Respect Your Elders, Help Them Set Up an Estate Plan

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

couple, elderly, man

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


Read More

Probate…What’s That?

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in asset protection, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate, tax, Trusts, Wills |

With all the media buzz over the recent passing of musical genius Prince you’re likely hearing a lot about Probate and may be wondering what the heck it is and why you should care.  Florida has one of the worst Probate systems in our country which is why it is so important to take the time to understand the process and plan accordingly.

What is it and why should I care?

If you pass away with assets left by Will then your assets must go through the Probate process.  Probate is the legal process of proving a Will in court.  The size of your estate will determine which type of probate administration will be necessary.  A smaller estate (one where the assets are valued at less than $75,000) will require a Summary administration.  Summary administration is less costly but may still last as long as a year, which means your beneficiaries will have to wait quite some time before receiving whatever is you left them (no matter how much they may need the assistance).  If your estate is worth more than $75,000, then your estate will require a full administration which is very costly and can take years before it is finished.  At a time when everyone should be focused on grieving and healing, they will instead be forced to deal with the judicial system and related stress that accompanies it.

Probate is time consuming, costly and offers no real benefit to the family members left behind which is why you should really consider avoiding it all together.

How can I avoid Probate?

Probate avoidance can be accomplished in a number of ways but the most favorable tends to be through a Revocable Living Trust.  By creating a Revocable Living Trust you not only ensure Probate avoidance but you remain in control of how your assets will be distributed.  If you die without an estate plan in place, you die intestate – which means that Florida intestate succession laws will decide who gets your assets.  By being proactive you remain in control of your assets, may be able to reduce estate taxes, can name guardians on behalf of your minor children and, of course, avoid probate.

For more information on Probate, Estate Planning, and Asset Protection, visit our website at or call (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation.

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

Read More

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:
Read More

December Is Hot! Failing to Plan is Not.

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in asset protection, Business Plan, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate, Trusts, Wills |

Let’s face it – we all had high hopes for a cooler winter. Yet, any hope we had has definitely been blown away but what feels like a summertime breeze. This December has produced record breaking temperatures. Throughout the month, temperatures have remained above average across much of the United States. Luckily December is early in the winter season which means some of us still have hope for cool weather but for now, it’s hot. While December is most definitely hot, not having a plan for your future is not. We have been taught from earlier years that planning is important. In high school we bought a day planner for class and likely way too many highlighters. In college, we had to map out our schedules and finances, and probably still bought way too many highlights. As an adult we are tasked with so many responsibilities, which is why it is essential to plan for the unforeseen. No matter what stage of life you are in, our attorneys can help you:

BUSINESS: Are you a business owner? Maybe you are the sole proprietor of a brand new Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) or perhaps just joined a multi-member LLC. If so, then you need to consult a qualified attorney regarding either an Operating Agreement or Partnership Agreement. These documents will include provisions relating to business and equity structure, management and what is perhaps most important in terms of estate planning; the right to transfer membership interest and restrictions on such transfers. These documents are “living” documents, meaning that they should be amended accordingly as the needs of the business change.

FAMILY: Whether you are single or married; if you have young children you really need to consider an estate plan. The most favorable plan is the trust based plan. By creating a Living Trust, you are able to control where your assets go, who gets them, and even when they get them. You can set limitations on the disbursement of assets to ensure your children first go to college or reach a mature age, in the event you are not here. The assets remain protected against unsecured creditors too, so you can rest assured that your assets stay in the family. Along with your Living Trust, you will also receive a Last Will and Testament, Living Will, Assignment of Property, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate and HIPAA Release.

ELDERLY: The needs of the elderly differ greatly which is why it is crucial to have an elder law attorney assist in their planning. Whether it’s planning for long term care, Medicaid or Medicare planning, or creating the necessary documents to avoid a court appointed guardian, our attorneys can help.

CHANGES: As life changes your plan will need to change with it. If you are recently married, divorced, remarried, have had additional children or experienced any other major life changing events, contact the law office of Wild, Felice & Partners and allow our attorneys to update your estate plan to ensure your needs are met and your goals are achieved.

Let December be the only reason you break a sweat this month. Plan ahead and worry less! Call the To learn more about estate planning, probate and asset protection, visit our website at or call 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s Wild World. Are You Protected? SM

Read More

We are all growing old; there is nothing we can do. Or is there…?

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Elder Law, estate planning, Trusts, Wills |

One in seven Americans are over the age of 65. This means that those who have cared for us as children are growing old and are beginning to need us to now care for them. Seeing our parents and grandparents weaken, we want to be sure that they will be provided with the upmost care for the remainder of their life. However, properly planning for the aging population is complicated and requires the help of a competent attorney.
Failing to properly plan today will mean that the difficult decisions of the future will fall on your loved ones. For instance, if you fail to designate someone to make important healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf, the court will appoint a Guardian to do so. This very well could mean someone you don’t know or perhaps don’t even like will be making big decisions that will directly impact your life. Eliminate this scary possibility by getting all necessary elder care documents in place today. Our specialized elder law attorneys can help with the process and provide information on the following:
-Explain what long term care is, help you to understand the costs associated with this type of care and explain how the government can help alleviate the bill.
-Review and update an old, outdated estate plan. Due to life’s ever changing nature (divorce, marriage, remarriage, children, growth in wealth, etc) and the fact that we are aging daily (plan for your incapacity by designating your durable power of attorney and healthcare surrogate), we recommend meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney once a year. If you don’t have an old estate plan to update then now is the time to get one in place. An estate plan not only protects your assets, it also provides peace of mind! Protect yourself and your assets by creating or updating your estate plan with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.
-Help you to better understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and how these programs may benefit you or your loved ones.
-Help you to better understand Veteran Administration benefits and how they can pay for long term care.
Elder law is a broad field and can be extremely complicated. Therefore, it’s necessary to work with a competent elder law attorney in order for any plan to work. Call the offices of Wild, Felice & Partners today at (954) 653-2917 and schedule your free consultation. Allow our attorneys to help your loved one receive the best long term care, the most benefits and achieve peace of mind.
To learn more about the benefits of elder law visit.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected?SM

Read More

Even When The Lights Shut Off, Everyone Still Wants A Piece

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Digital Estate Planning, Elder Law, estate planning, Probate, Special Needs Trust, tax, Trusts, Wills |

Robin Williams

It’s not all glitz and glam once the lights turn off, something that Robin Williams’ family is quickly discovering. The beloved star, who passed away last year, is having his estate  administered through probate, and fighting among family members is beginning to plague the process. Although Robin Williams had an estate plan, much of his assets were unaccounted for, leaving his children from prior marriages, and widowed spouse in disagreement over who is entitled to what. Avoid this hassle, and spare your loved ones the stress and grief that accompanies a contested probate process. It is imperative that you not only have a prepared and updated estate plan in place, but also that you speak with your family members to discuss these plans so that there are no surprised, or even worse, angered members once you’re gone.

Avoid some of the more common Estate Planning Mistakes:

Top Estate Planning Mistakes

  1. Thinking That You Have Plenty Of Time To Get To It:  No one has a crystal ball and tomorrow is not promised to any of us.  I have clients that have hired me to draft their estate plan and then they died prior to being able to sign it or fund it.  There are other people who die too young to even sit with the attorney.  Estate planning is necessary for everyone and you should sit with your attorney as soon in life as possible.
  2. Drafting Your Own Estate Plan:  There are so many moving parts with a trust-based estate plan that attempting to do it yourself is the equivalent of trying to take your own appendix out.  There are legal requirements in drafting, executing, funding, and updating.  If you miss any of them, it could invalidate your entire plan.  An estate planning attorney doesn’t sell you documents, they provide the service that goes into making sure that those documents are correct.
  3. Not Knowing Where All the Assets Are: A scattered estate plan by a secretive decedent may cause some assets to be left uncollected, undistributed and even lost.
  4. Not Updating Your Estate Plan:  It is imperative that your estate plan is reviewed on an annual basis to avoid unintended results.
  5. Not Communicating with Trustees and Beneficiaries:  It is important to let the people who are named in your estate plan know what role you are asking them to play.
  6. Leaving the Living Trust Unfunded: A living trust is merely a vehicle that allows you to pass your assets outside of probate.  However, if there are no assets in the trust, nothing has been accomplished.  You can buy the most expensive safe at the store but it wont protect your valuables unless you put the valuables into the safe.
  7. Leaving Assets Outright to Beneficiaries: Assets that are left outright to heirs and beneficiaries are exposed to creditors, predators and divorcing spouses.
  8. Not Having a Living Will:  A living will gives guidelines for your physician to follow in the event you are in a terminal, end-stage, and persistent vegetative state.
  9. Not Having a Durable Power of Attorney:  A durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate and authorize someone to legally act on your behalf, in the event that you become incapacitated.

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

Read More