Elder Law Archives

Can My Agent Use My Durable Power of Attorney to Make Gifts or to Change Beneficiaries?

Estate planning clients sometimes ask whether the person (or "agent) named in their Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA") has the power or authority to do certain acts regarding the principal's estate or assets. For example, can the agent named use the power of the DPOA to make a gift to another person? Or can the agent use the DPOA to make a change of beneficiary designation-for example on a pay-on-death account or on life insurance?

Is My Estate Taxable at My Death?

As an estate planning attorney, I often have clients ask whether their estate will be subject to taxation at the time of death. Answering this question is something that involves numerous considerations and therefore a person should seek specific legal and financial advice based on their circumstances. However, there are some basic principles of which you should be aware that will help on this subject.

In Estate Planning, what does it mean if a gift or devise lapses?

In estate planning, a common phrase used in a Last Will & Testament or a Living Trust is that a gift or devise will "lapse." So what does this mean? In the estate planning context, when a gift lapses, it ceases or is extinguished. The lapsing of the gift is usually tied to some event such as the death of the beneficiary. 

Saving Your Loved Ones' Time, Money and Stress: Four Important Asset Categories

When a person dies resident in Florida, there are four basic categories into which each of their assets or properties fall. Experienced estate and probate attorneys know that where an asset falls among these categories will determine what action must be taken to administer or dispose of that asset. The action which must be taken will in turn impact the time, expense and stress caused in administering and transferring each asset. If you do not mind significant time delays, paying lawyers and being stressed, then this blog entry is not for you.

In Florida, is the original Will needed for Probate?

As estate attorneys, we often encounter a situation where a person is deceased and the original of their Last Will and Testament cannot be found. Often, the family suspects that the original has been lost or misplaced--not that it was intentionally destroyed by the decedent before death. Is the fact that the orignal of the Will cannot be found fatal to being able to probate the Will? The answer is often "no."  

Resolving Creditor Claims in Florida Probate

When a Florida resident dies and owes creditors (such a credit card balances or medical bills), Florida probate procedures establish a mechanism to resolve those creditor claims. The process starts by having the Personal Representative of the estate sign a document called a "Notice to Creditors." The Notice informs creditors of the pendency of the probate estate and of the deadline for filing a creditor claim in the probate.  

Proving Undue Influence in Florida Will Contests

A "Will contest" is an action to challenge the valuidity of a Last Will and Testament. In Florida, perhaps the most common basis for challenging a Will is grounded on allegations of "undue Influence." Undue influence, such as would void a Will, has been defined to include over persuasion, coercion, or force that destroys or hampers the free agency and will power of the person making the Will.

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