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Fort Myers Probate & Estate Planning Law Blog

Considering digital assets and accounts in estate planning

It's not easy to think about the future, especially when it comes to issues pertaining to a debilitating medical condition or your passing. People often avoid the process of estate planning because they do not want to consider these things or they believe that it's not a necessary thing for their stage of life. In reality, estate planning is important for every Florida adult, regardless of age, health status and income level.

One aspect of estate planning you would be wise to consider is your online life. Like most people, you probably have online accounts and even digital assets that are worth protecting. It is smart to consider these as you draft an estate plan, making plans for what will happen to your online presence in the future.

Important items to know about a trust

A trust is one of the most important legal items you can create. It protects your property and other items when you die. It can make your family have an easier time of distributing your assets and dividing up your belongings, avoiding family feuds along the way. Let's examine the important items you need to know about a trust in today's post.

The biggest benefits of creating a trust include the following:

  • Going through probate is a public process. A trust can prevent your issues from being a matter of public record.
  • You can protect your legacy from the creditors of your heirs.
  • You can write precise terms of a trust, controlling your money and other assets without being questioned.

Who you should pick as a guardian of an elderly person

Finding a guardian for an elderly family member is not easy. You have to come to terms with the fact that your loved one needs a guardian, for whatever reason. You then need to find someone you can trust who can be named a guardian if you are unable to do it yourself. Picking someone other than yourself or a sibling to be the guardian of an elderly loved one usually happens when you live far from your loved one.

When you begin your search for a guardian for your elderly parent, first look at your family. Try to talk to any adult member of the family who lives near your parent. It can be difficult to serve as your parent's guardian if you do not live close to them.

Benefits of naming an attorney as executor

When you sit down to create your will and estate plan, it's important to choose someone you trust as your executor. The most logical choice is your attorney. Why? When an attorney serves as your executor, you are putting yourself and your family in a safe situation when the inevitable happens. Here are some benefits of naming an attorney as your executor.

For starters, when you name an attorney as executor, you can help reduce the stress your family experiences upon your death. They will already be stressed and upset over your loss. You don't need them to suffer any additional stress that can easily be avoided.

The benefits of a prenuptial agreement to your estate plan

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that many couples sign prior to getting married. There's also the option of creating a postnuptial agreement. Both of these documents protect the couple should the marriage end in divorce. Today, we will explore the benefits of a prenuptial agreement to the estate plan that you create with your spouse.

Prenuptial agreements work the best for estate plans that include incredible wealth and for couples who are getting married for the second or third time. Why? There's more at stake in these two scenarios compared to a young couple entering their first marriage with very little property or assets to their names.

Prepare your adult children for the inevitable

Having children is a blessing. It can also be a challenge, especially when they reach the age of adulthood. Why? For starters, talking to your adult children about the inevitable can be very difficult, but it is very necessary. Below, you will find some tips for preparing your adult children for the inevitable, which includes your death and the reading of your will.

There's nothing wrong with talking about death and what will come after you die. In fact, it's a great idea because you are putting your adult children ahead of the curve. Having a plan laid out for the end of your life, including choosing a funeral home and a grave plot, can help your children deal with your death whenever it comes.

How life insurance fits into estate planning

One thing that Florida residents tend to forget about as they engage in estate planning is their debts. Most people focus on what happens to their assets upon death, but addressing any debts left behind is an integral part of the estate administration and probate process.

Like most people, your intention during the estate planning process is to make sure your heirs and beneficiaries receive the maximum amount of benefit from their inheritances. This could make ensuring your bills don't eat away at those assets a priority. Life insurance could help.

Explaining an inter vivos trust

If you are getting ready to sit down with your attorney to create an estate plan, one of the trusts you need to have an understanding of is the inter vivos trust. This trust is created by the trustor when putting together the estate plan. An alternate name for this trust is living trust, and it can be active for a specific period based on the wishes of the trustor.

The biggest advantages of creating an inter vivos trust include the following:

  • The trustor can act as the trustee of the inter vivos trust for the length of their life or until a backup trustee named in the trust is ready to take the reigns as the trustee.
  • An inter vivos trust helps avoid probate when the trustor dies. Since the trust holds the assets of the trustor, these assets will not have to go through probate if the trust is still valid upon death.
  • The inter vivos trust is able to hold all of the assets of the trustor, or only those that he or she chooses.

Answering frequently asked questions about guardians

If you are ever named a guardian of a minor or you need to set up guardianship for your minor child, you should know some of the most basic information about this legal position. Today, we will answer some frequently asked questions about guardians.

Do I need to become the guardian of my own child?

Can you protect your estate from a lawsuit?

There are all kinds of ways that you -- or, rather, your estate -- could end up being sued after your death. You could leave behind a major hospital bill, owe a big personal loan that never got paid back or even cause an accident just before you died.

Things like that put your financial plans for your estate -- and the plans you may have had for your heirs -- in serious jeopardy. For example, one man's estate was recently ordered to pay $10 million to the bereaved family members of two Florida teenagers. All three people died in a wrong-way accident caused by the 99-year-old. The Michigan resident had already been listed as incompetent to drive and had somehow not only gotten on the wrong side of the divided highway but was also driving without his headlights on in the dark.