Divorce Estate Planning

Most complications that arise in estate administration are the result of unanticipated events. Divorce is one of the least planned for events in any estate plan; it can also cause some of the most devastating complications. The recent case of Carroll v. Israelson illustrates this point.

Continue Reading...
Estate Administration Lawyer

In order for a will to be probated after someone’s death, a Personal Representative must be appointed by the court. In order for a trust to be administered, a Trustee must be appointed pursuant to the terms of the trust. The PR or Trustee then distributes the estate among the intended beneficiaries through a process known as estate administration. Typically, the PR or Trustee will hire a lawyer to assist with the estate administration. During the estate administration, this “estate” lawyer will need to be in contact with the beneficiaries. It is not uncommon for the beneficiaries to believe that the estate lawyer represents them and their interest in receiving their share of the estate.

Continue Reading...
Advance Healthcare Directives

2014’s You’re Not You stars Hilary Swank as a 35-year-old classical pianist who is stricken with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease). This multiple-hanky-needed drama is naturally sad, although fairly realistic and extremely well-acted. ALS is a disease that travels in only one direction: downhill. There is no cure, not even much palliative care that can be offered. So, yes, in one respect, the movie is about watching Hilary Swank’s character die.

Continue Reading...
Guardianship Court

Revocable Living Trusts are planned with the intention of keeping the family out of court. If this intent fails, courts have alarming powers to interfere with your plan. The recent case of Rene v. Sykes-Kennedy illustrates this point.

Continue Reading...
Are Professional Guardians Cockroaches?

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around the need to fix the rules governing “professional guardians” (i.e., persons who have been appointed guardian over three or more legally incapacitated individuals) in order to protect Florida’s elderly from predatory practices. (See here, herehere, and here.) While the Florida legislature is taking steps to address the issue, you can mitigate your risk of becoming a victim by implementing anticipatory provisions in your estate planning documents.

Continue Reading...
Father and Daughter

Adding to the unusual cases profiled in our Adoption Series (see here, herehere, and here), a Florida court recently decided whether an adopted daughter’s attempt to invalidate her own adoption, so that she could inherit her biological father’s estate as his lineal heir, had any legal merit.

Continue Reading...
Digital Assets

*UPDATE: We've learned Senate Bill 102 died on calendar on May 1. As this is a very important piece of legislation, which insulates your fiduciaries from privacy law violations amongst other benefits, we encourage you to contact your senator or state representative and ask that they vote for this Bill next session.

Continue Reading...
National Healthcare Decisions Day

If you were in an accident today or became suddenly sick and couldn’t speak for yourself, would your family know your healthcare wishes? Would they know for certain what you would want the hospital and doctors to do? And would they be able to make decisions for you—or even talk to your healthcare providers on your behalf?

Continue Reading...
Facebook Legacy Contact

Up until recently, your loved ones and even the executor (or “Personal Representative”) of your estate would be denied access to your Facebook account after your death. To address the issues this created, Facebook has changed its policy and now allows its users to designate a “Legacy Contact.”

Continue Reading...
iPods for dementia

Alive Inside is another captivating movie about a subject that regularly touches our practice as estate planners: dementia. This documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music and Memory, as he chronicles the reactions of memory-loss patients being reintroduced to their favorite music through the use of iPods.

Continue Reading...