Elder Law Archives

Does Life Insurance Go Through Probate?

As a probate and estate attorney, I'm often asked whether life insurance goes through or is subject to probate. The answer is usually "no." Life insurance is one of those assets that does not normally go through probate. This is due to the fact that the policy names a beneficiary. As a result, at the death of the insured, the death benefits are paid to the beneficiary directly, not to the estate. 

In Florida, Can I Leave My Estate To Whomever I Choose?

As an estate planning lawyer in Florida, I'm often asked by clients if they can leave their estate to whomever they choose. For the most part, a person can leave his or her estate to whomever they choose but there are some exceptions. 

TODs and PODs as Useful Estate Planning Tools

A familiar term often used in estate planning discussions involves a "TOD" or "POD" designation. These abbreviated designations of "Transfer on Death" and "Pay on Death" and are usually used in the context of certain financial accounts such as checking,savings, or money market accounts. 

Does my Living Trust need a Tax Id. Number?

When estate planning lawyers set up a Living Trust for a client, they should advise the client to take steps to transfer their assets--such as bank accounts--into the Trust. This process is called "funding" the Trust. Often when funding the Trust, a client will be confronted with a question such as "What is the Tax Id. number of this Trust?" So does a Living Trust need a separate Tax Id. number (also sometimes called an EIN)?

What is an "Incontestability" Provision of a Life Insurance Policy?

Many states, including Florida, have laws which require life insurance policies to become incontestable after a period of time. As a result, most life insurance policies have a provision entitled "Incontestability." So what does this mean?

Medicaid Claims Against a Florida Estate

As is commonly known, Medicaid is a federal program which provides healthcare benefits to certain persons with low income. The program is administered at the state level. Section 1917 of the Federal Social Security Act (42 USC § 1396(p)), and 42 CFR 433.36, require that States recover medical assistance payments made to, or on behalf of, a Medicaid recipient from the assets in the estate of that deceased recipient. 

In Florida, Should I Title My Vehicle in My Trust?

When a person establishes a Living or Revocable Trust, it is necessary to transfer certain assets into the Trust. Estate attorneys often call this "funding the Trust." Assets such as real estate, brokerage accounts, stocks, etc. can be transferred into the name of the Trust. When it comes to funding, clients often ask, should I title my vehicle(s) in the Trust?

Leave a Road Map for Your Loved Ones to Follow After You're Gone!

As estate attorneys, we often have families come in after the death of a loved one and they have no idea where to start. What assets--accounts, investments, real estate, insurance, retirement accounts--did their loved on have? Where did their loved one have these assets? Who do they contact for assistance?

Insuring Assets in Your Trust...a Must!

Estate planning attorneys often recommend that you transfer your assets into a Living Trust (also called a Revocable Trust). This process is sometimes called "funding" the Trust. By transferring assets into the Trust before death, you can avoid--or at least minimize--probate.  

In Florida Elder Law, What is the CARES Assessment?

In the field of elder law in Florida, the CARES program is often discussed. The Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) is Florida's federally mandated pre-admission screening program for nursing home applicants. 

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