Estate Planning Archives

How Can a Living Trust Benefit You and Your Loved Ones?

A Living Trust (also sometimes called a Revocable Trust) is a written document which allows the person setting it up to provide for the holding and distribution of their assets. In effect, a Living Trust is much like a Last Will and Testament in that it designates to whom assets are to be distributed and who will be in charge of distributing them. However, the way the Living Trust accomplishes these objectives is significantly different and thereby offers some definite benefits to both you and to your loved ones. Here are the major benefits:

What is a "Spendthrift" Provision in a Florida Trust?

Most well-drafted Trusts contain a spendthrift provision-also sometimes called a restraint on alienation provision. Such a provision sets forth special language preventing creditors from attaching or "taking away" the interest of a beneficiary named in a Trust. Florida law enforces spendthrift provisions so long as they apply to both voluntary and involuntary transfers.

Do you have a Living Will?

If you've ever been a patient at a hospital or any other medical facility, you've probably been asked this question: "Do you have a Living Will?" So what is this document? A Living Will is a document which allows you to declare your desires in the event of an "end-of-life" situation such as a terminal illness, an end-stage condition, or a permanent vegetative state. In making this declaration, here is some typical language contained in a Florida Living Will:

Ready for anything? Are You "In Omnia Paratus?"

A well-recognized Latin phrase, "In Omnia Paratus" is translated as "Ready for anything." Legally speaking, when it comes to life's challenges, many adults are not ready for anything. In particular, they are not ready in the event of disability, incapacity, or death. They simply are not prepared.

Ready or Not? Semper Paratus or Non Paratus?

The motto of the United States Coast Guard is "Semper Paratus" which is Latin for "always ready" or "always prepared." When it comes to being prepared for life's challenges, including illness, incapacity, and death, it is wise to be "always prepared." Unfortunately, in law practice many times we see that people are "Non Paratus" or "not prepared."

Emergencies don't happen on banker's hours: So where should you keep your estate planning documents?

As an estate planning lawyer, I'm often asked by clients where they should keep their original estate planning documents. Do they need to keep them in a bank safe-deposit box? Generally speaking, my advice is to keep them somewhere safe and accessible but a safe-deposit box may not be the best answer and in many instances, is actually not recommended.

Do you have per stirpes?

As an estate planning lawyer, one of my principal objectives in drafting a client's Will or Trust is to name the beneficiaries which the client wants to receive their estate. Often this will be a spouse or children and in some cases, other family members. What happens if the person named dies before the person who established the Will or Trust? Does the intended devise (gift) go to the deceased beneficiary's children or to someone else? The answer is, "it depends."

Can you name two people to act as co-agents under your Florida Power of Attorney?

As an estate planning lawyer, I always recommend that clients have both a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Durable Power of Attorney for non-medical matters. In each of those documents, the client is authorizing a person or persons to make decisions and act on their behalf. The Power of Attorney for Healthcare covers decision-making for medical and health issues; the Durable Power of Attorney for covers decision-making and taking action on non-medical matters such as finances, banking, and bill paying. So, can you authorize two or more people to act as co-agents under these instruments and if you do, can one agent act without the other or does action require all agents to act together? The simple answer in Florida is that you may name co-agents and one co-agent may act without the other co-agent.

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