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January 2017 Archives

Should I hire a lawyer to help create a living trust?

When it comes to creating a living trust, there is no "magic" that makes it work correctly or imbues it with legal authority. If it's so simple, why should you need a lawyer to help you create it at all? Can't you just find the requirements and create one yourself?

Do your research before choosing an estate attorney

It is important to your research before enlisting the guidance of an attorney, no matter what area of law you need help in. Recently, a Florida attorney was accused of misusing her influence and access as an attorney, leading to her having her license revoked. There is some reasonable debate as to whether the attorney in question actually violated any legal or ethical boundaries, but the story does illustrate just how important it is to vet an attorney before choosing to employ one's services.

How might a condominium affect my estate plan?

Florida is a unique state in many ways, often leading to peculiar legal issues that residents in other states do not often encounter. Among other things, Florida has a much higher percentage of residents who choose to live in condominiums than many other states. Condominiums present interesting legal challenges because they often do not operate in the same way that more traditional homes might. Also, many condominiums operate with a super-localized form of informal government in their board. A condominium's board makes many decisions about day-to-day operations in the community, and how various fees will be assessed and used.

Is a living trust right for me?

Living trusts have become an important component of east planning over the last several decades, but their popularity often overshadows their usefulness. If you are considering setting up a living trust, take a moment to consider whether it is truly the best estate planning tool for your particular needs.

Why do I need powers of attorney?

Wills and trusts take care of your family, and powers of attorney take care of you. Powers of attorney allow someone to make decisions on your behalf if you end up incapacitated due to an injury or illness. Your "agent" or "attorney-in-fact" should be someone you trust. This person also needs to understand your wishes when it comes to your health and your finances.

How might Trump's tax plan affect my estate plan?

As we attempt to anticipate some of the changes that may come into effect as President-Elect Donald Trump takes office, the implications of his proposed tax plan may mean that it is time to revisit your estate plan to ensure that you are making the most of various tax guidelines. Under the proposed plan, the new system would eliminate many estate taxes and gift taxes altogether, as well as the transfer tax. In general terms, if these changes do take effect, they will shift the focus of estate planning from minimizing tax burdens on transfers to minimizing capital gain taxation.