Retaining Domicile in Florida while living temporarily in another State

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in estate planning |


Zero state income tax and no estate tax makes Florida the ideal state to live in. No wonder the snowbirds flock to our sunshine state – just look at Florida’s Homestead Exemption.

There is a difference between “residence” and “domicile.” A person can only have one domicile, but more than one residence in different states. So what is domicile? It is defined as actual residence within a particular state with the intention of making that state one’s permanent home. Its really comes down to a factual finding of the intent of a person to make a particular state his or her domicile.

Pursuant to Florida Statute §222.17, a person can show intent to maintain a Florida residence as a permanent home by filing a sworn Declaration of Domicile with the clerk of the circuit court. Florida Statutes also provide some factors that manifest intent to retain Florida as a primary residence.

Ways to retain or establish domicile in Florida and take advantage of all its benefits is to purchase real estate in the Sunshine State. One should register to vote in Florida and vote at the next possible election. One should keep his or her Florida driver’s license and plates. Having your will/trust drafted to comply with Florida law stating your domicile in Florida also evinces intent. It’s important to spend a significantly greater portion of each year in Florida by being physically present in the state.

Finally, one should also consider establishing certain relationships with the state of Florida. Banking, religious, social, professional and medical relationships are more than a few examples. Also, keep your personal mailing address as a Florida address.

Calling Florida your “home sweet home” allows you to take advantage of the state’s asset protection laws.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?

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Maximize Financial Aid Through the Use to an Irrevocable Trust

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in estate planning, Family Law |


A strategic estate planning tool that you may want to consider is creating an irrevocable trust for child’s college fund. Funds transferred to an irrevocable trust remain subject to trust terms and conditions until the established time for distribution. A trust can protect your child’s college fund from creditor’s demands. Also, an irrevocable trust has its own tax ID number and is not considered an asset when calculating your taxes thus providing certain tax benefits. Trust property is excluded from the trustor’s gross estate for federal tax purposes.

Additionally, a trust does not go through probate. Therefore, if a child needs money for school, she can access the funds immediately in the event of your death without being subjected to a lengthy and costly court process. Furthermore, a trust can be set up with restrictions regarding how and when your money will be distributed to your child.

How your trust is drafted and reported on FAFSA dictates the eligibility of your child for need-based financial aid. A common error is reporting the full value of the trust fund when there are proportional shares of ownership in the trust. Also, a typical mistake families make is reporting trust fund amounts incorrectly when ownership of the income and principal from the trust fund are split.

You should consult with your qualified and experienced South Florida estate planning attorney to review the terms of your existing trust to advise you as to what your options are under your trust or draft one for you to meet your objectives concerning your child’s educational needs and goals.

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BB King’s Family is Singing the Blues

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Elder Law, estate planning |


The loss of blues legend BB King has many of us feeling, well, blue. Nobody could be more upset than his children who are currently embattled in a litigation with longtime manager of BB King, Laverne Toney. In fact, three of his eleven children recently went to court to combat Toney in what they allege is a case of elder abuse.

Karen Williams, Rita Washington, and Patty King say that Toney was not providing proper medical care to their father, restricted his children and friends from visiting, and that there are large amounts of money missing from King’s bank account, to the tune of one million dollars.

Sadly, this type of fight is more common than not. When emotions are high and money is involved you never know how someone will respond. That is why it is so important to dot your I’s and cross your T’s when drafting your Will and Trust.

By having a Power of Attorney, BB King avoided the need for a formal Court-ordered Guardianship when he was older and his mental health was failing. On the other hand, the risk of using a power of attorney is that those with power can sometimes abuse it. The case in point for BB King’s children.

It is critical to work with an attorney well versed in the areas of estate planning and guardianship to make the entire process less stressful. By having the right person to guide you through the process, everyone benefits in the end. The Thrill May Be Gone but the legacy can live on.

In order to make it easy for your loved ones to say goodbye, you should consult the estate planning attorneys of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. who can recognize potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

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College Bound Kids – Expect the Unexpected

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in estate planning, Family Law |


So your child has officially become an adult and ready to embark on a new journey- college! Congratulations! This is a huge milestone in your teenager’s life as well as a time of pride and concern for you as a loving parent. Your child is about to spread his or her wings leaving the family nest of security and safety.

What you need are eyes of a hawk in establishing a solid plan that will safeguard your teenager against any unexpected event that could place them in medical or financial peril.

There are legal documents that should be prepared by a professional South Florida estate planning attorney who is familiar with the goals you wish to accomplish for your family. Your legal eagle understands the importance of a healthcare surrogate, durable power of attorney, and a living will.

The designation of a health care surrogate authorizes you to get information from a hospital or a doctor about your child. You will not be able to obtain this information once your child is 18 years old unless you have a document permitting you to do so. In addition, your child may be unconscious and unable to give permission. Florida’s HIPPA laws prevent the dissemination of medical information to others unless there are written directives authorizing the permission.

A durable power of attorney is an agreement that allows you to control your child’s financial needs. It can be drafted to allow you to access your child’s bank account in case you need to pay his or her bills, restrict spending, or replenish the account.

A living will is a document that a person uses to make known her desires regarding life- sustaining treatments. Although not the most palatable of topics, it will give you peace of mind with medical decisions you may have to make for your child in the event of an untimely illness or accident.

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The Importance of Planning Early

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in About Us, asset protection, Digital Estate Planning, Elder Law, estate planning, Family Law, Probate, Trusts, Wills |


The recent derailment of an Amtrak train left at least eight casualties and many more injured.  Nobody who boarded the train that fateful day was expecting this to happen, rather they were just going about their day as they would any other.  Death is a difficult topic to approach, because nobody likes to think that someday it will happen.  It is important however, because you want to make sure that you are ready for when it happens and because, unfortunately, it can happen at any time.

Waiting too long to draft an estate plan can be troublesome as well.  When a person dies, there may be reasons to question the mental capacity of the individual at the time he or she prepared an estate plan. Undue influence or fraud from third parties, who take advantage of a close relationship with the decedent for personal gain, can be reason to challenge a legal document after death.  Another reason that can be grounds to challenge a legal document is whether it was properly executed and with all the formalities required.

Powers of attorney, for example, are powerful documents that grant another individual broad discretion over medical and financial decisions. Such an important power should involve careful planning. Standard legal forms found online, software programs with legal templates, and other self-help documents, are attractive to many individuals due to the ease of access and low cost. However, template powers of attorney are not always the equivalent of a proper Florida power of attorney drafted by a lawyer.

Many states, like Florida, have strict requirements regarding execution of valid powers of attorney or advance directives.  In order to make it easy for your loved ones to say goodbye, you should consult an estate planning attorney who can recognize potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

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