beloved Into Your Estate Plan

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in estate planning |

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Wedding season is upon us, and once you’ve planned the big day, gotten all dressed up, cut the cake, and gone on the honeymoon, it’s time to talk about something far less exciting: death.

While not exactly the most romantic way to spend time with your spouse, it’s necessary to update or create a new estate plan after you marry him or her. Estate planning isn’t too difficult, and, if you and your spouse can get through planning an entire wedding successfully, you can get this done easily. While discussing your death isn’t as much fun as trying out different wedding cakes, you’ll be grateful you did.

Why Involve Your Spouse in Your Estate Plan?

Marriage is a huge life change, and people may assume that, if they die, their stuff will automatically go to their spouse. Sometimes that’s true, but, often, it is not. It’s best to write a will that will expressly lay out where you want your assets to go after death. Pets, children, possessions, land: all of this needs to be sorted.

Marital v. Separate Property

There are two types of property to consider when planning your estate, as well as three documents. Separate and marital property differ based on ownership. Separate property is property acquired prior to marriage. Your spouse has no ownership rights to it. This category also includes property that you two agreed was separate in a prenuptial agreement, as well as gifts given specifically to you.

Marital property, by contrast, is jointly owned. Property that was purchased using the income of either spouse, property given to both people, income or assets earned, and other similar entities are considered “marital property.”

What’s in an Estate Plan?

When you know the different types of property, you can better formulate and structure your estate plans. An estate plan should include a last will and testament, health care surrogate, and durable power of attorney. For more information on these categories, see here.

In addition to the day-to-day decisions you and your spouse will make together, you also need to focus on the big ones, particularly when estate planning. Decisions include who will be the guardian of your children, who will take care of your pets, which gifts you want to bequeath, whether you want to make property jointly-owned, and more.

While you will still probably make individual estate plans, you should also incorporate one another into your own plan. You’ve walked down the aisle with each other, now it’s time to walk into an attorney’s office and plan your estate.

If you would like more information on how Wild, Felice and Partners, P.A can help with protecting your asset, providing plan for your family and building your estate plan,  please call 954-944-2855 or visit us today at www.WFPLaw.com.

 

 

 

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