Dementia

Just as it's not easy for parents to bring up the birds and the bees with their kids, it's anything but easy to begin a conversation with a loved one about how they want to live at the end of their lives. But it's vitally important to have “the talk” as soon as possible if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

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Let's face it: Probate can be stressful, contentious, lengthy, and tiresome. It's rarely a positive experience for a family to sort out a recently deceased loved one’s estate. If you've been through the process, you may have wished for a superhero to swoop in and save the day, solving the complicated problems in a flash.

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Digital Assets

In previous posts, we addressed digital assets and how difficult it might be for fiduciaries (personal representatives or trustees) of an estate to access the digital assets of a deceased loved one, specifically their Facebook account and assets such as email accounts. Although we had hopes that the Florida legislature would pass a bill on the subject early last year (Senate Bill 102), it unfortunately died on May 1. The Legislature, however, was determined to pass a bill on the subject, and we can now say that it has!

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Substance Abuse: Marchman Act

Our last blog covered how to obtain law enforcement help under the Marchman Act for a family member suffering through substance abuse. This week, we’ll explain how you can also petition the courts for assistance under the Marchman Act. We’ll use the example of Sally, a concerned loved one, and Harry, a person suffering from alcohol abuse, to illustrate this situation.

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Substance Abuse: Marchman Act

Many of us have a family member who has a substance addiction. If your loved one will  not seek treatment on their own, but you have serious concerns about their health and well-being, you could consider taking action under the Marchman Act. The act, Fla. Stat. Chapter 397, provides a statutory means of compelling an addicted person first to be evaluated for substance abuse treatment and then to potentially receive short-term substance abuse treatment. It is important to note that the Marchman Act governs only persons who are suffering from substance addiction. Other Florida laws, including the Baker Act, cover individuals who may need involuntary evaluation and treatment for mental health reasons other than substance abuse.

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Renunciation Rule: Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

You may not be familiar with the Renunciation Rule. It often comes up in litigation over trusts, and it is a rule that all beneficiaries and trustees should be familiar with. Renunciation in this context requires that a person renounce (or refuse to take) any interest in a trust and give back any contested assets he has already received if he wants to argue that the trust is invalid. The old saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” applies here. You can’t argue that the trust should not be followed and still benefit from it by receiving assets.

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