You may know that one of the necessary steps in estate planning is to name a “personal representative” (Florida’s term for “executor”) to settle your affairs after you pass away.  But did you know that you should also name your trusted family members and other helpers as your “personal representatives” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)?

Continue Reading...

Our Relationships Series previously has covered the unique estate planning challenges faced by blended families and by same-sex and other unmarried couples.  Today we will address another group that is in dire need of proper planning: families with children under the age of 18.

Continue Reading...

We are constantly warning clients and friends alike of the dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning.  The odds are just too high that a fill-in-the-blanks estate plan will fail.  We hate to say we told you so, but here it is straight from the pen of Justice Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court:

Continue Reading...

The poignant documentary, “Bridegroom” written and directed by Linda BloodworthThomason (who created and wrote the television series “Designing Women”), vividly illustrates the human cost of a same-sex couple’s failure to do any type of estate planning.  It tells the story of Tom and Shane, two young men in a loving, committed, 6-year-long relationship that was tragically cut short by an accident.  The heartbreaking tale of what happened after the accident proves just how critical appropriate estate planning documents are for same-sex and other unmarried couples.  Click here to watch an overview of the film on YouTube.

Continue Reading...

The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, held every January, is the nation’s leading conference for estate planners.  This year’s most-discussed topic was big changes in planning for same-sex couples.

Continue Reading...

The 2014 Sochi Olympics are in full spectacular, suspenseful, stirring swing. We enjoy watching the events play out, but we also love tuning into the segments about each Olympian, discovering their path to the biggest games in the world and learning their inspirations and motivations. They have amazing stories to tell just about how they got to where they are today. And then imagine the stories they will have to tell about this experience for the rest of their lives!

Continue Reading...

          My wife is a big fan of Downton Abbey, so at least once each season we are obligated to reference this hit PBS series in our newsletter.  We have already written about general estate planning issues raised in the early seasons of the show.  Fortunately, the opening episode of Season 4 provided a wealth of interesting new material.

Continue Reading...

We have heard many excuses to avoid discussing wills, trusts, and everything else relating to estate planning.  The most common stem from concerns that it is too personal or sensitive a subject.  Some even believe that talking about their potential demise will cause it to happen.  However, having a conversation about estate planning with your loved ones is an opportunity for you to explain your wishes, discourage future discord through transparency, and open the door to better planning through better understanding.  Here are some tips on where to begin:

Continue Reading...