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October 2017 Archives

Why should I avoid probate?

Once you begin looking into estate planning options, you very quickly begin running into the same word repeatedly — "probate." The process of probate doesn't extend far outside of estate reconciliation, so it may be an unfamiliar concept if you're just now beginning your estate planning journey. Probate is the process by which the state distributes the property of a deceased person to his or her heirs. Property that passes through probate may lose value or incur taxes, leaving the heirs with much less than the decedent intended.

Can a will circumvent probate?

Wills are very useful documents, and every adult should have one. Each time that some very wealthy person passes away without a will (and yes, this does happen far more often than you'd believe) estate planning attorneys throughout the country roll their eyes and wonder what could possibly have kept the decedent from making a will during his or her lifetime. If you have any assets or liabilities, you probably need a will. However, it is also important to understand that wills are not magic, and cannot bypass certain laws simply because the author of a will wishes it might.

How long does a durable financial power of attorney last?

Many individuals throughout Florida find that giving someone they trust a durable financial power of attorney is a very helpful way to plan for a period of time where a person may not have the mental acuity to make financial decisions on his or her own. However, whenever you consider handing over the reigns of your financial life to someone else, no matter how trustworthy he or she is or how qualified he or she is for the job, some apprehension is still normal.

Protecting your estate from immature beneficiaries

For many individuals living out their golden years here in Florida, leaving an estate to their family or loved ones is not as simple as one might hope. Sometimes, the individuals who stand to receive generously from an estate are either not old enough or not mature enough to handle the assets at the time of the benefactor's death. In these cases, a testamentary trust built into a will may prove useful.

Unless you execute a will, you will have no say about your assets

You probably don't normally sit around talking about your own mortality, unless you are among others in Florida who are currently suffering from terminal illness. Either way, you may also be like many people throughout that nation who prefer not to discuss such matters as it can be rather uncomfortable. On the other hand, based on recent news stories regarding famous people who died without first executing estate plans, you may already understand the importance of getting your own documents in order, regardless of your current state in life.