A topic that comes up often in estate planning is how to divide up estate assets among beneficiaries. “Should I divide up my inheritance?” “Should one child get more than the other?” As estate planning attorneys, our role is not just to prepare documents and make sure things are in place for our client’s wishes and intentions to be carried out, but to also counsel and advise our clients on the best strategies given their unique situations.
Estate planning attorneys often times run into situations where clients undermine the importance of having an estate plan. After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (“TCJA”) was passed, the estate tax exemption nearly doubled to $11.18 million for single individuals and $22.36 million for those that are married. Due to the immense increase in the exemption, the market for secession planning has encountered a short decline. However, planning is necessary so that your best interests are adhered to in the event you’re unable to adhere to them yourself.
Long-term relationships and domestic partnerships are becoming more common in today’s society, which brings with it a host of legal issues, especially when it comes to estate planning and death. Unlike in a traditional marital relationship, when one of the partners becomes deceased, there are no marriage laws to protect the surviving partner when claiming the assets of their now deceased partner’s estate.
Desde que se convirtió en un icono del pop adolescente a principios de la década del 2000, Britney Spears no ha sido ajena a la controversia y a los titulares de las revistas. Después de un colapso público en 2007, con la cabeza afeitada y atacando a los paparazzi, Britney comenzó una serie de estancias en centros de rehabilitación. Mientras Britney se centraba en su salud mental, su padre, Jamie Spears, fue nombrado por un tribunal para que examinara a Britney y sus finanzas, también conocido como tutela. Desde entonces, Britney ha mantenido un perfil bastante bajo. Sin embargo, recientes publicaciones en medios sociales y una serie de peticiones judiciales han vuelto a poner a Britney en los titulares. Específicamente, Britney ha solicitado a la corte que retire su tutela y los fans están llamando a “#freebritney” para que deje de estar bajo el control de su padre.
From the time she became a teenage pop icon in the early 2000s, Britney Spears has been no stranger to controversy and magazine headlines. After a very public breakdown in 2007, complete with head shaving and attacking the paparazzi, Britney began a series of stints in rehab facilities. While Britney was focusing on her mental health, her father, Jamie Spears, was appointed by a court to look over Britney and her finances, also known as a conservatorship. Since then Britney has maintained a fairly low profile. However, recent social media posts and a series of court petitions have put Britney back in the headlines. Specifically, Britney has petitioned the court to remove her conservatorship and fans are calling to “#freebritney” from the control of her father.
Upon a person’s passing, their estate is to be divided appropriately. When the late person has a valid will, the personal representative or executor of the estate will then come in to distribute the assets in accordance with the wishes stipulated in the will. Nevertheless, Florida courts specifically, will not allow the personal representative to distribute assets until he or she has been given a letter of testamentary by the court.
A trust is a legal agreement between the person who created the trust “settlor” and the trustee (the settlor as well), which is designed to hold assets for the beneficiary/ies of the trust. A trust can be a useful legal and financial mechanism to hold and distribute one’s assets after the death of the settlor, regardless of the amount of assets the settlor has. Below are a few of the reasons why trusts are a good idea for everyone.
At EPGD, we strive to communicate the importance of succession planning and are eager to spread knowledge on every aspect of having a valid will. More times than not, a will may potentially open itself up to an opportunity to be contested. This is known as a will contest, and Florida, among many other states, recognizes a number of grounds for contesting a will.
Having a written Last Will and Testament is an essential part of an estate plan. It reflects all of your wishes upon your death, including who the beneficiaries of your estate are and how they are to inherit from you upon your death. Without one, you can potentially face the risk of your assets being distributed contrary to your intentions under the default laws of the state of Florida.
The term “In Terrorem” is a legal Latin term that translates to “in terror”. Today, most lawyers prefer to use the term “no contest”. A “No Contest” clause in a will may be added by the Testator of the will.
A surcharge action in Florida is a legal action that may be brought against a personal representative when there are allegations that the personal representative has breached his fiduciary duty in order to impose personal liability on a personal representative.
In the United States, the rights of trust beneficiaries are typically governed by state law. Florida has adopted the Uniform Trust Code (U.T.C.), which governs the administration of trusts in Florida as well as duties and rights of trustees and beneficiaries.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to decide how to distribute your assets after your passing. A Will contains the definition of assets, the names of beneficiaries, and sometimes includes guardianship designations and burial instructions. A Will also appoints an executor, or personal representative, of the will. A personal representative is someone who will pay remaining taxes after your passing and make sure the Will is being executed correctly and in accordance with your wishes.
A living will is a legally binding document that explains an individual’s personal choices about end-of-life medical care in cases where they become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for themselves. For example, the living will would state whether an individual would want to be kept alive through life support or whether they would not like to receive any life support, including artificial nutrition and hydration.
A trust is an agreement between a settlor and a trustee, which directs the trustee to hold the settlor’s assets for the benefit of the settlor’s beneficiaries. In simple terms, an individual will establish a trust to hold their assets for their beneficiaries. The person establishing the trust, or the settlor, can create a trust agreement where he is both the settlor and the trustee and place all of his assets in the trust.
Probate is a court process that is used to determine the authenticity of a will as well as to administer the estate of the deceased individual. Through probate, the court supervises the payment of all the debts of the decedent to his creditors. Subsequently, the court administers the distribution of the assets of the estate to its beneficiaries in accordance with the will of the decedent. In case of an absence of the will, the court will arrange the asset distribution according to the laws of intestacy of the applicable state.
Tortious Interference with an Expected Inheritance occurs when someone succeeds at manipulating the assets of the decedent. In such a case, those beneficiaries of the inheritance who suffer an injury as a result of the tortious interference can bring a suit against the person who has manipulated the assets. Such conduct could include transferring money between different accounts, converting bank accounts to cash or affecting the distribution of the assets in any other way.
A holographic will is a will that has been written by hand by the person that is establishing the will, legally known as a testator. A holographic will is different from a standard will because it is typically neither notarized nor signed by two witnesses and handwritten.
When preparing your estate plan, not only can you provide directives as to the administration of your estate, but you can also give instructions as to what will happen to your body after you pass away. Providing such instructions yourself would save your family from conflict over what should be done with your body and how you would have wanted to be buried.
Naming a trustee to administer your trust is an important decision that should be afforded thoughtful consideration. One should consider the proposed individual’s qualifications, ability, professionalism, and ethics. Equally important is the decision to accept appointment as trustee of another’s trust. Oftentimes, a trusteeship is accepted without prior knowledge of the duties and responsibilities involved.
While the show is fictional, the reality is that succession planning is an important aspect of estate planning that should be fully integrated into your plan, especially for business owners. A solid estate plan not only provides for the disposition of your assets upon your passing but also plans for someone to take your place (a successor) when you are no longer able to perform your responsibilities due to incapacity or death.
Miller Trust is a special kind of trust that adjusts the income of a person downward, usually in an effort to maintain the individual’s eligibility for some forms of government benefit programs. This type of trust is often used to establish eligibility for the Medicaid program.
If you or a loved one have been affected by COVID-19 and would like to learn more information about holding a funeral during this pandemic, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys at EPGD Business Law. EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.
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