November is Nonprofit Awareness Month! 

Posted by on Nov 26, 2018 in Legal News |

Charity is one of the best ways to help others. If you’re strapped for time, you can always donate food or money to the charity of your choice. For every cause, there is a nonprofit organization out there that is willing to help. Philanthropy and charity are two of the ways that you can not only help people in need, but also their families and friends. When illness or poverty strikes one person, it’s not just that individual affected: it affects everyone who is close to them. Charity is, in a sense, a way to protect others. But how can you protect your own family in a similar way? 

Asset Protection 

You might be wondering how your own assets can tie into nonprofits. Asset protection means that you’re setting aside legal tools and documents concerning what will happen to your assets after you pass on. Perhaps there is something you want to transfer to a family member after you die. By setting up a living trust, you can make that happen. This three-party relationship allows you to hand over nominal title to a trustee until your beneficiary is able to receive your asset. A living trust is not the only way to transfer assets, but it is the best way to avoid probate. 

Healthcare Decisions

The time, expense, and mental exhaustion of caring for an end-of-life relative is very draining. Through estate planning, you can ease that process. Selecting a power of attorney and filling out a healthcare directive will allow you to set up your decisions in preparation of a time period where you’re sick or incapacitated. A power of attorney is the individual you designate to handle your financial decisions, and a healthcare directive tells doctors and hospitals your particular wishes concerning your medical care. Having a clear-cut plan of action will save your family from guessing and stress when it is time for you to start receiving intensive care. 

Avoiding Probate 

As mentioned above, tools such as a living trust help you avoid probate. Probate court is the process by which a judge (called a probate judge) divides up your assets after you die. The court isn’t just for people who die without a will. Even a last will and testament is still subject to probate court. The probate judge pays off creditors first, and then divides up the remaining assets as he or she sees fit. You want to avoid probate court because it is time consuming, expensive, and very stressful. Diligent estate planning can keep you out of probate, something for which your family will thank you.

Giving Gifts 

If there’s a charity you love, you might even want to give a gift. Estate planning can help you manage this gift-giving. The gift-giving also applies to relatives and family that you might want to help as well. There are ways around excessive taxation using gift money, and that money also allows you to help someone in need. Gift money is very charitable, and it is definitely in the spirit of Nonprofit Awareness Month. If you think you’d like to take part and give gift money as part of your estate plan, an estate planner can help you do so.

Nonprofit Awareness Month brings attention to the many awesome organizations out there that help people in distress. Celebrate this month by giving a little, whether it is extra time, food, clothes, money, or something else. However, don’t forget to also take care of your own family by preparing for what happens if you yourself are sick or injured. Estate planning offers a similar monetary protection as charity. Taking care of your own family is just another way you can celebrate the charitable spirit of November. 

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What Does Thanksgiving Mean to You? 

Posted by on Nov 20, 2018 in Legal News |

When you think of Thanksgiving, you probably think of the fun time you’ll spend with family and friends, the football games, and, of course, all the delicious food you’re going to eat. Whether you’re the one cooking or one of your family members is, Thanksgiving gives you the chance to enjoy what matters most: family, food, and togetherness. With that sense of family also comes all the obligations and responsibilities attached. Providing your family with security and safety is doable if you have an estate plan. If estate planning is relatively new to you, you can remember the major documents just by looking on your Thanksgiving table. 

The Turkey
If there’s one thing you don’t want to be, it’s the turkey on Thanksgiving. A turkey has a pretty short life thanks to this holiday, and death comes pretty unexpectedly to the unlucky bird. You can’t always be prepared for everything, and unfortunately, we humans can sometimes meet a sudden, turkey-like ending (minus the holiday dinner part). This is why putting off estate planning is never a good idea. Getting together a living trust, last will, or other documents to give instructions about your assets after you die is essential to ensuring that you’re prepared. You might think that you have time, but you never know that for sure. It’s best not to put it off. 

The Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes can seem pretty boring, but they’re one of the most important Thanksgiving side dishes. When prepared correctly, they’re pretty much essential to the meal. This is somewhat like estate planning itself. This field of law can seen boring and dull, but it actually is vitally important. The legal arena wouldn’t be the same without it. Estate planning handles all the posthumous things that would bog down the courts were they left undone. When your estate documents are correctly prepared, they become extremely important, whether they appear boring or not.

The Vegetables 

One day, most of us are also going to be vegetables. That sounds morbid, but it’s just true. There comes a time where most people enter end of life care and aren’t really with it mentally. Decision-making becomes difficult, and even communication struggles. Documents such as a power of attorney and healthcare directive can ensure that your life decisions are handled for you. A power of attorney controls your finances, and a directive tells hospitals and doctors any particulars about your medical care. While it’s no fun to think about and compose—instructions about your own dying are not exactly a thrill a minute—they are important to the process of a smooth transition for your family. 

The Pumpkin Pie
Last but not least, there is the pumpkin pie (or any type of dessert, really). This is the extra on top of the meal. There are a lot of documents in estate planning like this. They don’t necessarily make up the meat and potatoes of the meal, but they’re an important addendum. Documents pertaining to niche assets like Bitcoin, antiques, collector’s items, and more are examples of these “extras.” You want to get the big stuff into the estate plan, of course. But, you also don’t want to ignore the smaller, more unique things that are still of great value to you and your family. 

As you can see, the Thanksgiving table gives you a way that you can remember the major documents in an estate plan. These aren’t all the documents that you’ll need, of course, but they are the main ones, and they give you a sense of what estate planning is all about. Your family deserves a sense of security, and proper planning will provide that. When you’re spending time with them, think about ways you can improve or update plans you have in place already. Have a happy Thanksgiving! 

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The Sixth Annual Miss Arc Broward Pageant is Here! 

Posted by on Nov 10, 2018 in Legal News |

If you live in Florida, particularly in Broward County, you’ve probably heard of an awesome event called the Sixth Annual Miss Arc Broward Pageant. This pageant, presented by the law firm Holland & Knight, empowers girls and women between the ages of six and seventeen who have disabilities. Held at the Parker Playhouse, it gives these young ladies a chance to shine. Excitingly, Michael Wild is sponsoring one of the candidates! Not only should you look into attending the pageant so that you can sit in the audience and cheer on the girls, you can also take this opportunity to think more about your own family. There are different ways that you can support family members and friends who may have disabilities through inclusive, diverse estate planning. 

But First, More About the Pageant

Such a cool event needs more than just one little paragraph. The Miss Arc Broward Pageant is an event from Arc Broward. Arc Broward is an organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities. This nonprofit organization has been around since 1956, and the pageant is a relatively recent idea. Arc Broward has ten different locations and provides Broward County with twenty-one programs to help disabled citizens learn life skills. These programs aren’t just great for the more vulnerable parts of the population; they’re great for the community at large. The pageant itself celebrates the young women who take part in Arc Broward’s programs, because women’s empowerment is for everyone, disabled or not.  

Helping Disabled Family Members 

Disabilities are common throughout the world. Everyone is differently-abled in some way or another. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in five Americans has a disability, whether physical or psychological. Disabled people have an income that is almost half of what a non-disabled person has. Clearly, disabled people need our help, both as a society and, on a smaller scale, as a family. If you have disabled family members, consider ways to work them into your estate plan and provide at least some security for their needs, whether through asset transferring, gifts, setting aside a fund, or something else. There are many, many different ways besides just those to make your estate plan inclusive towards your disabled loved ones.

Consider the Future

Perhaps the disabled individual is someone in your actual nuclear family. You want to make sure that you consider all the facets of their care. This includes finding them a power of attorney for their finances and medical decisions. If something were to happen that would incapacitate them, having a power of attorney means that the financial and medical decisions would be taken care of by someone they trust. A power of attorney takes important decision-making power and places it into the hands of a trustworthy individual with which the person is comfortable.


If the disabled members of your family are your children, guardianship takes on an even more enhanced role. In the event that something happens to you, selecting a guardian has a special importance. Choose someone who has experience working with the particular disability that your child has. The guardian should agree to the guardianship, as that is a big responsibility and you want to make sure they are on board. Don’t forget to make sure that your child is okay with the person and likes them, also.

As you can see, the upcoming Miss Arc Broward Pageant is going to be a lot of fun! We’re excited to sponsor one of the contestants. On a less public forum, feel free to schedule an estate planning appointment to talk about how you can take care of family or friends you may have who have disabilities. Estate planning is great at providing a unique type of future security for those close to you.

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