What’s Going On With FTX?

Posted by on Jan 26, 2023 in Legal News |

What’s Going On With FTX?

If you’ve been following the financial headlines, you have likely seen news stories about the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. This was a major event in the world of crypto, and it bears discussion on our platform, as digital currencies are becoming an increasingly-popular asset in estate plans. In this article, we will talk about what happened with FTX (including the latest news and updates), as well as how you can protect your cryptocurrency in the future.

Who Was FTX And What Happened?

We are using the past-tense because FTX, as of January of 2023, has folded. FTX was a giant cryptocurrency exchange that filed for bankruptcy in November of 2022. Its CEO, Sam Bankman Fried, admitted that the company did not have the capital to meet customers’ demand for withdrawals.

Not only did FTX crash due to not enough liquidity, it also went under because its funds were mismanaged. Investigations by the SEC revealed that FTX had diverted assets that customers had designated for certain coins (Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc.) and taken those assets, without permission, to fund Alameda Research, a venture capital firm. Alameda then took those misappropriated funds and used them to make large political donations and lavish real estate purchases. So, when customers came to withdraw money, FTX did not have that capital on-hand because it had blown it all, spending it clients’ money on assets said clients didn’t know about.

Bankman-Fried was charged with criminal counts in a court in New York City, and he, along with others from the organization-turned-criminal-enterprise, are facing lawsuits by the federal government for wire fraud and conspiracy. In total, more than $8 billion went missing due to FTX’s fraud. In December of 2022, FTX announced that it had recovered $1 billion of assets, but it still owes billions more to its creditors and very unhappy clients.

Ramifications On The Cryptocurrency World

According to Coin Telegraph, the impact of the FTX collapse has been “devastating” for consumers. It sent lawmakers and pundits into a tizzy, as they quickly latched onto FTX’s disintegration to call for more regulation within the crypto industry. Another domino effect had to do with investor confidence.

Shaken by the events and not wanting to potentially fall victim to such a scam, Legal 500 reported that investors fled from crypto, causing Bitcoin’s price to drop 25%. Social media and public opinion largely turned against cryptocurrencies, and the market has attracted attention, mostly negative, even from people who had no interest in it before.

Tips To Protect Your Crypto

We’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want to do with your cryptocurrency. Should you want to continue in the market, here are some tips to protecting your digital currencies:

· If you own crypto, put these assets into an estate plan, so that someone can inherit them if something happens to you. Make sure you include all pertinent information on how to access the currencies (keys, passwords, etc.) within the estate plan. An estate planning attorney will be able to help you with this process.

· Use 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) for your crypto exchange.

· Use an authenticator app to ward against hacks.

· Back up your seed words (master key) thoroughly.

· Always use a strong password.

· If possible, use a hardware wallet.

When it comes to choosing a cryptocurrency exchange, here are some tips on what to look for:

· Look up the company’s tax reports and any information on its liquidity.

· Compare fees between platforms.

· Ensure there is a wide variety of coins with which to trade.

· Check out the platform’s insurance policy, if applicable.

· Make sure the platform has security protocols in place.

This fintech scandal, perhaps one of the biggest, monetarily, in history, is still developing. Its impact on the crypto world can’t be understated, and it is important to protect your digital currencies now. Learn more about cryptocurrency by visiting our website

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The Importance Of An Estate Plan.

Posted by on Jan 24, 2023 in Legal News |

How To Start 2023 Off The Right Way: The Importance Of An Estate Plan.

It’s amazing to think that we’ve made it through another year. We’re already a few weeks into 2023, and it’s time to start thinking about ways we can secure our financial situation—and our financial future. When it comes to your financial future, an estate plan is the way to ensure that your assets are protected, even after death. In this article, we will discuss the importance of an estate plan, including its benefits, popular documents, and other information to know.

What Is An Estate Plan?

It’s best to think of estate planning as a process, rather than as a specific document. When you have an estate plan, you anticipate and arrange for the management and disposal of your estate if you are incapacitated or dead. In layman’s terms, in an estate plan, you set up a series of documents that will guard your assets (home, bank accounts, personal items, and more) if you become sick or injured and/or after you die.

The process involves seeking the counsel of lawyers and professional advisors who are familiar with you, your family, and your concerns and goals. It is never wise to “DIY” an estate plan, as the laws, especially in Florida, are intricate and can be complicated for non-lawyers.

Who Should Have An Estate Plan?

When people think of an estate plan, they likely think of a last will and testament, which, in turn, brings to mind the elderly or super-wealthy. That’s a common misconception, as estate planning is for everyone. If you have assets and a family, you should execute an estate plan, no matter your age, wealth, or the state in which you live. While some factors, such as the size of your estate, do matter with regards to the planning process, most people should have an estate plan.

The Benefits Of An Estate Plan

Now that we’ve covered what an estate plan is and who should have one, we can move on to the benefits that an estate plan brings. The main purpose of estate planning is to secure and plan for the disposal of your assets when the time is right.

Other benefits and functions of estate planning include:

· Your assets will go to the right people (also known as your beneficiaries).

· You can plan for your financial investments.

· You can plan for your healthcare arrangements when you are at the end of your life.

· Guardianship for minors can be arranged.

· You can set up trusts.

· You can minimize the probate process, thus lessening its expenses, loss of privacy, and delays.

· Estate planning protects assets, and it can also protect the future of your business, if you own one.

This comprehensive list underscores the main reasons why you should have an estate plan. But, what if you’re still not sold? What can happen if you don’t have an estate plan? As it turns out, things can get disastrous.

What Happens If You Don’t Have An Estate Plan?

If you die without an estate plan in place, a court will deem to you to be “intestate,” and, therefore, subject to the rules of intestate succession. Your family and estate will go through probate court, an expensive, lengthy, and privacy-invading process. The probate court will distribute your assets as it sees fit, giving them to creditors and people who you might not have wanted to receive such property.

Common Estate Plan Documents

When setting up your estate plan, chances are that you’ll have one or more of these common documents in it:

· Living Trust. This three-party relationship involves you, the grantor, assigning tittle over an asset or assets to a third party, a trustee. That trustee then holds title to the assets until a pre-designated time, at which they will transfer title to your beneficiary.

· Power of Attorney. This arrangement can come in various forms, including a Durable and Healthcare P.O.A. Your Power of Attorney is a trusted individual that you appoint to manage your financial and/or healthcare affairs in the event you become incapacitated and unable to manage them yourself.

· Last Will & Testament. The most common document people think about when they hear “estate plan,” the last will and testament is a final expression of your will as to where you want your assets to go after you die.

Hopefully, this article has gotten you thinking about contacting an estate planning attorney. Our WFP lawyers will help you put together comprehensive plans that include all of the documents pertinent and important to you, your life, and your family. 

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Is Estate Planning One Of Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Posted by on Jan 19, 2023 in asset protection, Digital Estate Planning, Legal News, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

New Year’s Resolutions: Make Estate Planning One Of Them

The New Year’s holiday has passed us by, and now, we are in a bit of a holding pattern until spring. According to Forbes, around 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, and most involve improving mental health, being more active, losing weight, and eating healthier. Might we add another New Year’s resolution to the group, one that you might not have thought of?

Make estate planning one of your New Year’s resolutions. There are plenty of benefits to estate planning, including the ability to control where your assets go after you die. You also will avoid probate court, and you’ll have the ability to arrange guardianship for kids, end-of-life healthcare, and more.

If you’ve already written, “Make an estate plan” in your list of New Year’s resolutions, good for you! In this article, we’ll talk about common pitfalls to avoid when fulfilling this resolution. Many of these pitfalls, happily, can be circumvented by taking advantage of the counsel of a licensed legal professional.

Pitfall 1: Outdated Documents

If you already have an estate plan, you should know that the rule of thumb is to check it every three to five years or if you experience a major life change (divorce, death, marriage, new births, etc.). Outdated documents are a huge pitfall for people who have an estate plan, as not changing your plan with the times means that you’ll forget about new heirs or, conversely, include people in the plan who are no longer in your life.

Pitfall 2: Procrastinating

Of course, a document can only be outdated if it’s there in the first place. A major pitfall in estate planning is the failure to start. Not to sound gloomy, but anything can happen. Life is fragile, and sickness, injury, and death aren’t exactly unheard-of phenomena (we’d be out of a job if they were).

Don’t wait until something bad has happened to make an estate plan or encourage a loved one to do so. The main hook of estate planning is that it is preventative and protective. Contact an attorney today, while you still have your health, to create this plan for the future.

Pitfall 3: Naming Only One Beneficiary

This one is quite common, as naming just one beneficiary is usually more likely to occur to people than having a backup plan. You should always list more than one beneficiary for your assets, a fact that your lawyer will likely reiterate to you. If the beneficiary dies before you do or is out of your life for another reason, you will need to have a contingent beneficiary who is next in line to receive that asset. This is an easy enough pitfall to avoid—you just have to have a backup plan.

Pitfall 4: Not Talking To Your Family First

Estate planning can sometimes be the cause of difficult conversations among family members. Make sure you talk to your family and keep them in the loop when estate planning. Let them know who the beneficiaries and appointed individuals are (and, if need be, why you made those decisions). That way, there are no surprises, and this disclosure can make it less likely that a will challenge will come about.

Pitfall 5: Lack Of Full Disclosure

Attorneys are here to help you, and you need to exercise full disclosure when you’re speaking to one. Tell them your concerns, goals, and financial situation, and the attorney will be able to craft the best estate plan for you. Holding back will only lead to missed documents, incomplete information, and other similar, equally-problematic events.

Though these pitfalls might seem intimidating, they can often be avoided through honest communication with your lawyer. Estate planning can help you secure your financial future, as well as the futures of your beneficiaries and heirs. Talk to an WFP estate planning attorney today to learn more about this important process.

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