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Articles Posted in Elder Law

By Phil Rarick, Esq. and Jacqueline Bowden Gold, Esq.,  Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorneys,with special thanks for comments  by Rick Stockton, Esq. of Holland & Knight, a primary author of the Lawgic Florida Wills and Trust program.

Editor’s Note:  The following is a public service Alert from Rarick & Beskin, P.A.  This firm does not offer  or recommend Remote Online Notarization Service providers.

As previously reported, Florida’s new Remote Online Notarization law became effective January 1st of this year for all documents except for wills, trusts and other testamentary instruments, that becomes effective July 1. See Florida’s Remote Online Notarization Begins January 1.

by: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the world as we know it and presented daunting challenges we have not encountered in our life time. It requires a total review of your estate plan and business entities to assure you are taking full advantage of Florida laws designed to protect your family and business.

The hard new reality: What plan was best for you prior to 2020 may not be what is best for you today

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold, Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Don’t make the mistake of drafting your own Will and estate plan to save money. With general forms available and online companies that claim to walk you through the “easy” drafting process, it is common to fall prey to their low-priced services. As a Florida Probate and Medicaid Planning attorney, I see the harmful after- effects of “do it yourself” wills:  high legal fees to clean up ambiguities and sometimes open warfare among the family because of lack of clarity regarding the decedent’s true wishes.

For other common mistakes not discussed in this article read:  5 Common Mistakes with Do It Yourself Florida Wills.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Asset Protection Attorney

If you have never checked Florida’s web site for lost accounts and abandoned property you should do so – immediately. You may be pleasantly surprised!

You may think that it is not possible that you have any “unclaimed” property held by the State of Florida – and you could be wrong.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Probate Attorney

Florida’s 30% elective share law was completely rewritten in 2001 because the old law could be easily circumvented by placing assets in a revocable trust or using non-probate transfers (e.g. life insurance, IRAs etc.)  In an effort to curtail such tactics, the legislature overhauled the statute and broadened the share.  The result is an expansive elective share that sweeps into the decedent’s “elective estate” many non-probate assets.  See F.S. §732.201 —§732.2155.

What Is Included?  Florida’s  elective share statute retains the 30% share under prior law, but introduces the concept of the “elective estate” (sometimes referred to as “augmented estate”)  that consists of the following property interests under F.S. §732.2035:

By Phil Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Hard to believe we are in mid-Fall and 2016 is coming to a close.   Now may be a good time to sit down with a Miami trust attorney and review your estate plan.  One of the biggest problems we see with individual estate plans is failure to keep the plan updated to ensure that it continues to meet the changing needs of your dynamic family. Here is a short checklist:

  1. Marriage/Divorce.Has there been a marriage, divorce, or separation of anyone named in your will or trust – such as your adult children or grandchildren?  Most persons want to ensure that their hard earned money goes to their children – or grandchildren –  not to any spouses.

Checklist for Amending your revocable trust

Checklist for Amending your revocable trust

Note: Your revocable living trust is designed to be as dynamic as your family.  It serves as the master set of instructions to care for you and your family.  Therefore, when there are big changes in your family, you may need an experienced Miami trust attorney to amend your revocable trust.

______#1. Marriage/Divorce.  Has there been a marriage, divorce, or separation of anyone named in your will or trust?  If there has been a marriage of an adult child (without a prenuptial agreement) you may need to amend your revocable trust to make sure monies designated for this adult child are protected.

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden, Miramar Estate Planning Attorney

As of October 1, 2015, Florida’s Healthcare Designation laws, provided under Chapter 765 of Florida Statutes, have changed providing more flexibility for the person appointing the surrogate, formerly known as the “principal.”

Three Options.  Currently, for a healthcare surrogate to make medical decisions, the attending physician must evaluate the principal’s capacity. If the physician finds the principal lacks capacity to make medical decisions, then the surrogate is permitted to review medical records and make medical decisions. Under new legislation the principal now has three options to choose from:

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