Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale estate planning

“Electronic wills are coming, whether lawyers like it or not,” blared a recent Forbes Magazine headline. The tone implies this is a definite “don’t like” for Florida estate lawyers. There is truth to this, but not for the reasons one might presume. Fort Lauderdale estate attorney

Electronic wills, or e-wills, are boilerplate legal documents purchased online, electronically signed and for a fraction of the cost of visiting an estate planning attorney. (These documents also exist for things like Florida power of attorney, health care power of attorney and even prenuptial agreements, but each is a separate discussion).

The presumption is estate attorneys may have their feathers ruffled that potential business is going to a bot. However, the real reason so many Florida estate attorneys are concerned about the prospect of widespread e-wills is their potential for serious error, abuse and fraud.

The worry is that this could lead to a substantial uptick in otherwise preventable Florida will contests (where the validity of a will is challenged on grounds like undue influence, fraud, lack of capacity or lack of formalities). Objectively by comparison, estate planning services are generally less expensive-time consuming.  Continue reading

There are copious amounts of information available online about do-it-yourself estate planning. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should, the same way it’s always a bad idea to represent yourself in court – even if you’re an attorney. This is not a leaky shower repair you may be able to amble your way through – this is your financial future, and the best means you have of keeping yourself and your loved ones out of probate litigation. probate litigation attorney

Although reason it’s better to have something than nothing at all (64 percent of Americans don’t have a will – 55 percent of those being parents), the fact is if you are not experienced in handling these types of complex legal matters and anticipating certain contingencies, you may end up creating even more of a mess. Far too many people underestimate the complexity of their estate. It goes beyond simply divvying up the contents of a bank account. Everything – from identifying an executor or trustee to updating your beneficiary lists to gifting money to minors – all of these things require careful consideration.

Drafting your estate plan should come only after a well-thought-out estate and financial plan. If all you do is “fill-in-the-blanks,” that is not reflective of such a process. Further, one size does not fit all, and you also need to be sure that the document you have completed meets all the requirements for what is valid in your state. For instance, F.S. 732.502 requires two witnesses to properly execute a will in Florida, while Pennsylvania requires three. Further, these witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator and each other, which generally requires a self-proving affidavit. Usually, it’s the drafting attorney who signs these affidavits in your presence, but if you do-it-yourself on the internet, you won’t have this option. Continue reading

Hopefully as you enter the new year, you aren’t grappling with a financial hangover due to the holidays. Regardless of where you stand, the new year is a good time to take stock of your finances and make sure you have a strong estate plan in place, not only for your own security but that of your family. Many of the disputes that arise in Florida probate litigation can be headed off with proper estate planning to start. estate planning attorney

One of the primary reasons people avoid estate planning is because they erroneously assume it’s something reserved for the wealthy and maybe the elderly. The fact of the matter is, pretty much everybody has an estate and people tend to underestimate the confusion or even animosity that can arise among surviving loved ones regarding the contents of that estate. That includes the care and well-being of any young children you have, should something happen to you and your spouse.

A review of your estate planning documents may not sound like a particularly festive way to being a brand new year, but it is a smart one. You’ll want to make sure that your will, trust and powers of attorney still comply with your wishes. And if you don’t have these in place, it’s time to make it one of your resolutions to do so. Continue reading

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