No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in estate planning, Probate, Real Estate, Trusts, Wills |

What’s that you say?  You want to leave your home to a loved one?  Great!  That’s a wonderful way to leave a legacy.  Just be careful how you leave this property to your loved one.  Simply retitling the property could have harsh consequences, such as:

Gift Tax and Capital Gains:  We all know your intentions are good.  Unfortunately, the law doesn’t consider your intent when transferring property to another (i.e. retitling as joint tenants with right of survivorship).  Whether or not you intended this transfer to be a gift is irrelevant; if you did not expect anything in return of equal value the IRS will consider this transfer to be a gift and gift taxes will apply.  Additionally, when you pass away the individual will be subject to paying capital gains if they choose to sell the property.  Capital gains are profits made from the sale of property where the sale price exceeds the purchase price and can be very high.

Creditors: Like most responsible individuals you have paid your bills on time, have good credit and aren’t worried about the possibility of creditor claims.  Yet, are you aware that once you add another individual to the title of your property that the property is now subject to that individual’s creditors too?  This means that no matter how diligent you are with paying your debts, the property will never be totally secure since it remains open to the other individual’s possible creditors.

Control:  Adding someone to title means you now share rights of ownership to the property.  This means you can’t continue to treat the property as your own.  If you wish to sell it, for instance, you must have their full consent to do so.  By adding this additional name to title you have given up control as the sole owner of that property.  While you may be ok with this decision today, can you guarantee that you will be on board with this decision in five or ten years?  I sure hope you can guarantee it since you will not be able to change your mind and remove them from title without their consent.  What’s done is done.

There is another way to accomplish your goals and avoid these harsh consequences; a Revocable Living Trust.  The trust will allow you to remain in complete control of the property while you are alive, prevent possible gift taxes and capital gains.  Upon your death, the property will then be transferred to named beneficiary, therefore accomplishing your primary goal!  Call (954) 94-2855 for your free consultation and our attorneys will explain in greater detail the benefits of creating a Living Revocable Trust.

For more information on Estate Planning visit our website at

It’s A Wild World.  Are You Protected?  SM

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2016 in asset protection, estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

Cupid shot you with the arrow that initiated the beginning of what could only result in blissful South Florida marriage. You then execute a Will and Trust to ensure that your loving spouse will receive ALL of your assets upon your death. Then, many Valentine’s Days later he flowers die, the chocolate melts in the Florida heat, and pretty soon you’re getting a divorce. What now? Pull the arrow out of your chest and revise your estate plan with a South Florida attorney!
There are a variety of life events that can render your estate planning strategies  ineffective, and divorce is one of them. This is why it is incredibly important to have your estate plan reviewed to ensure that it is still effective and true to your goals. In fact, if you experience any life event that affects your relationships or distributions, you will want to have your plan reviewed for alterations.
Consider the following:
  • Trust – Does your trust document make a distribution to your ex-spouse? Is your ex-spouse the trustee over your assets? Do you want to put your  home in a trust to avoid homestead, ensuring your ex-spouse does not have control over it in the event that it is passed to minor children?
  •  Last Will & Testament – are your children’s distributions going to made out right? Are they minors? If so, your ex spouse will likely be named guardian over the assets to which he / she will effectively have control.
  • Durable Power of Attorney – is your ex-spouse designated to legally act on your behalf? Some power of attorney documents do not address whether the power terminates upon divorce.
  • Combination Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate – Do you want your ex-spouse making healthcare decision for you?
Your ex-spouse took half of your assets in the divorce settlement, and you thought that was bad! Don’t let cupid make you stupid –
make sure you revise, revise, revise – protecting what is yours from what is no longer.
It’s a Wild World. Are you protected?
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My Heart Beats for You, Until It Doesn’t…

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in About Us, asset protection, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate |

In Florida and all over the world, February is the month of heart shaped chocolates and cards that express how your heart belongs/beats/flutters/etc. for your Valentine. Thus, it’s not necessarily an ideal time to be confronted with the grave reminder of how fleeting life can be, and the importance of planning for the unknown. However, for many in South Florida and beyond, such planning is for the benefit of family and loved ones. Although we have little control over our fate, you can ensure that your loved ones are protected in the event of your own sickness or death here in  Florida. The following estate planning documents can be customized to ensure that your loved one’s are protected, not only in health,but also in sickness and death.
 – Last Will & Testament – used to distribute property to beneficiaries (or a trust), specify last wishes, and
name guardians for minor children. You can use a pour over will that funnels all of your property into the trust, to ensure greater asset protection for your loved ones. Read more here:
 – Living Trust gain control, asset protection, & preclusion of unnecessary taxes; designate a trustworthy (no pun) Trustee. You can further provide that your assets continue in trust for the benefit of your loved ones, providing them greater protection from the claims of others. Here is more information in terms of Florida estate planning:
 – Durable Power of Attorney gain control by designating someone to legally act on your behalf. There are many types of POA’s (“power of attorney”), but a “Durable” power of attorney means the power will be in effect even when you become incapacitated. Therefore, ensuring that any important business related decisions can be made in the event that you cannot make them yourself. The elderly can learn more about Power of Attorney here:
 – Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate make important healthcare decisions for yourself
in advance. Determine who can access your health records and make medical decisions on your behalf here:
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To Fund, Or Not To Fund, It Should Not Even Be A Question!

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in estate planning, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

Living in Florida sure does have its perks! You’re never too far from a gorgeous beach, you’re greeted with warm weather and blue skies almost daily and you can make weekly trips to Disney (if you really wanted to).  Unfortunately, being a resident of Florida also means you or your loved ones could be subjected to the state’s probate process.  When compared to other states in our country, Florida’s probate process is known to be both higher in costs and last a great deal longer.  With proper planning and funding, you can ensure your loved ones avoid this tedious and emotional process.

There are two ways in which property can pass at death: through a Will or a Will substitute. The goal for every individual should be to have their assets controlled by a Will substitute.  Some examples of Will substitutes include joint ownership of accounts, beneficiary designation, pay on death or transfer on death designations and life insurance.  These Will substitutes allow for assets to pass by operation of law to the named beneficiary, therefore avoiding probate.  A Living Trust is another Will substitute which allows your assets to pass outside of Probate.  Think of the trust as a durable safe that has been built to hold your all of your assets.  Once your attorney has built your “safe” you take it home and put it away because now you’re done, right? Wrong!  If you fail to put anything into this“safe” then nothing has been accomplished.  You must fund your trust.

Funding may seem like a scary concept since you are titling assets in the name of the trust or listing the trust as beneficiary. Have no fear! You, as grantor and trustee of your Living Trust, remain in complete control of these assets until your death.  Therefore, you can carry on as usual and continue to control your assets in the same manner.  As part of your trust based plan, you will receive an Assignment of Property, a document that will ensure that all of your personal property makes its way into your trust.  In addition to the Assignment of Property, you will also receive a Pour Over Will.  This Will will act as a safety net for any accounts you may have forgotten to add to your trust.  Beware, however, that these accounts will have to go through the Probate process before the trust will control the manner in which they are distributed.  This further illustrates the importance of properly designating your accounts and funding your trust ahead of time to avoid Probate altogether.  It should be clear at this point that funding is the final and perhaps most crucial part of the estate planning process.  Fund your trust with the assets you wish to protect and those assets will avoid probate.

If you have a trust or are considering creating a trust then know the attorneys at Wild, Felice& Partners are proud of you but don’t stop there. Take that final step and ensure your trust is properly funded so those assets remain safe and avoid Probate.  Protect yourself and your family.  Call us today for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855.

For more information on Probate and Estate Planning, visit our website at

It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected? SM




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Be like Peyton Manning. Leave A Legacy.

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

Peyton Manning is a name almost every American is familiar with, even if you’re not a football fan.  This is likely because he is labeled one of the NFL’s most iconic figures.  His list of successes is quite long and includes being a five-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and two-time Super Bowl winner.  It’s estimated Manning has raked in around $247 million in earnings during his career. Now pushing 40 years of age, Manning is considering retiring from the game for good.  Rest assured if he does, he will leave quite the legacy behind for both his fans and family; one that cannot be changed or altered in anyway.  Just like Manning, you too should ensure your legacy is set in stone and protected for your family and future generations.  Ok, the legacy you leave behind may not look quite like Manning’s (as I’m sure none of ours will) but that doesn’t make protecting it any less important.

No matter if you own a large estate, moderate estate or even a smaller one – protecting what you’ve worked hard for should be a priority.  Estate Planning is the process of making arrangements during your life for the disposal of your property after you pass away and preparing for life’s unforeseen events that may leave you incapacitated.  This may be accomplished in a number of ways but the most popular is by creating a Revocable Living Trust.  A Revocable Living Trust will allow you remain in control even after you’re gone by allowing you to set restrictions on when your beneficiaries receive their share.  You can choose the age they must attain to receive their share, ensure they graduate college, or set any other type of restriction you wish.  The Revocable Living Trust can also protect the beneficiaries share against any unsecured creditors such as divorce, bankruptcy or litigation.  Without a plan in place, your assets will not only be open to the possibility of unsecured creditors but you also risk your assets ending up in the hands of individuals you may not even like since they will be distributed according to Florida Law.  With the Trust based plan, you can rest assured that everything will be distributed the way you choose and in the manner you deem fit.  Along with your Trust based plan, you will receive other important documents such as:

Last Will and Testament: Nominate your Personal Representative, choose a Guardian for any minor child, and add any burial or cremation requests.

Living Will:  Advanced directive or “pull the plug” document.  Allows your healthcare surrogate to give the doctor the “ok” to pull the plug if you are being kept alive by artificial means.

Durable Power of Attorney:  Nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf or qualify you for public benefits, should you not be in a position to do so yourself.

Healthcare Surrogate & HIPAA Release:  Nominate an individual to access your medical records and make informed decisions on your behalf, should you not be in a position to do so yourself.

You may not be considered a MVP in the NFL like Manning, but you can ensure you leave a legacy behind just as he has.  Call the South Florida Law Firm of Wild, Felice & Partners today for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855.  For more information on Estate Planning or Revocable Living Trusts, visit our website at

It’s A Wild World.  Are You Protected?  SM

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