I recently learned about a Facebook Group called “Elder Orphans” which is a support group for those aging alone. It is a group restricted to those over age 55 who live without the help of a spouse, partner or children. It has attracted over 8,000 members who use the site to discuss common issues and concerns.
Not all estate planning “packages” of documents contain a Designation of Preneed Guardian. But, this oft overlooked document can make a big difference if someone challenges your advance directives or Power of Attorney in court. Who would challenge your documents? You might be surprised.
In the recent case of Smith v. Smith, our Florida Supreme Court addressed the question of what happens to a person found to be legally incapacitated, who had a guardian appointed for them, and had the right to contract removed. Can that person marry?
You have heard the old adage “possession is 9/10 of the law.” Well, here is a case dealing with the other 1/10. The Arizona case of Grande v. Jennings involved a hoarder by the name of Robert Spann. When he passed away in 2001, his daughter, Karen Grande, became personal representative of his estate. She knew from experience that he had hidden gold, cash, and other valuables in unusual places in previous homes that he owned, so she started looking for valuables that her father may have left or hidden in this particular home. Over the course of seven (7) years, she found stocks and bonds, as well as hundreds of military-style green ammunition cans hidden throughout the house, some of which contained gold or cash. After seven (7) years of searching and making repairs to the home, it was sold, “as is” to Jennings in 2008.
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, here, here, 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.
Now that graduation season is behind us, we have some important information for parents of young adults who are going off to college or starting their first job. Once your child turns 18, he or she is automatically an “adult” in the eyes of the law, no matter how immature or inexperienced. Being an adult comes with the right to manage your assets (including opening credit cards and taking out loans) and make decisions about your life (such as where to live, who to socialize with, and whether you want medical treatment). As you might imagine, this silent leap into full adulthood can cause some nasty surprises down the road.
With the Walk to End Alzheimer’s coming up this weekend and National Long-Term Care Awareness Month starting today, elder law is on our minds. So, this is the perfect time to share an elder law story that illustrates the value, and importance, of consistent planning.
The beginning of May always brings national attention to the Jacksonville area when the Players Championship comes to town. For one week each year, the Players is the hot ticket in town and for good reason; the tournament, which is part of the PGA tour, brings international golf superstars to town and raises millions of dollars for local charities. As Jacksonville estate planning attorneys, we find two different meanings in the words “the players”: we are reminded of all the positive energy that flows through the city at the time of the tournament, but also think about the players of estate planning.