April Fools is one week away and for some this means it’s time to brace yourself. Maybe you have children that scheme all year or perhaps you are married to the ultimate prankster – whatever your situation may be, it’s time to prepare for a possible heart attack and get your estate plan in place today.
A properly executed estate plan will allow you to remain in control, to some degree, either during times of incapacity or even after you’re long gone. By executing some important documents, you can rest easy knowing who will raise your children, how your children’s inheritance will be managed and where everything will be going. Some important documents to consider include:
- Revocable Living Trust – Whatever assets held in trust will avoid probate, saving your loved ones the money and hassle. The trust will also direct the trustee to manage and distribute your assets according to your terms.
- Last Will & Testament – Nominate your Personal Representative, choose a Guardian for any minor child, and add any burial or cremation requests.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf or qualify you for public benefits, should you not be able to do so yourself.
- 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.
- Designation of Healthcare Surrogate & HIPAA Release – Designate the individual of your choosing to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf, in the event you cannot do so yourself.
Don’t just prepare for the anticipated pranks coming next week – prepare for your future and family today! Call (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation.
For more information on Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Probate Administration visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected?
February is American Heart Health Month. A full month dedicated to spreading awareness about heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death among men and in women in the United States. This is a scary reality for most Americans who love their pizza, hot dogs and beer but the good news is that this disease is preventable. You can decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease by making healthier choices, such as exercising more, choosing healthier foods and creating an estate plan! Well, maybe an estate plan can’t prevent heart disease but it will ensure that your family is taken care should anything happen to you.
Estate planning is important for individuals of all ages, from all backgrounds – no matter if you’re married or single. By planning today, you eliminate any possible arguments about who gets what, can plan for your children’s future, and even provide for your grandchildren! A solid estate plan should include the following:
The Revocable Living Trust is a great option for those who wish to avoid probate and provide asset protection for their beneficiaries. The trust can keep your beneficiaries’ inheritance safe against unsecured creditors and allow them to receive what’s held in trust free of probate. This is a real advantage since Florida’s probate system is both time consuming and costly. In addition to probate avoidance, the living trust allows the Grantor to retain control during their life. They may amend as many times as they wish or revoke entirely. As life changes, so should your estate plan!
The Last Will and Testament will be included in your plan. In your will, you will appoint minors on behalf of your children, nominate a personal representative on behalf of your estate and specify your wishes regarding cremation or burial.
The Durable Power of Attorney is a powerful document that is only valid for the duration of your life. Once signed it will allow the designated individual to make important financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself.
The Healthcare Surrogate will allow the designated individual to speak with medical staff and assist in making important medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. The HIPPA release is included as well to allow for your healthcare surrogate to review medical documents and receive information on your behalf.
You may have the healthiest heart around but that shouldn’t stop you from creating an estate plan. Call the South Florida Office of Wild, Felice & Partners today at (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation and prepare yourself for the unforeseen.
Let’s face it – life requires insurance. Cars crash, homes get flooded and people pass away. As morbid as this topic may seem it’s purely realistic and the best way to deal with it is to be prepared. Most Americans fail to realize the importance of life insurance. Once a loved one passes, they are likely to leave behind a variation of expenses such as a funeral bill, business expenses, or an unpaid mortgage. These expenses can cause the surviving family to deal with an unnecessary financial burden and experience a great deal of stress. Have no fear, life insurance is a great way to alleviate this stress! Once your policy is coupled with the right estate planning technique you can walk away with peace of mind knowing that the family will be fully protected.
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is an estate planning tool that is commonly used. The ILIT will allow your family to continue to benefit from the life insurance policy without the hassle of a possible tax issue. Great news, right?! Here is how it works: The ILIT transfers the benefit into the trust while you relinquish all control over the policy. This relinquishment of control is required by the IRS to avoid possible estate taxes. Doing this removes the life insurance policy from your estate and decreases any potential taxation the family may have faced. Now, all that remains is an increase in overall asset protection for the family!
Considering creating an ILIT? Be sure to first consider who you will designate as Trustee, the individual who will distribute the assets, as well as who you wish to designate as a beneficiary (can be a spouse, child or any other individual you deem appropriate). The terms of the trust are up to you – you can choose how you wish the assets to be distributed but be certain you are happy with how it’s created because once in place the terms of the ILIT cannot be changed.
This estate planning technique offers tax free protection for the family. Alleviate the potential financial burden your family could face by calling an experienced estate planning attorney today!
For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.
It’s a Wild World. Are You Protected?
You know how the old saying goes: what you don’t know can’t hurt you. When it comes to the probate process in Florida, what you don’t know might not hurt you but it certainly will hurt the loved ones you leave behind. Florida’s probate system is both a slow and expensive process that can elevate an already stressful and sensitive situation. It’s important that everyone not only understand what probate is but how the process can potentially impact the loved ones they leave behind.
Probate is the legal process of proving your last will and testament in court. Unfortunately, even a small estate could take up to a full year to be administered due to a high number of cases passing through the court system. Smaller estates are those that are worth less than $75,000 and this type of administration is referred to as a Summary Administration. If your estate exceeds $75,000 then your family will have to petition the court for a Formal Administration and, in most cases, should be prepared to wait longer than a before distributions will be made. This can be financially burdensome and extremely stressful for the family. Luckily, there are ways in which you can prepare now so you family doesn’t have to deal with probate later. Owning assets jointly will allow them to pass free of probate. Either holding property as a married couple (Tenants by the Entireties) or as Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship will allow the property to pass immediately to the surviving owner. Beneficiary designation (such as with a life insurance policy) is another great way to avoid probate as well as a pay on death or transfer on death designation (with banking and brokerage accounts, as an example). Perhaps one of the most popular ways to avoid probate is to create a living revocable trust which will hold your assets for the named beneficiaries and pass free of probate. A trust as many additional benefits, such as choosing how and when your assets will be distributed, asset protection for the beneficiaries against unsecured creditors, the ability to keep you assets within the family for generations to come as well as planning for individuals with special needs. With so many alternatives available probate certainly does not have to be part of your future.
Remember, probate offers no real benefit for those family members that you leave left behind. It tends to cause a great deal of stress and frustration which is why you should consider avoiding it all together. Call the office of Wild, Felice & Partners today for your free consultation at (954) 944-2855.
For more information on Probate, Estate Planning, and Asset Protection, visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected? SM
You may have heard the term “basic.” What does it mean to be basic? If you like your pumpkin spice latte in a holiday cup or really anything mainstream or popular then you may be considered basic. Being basic isn’t always a bad thing and having an estate plan in place may mean your basic too – well, not really but it should because being prepared should be more popular. Unfortunately, the idea of estate planning doesn’t create the urgency to grab your phone for a quick selfie with your attorney and post to social media – but it should! Instead of feeling all doom and gloom about the topic try to imagine the peace of mind both you and your family will feel from this positive experience. Creating an estate plan should be at the top of everyone’s priority list because what can possibly be more important than planning for the future of yourself and your loved ones?
Whether your estate is large or modest, protecting it for future generations should be a priority. Estate Planning is the process of deciding during your life how your property will be handled should you become incapacitated or how the assets will be distributed after you pass away. The most popular estate planning tool for accomplishing this the Revocable Living Trust. By creating a revocable living trust to hold your assets you are preventing your family from being subjected to the stressful and lengthy process of Probate Administration. Instead, the assets will be distributed directly to the beneficiaries that you designate and according the terms of the trust that you created. You can choose a different individual to manage your child’s assets until they have reached an age of majority, or any age that you deem appropriate. The revocable living trust will also provide the beneficiaries with asset protection against any unsecured creditors they may encounter such as divorce, bankruptcy or litigation.
For full protection of our clients, we also included the following documents with your Trust based plan:
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 able 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 able to do so yourself.
Being “basic” is more than ok when the popular thing to do is plan for your future. 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 www.wfplaw.com.
It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected? SM