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Articles Posted in Trust Law

By Phil Rarick, Weston Estate Planning Attorney

You and your spouse are finally going out for the evening.  The babysitter, a  high school  student,  has arrived and you are loading the young woman with last minute instructions:  time for bed, make sure the kids brush their teeth, books to read little Tommy, etc, etc.   What is ironic is many such fretful parents leave more instructions for their babysitter when they are out for a brief night out than they do if they would suddenly die.

Many parents have life insurance to provide for their spouse and children.  What is missing here is that life insurance without detailed instructions could mean that your son or daughter gets a windfall when they turn 18 and then proceed to blow it on a hot car and high living – your dream of them getting a quality post high school education is up in smoke.

You will miss this deadline if you do not read carefully – and you may need a magnifying glass to find it.  Within the past two weeks you should have received in the mail a “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” or “TRIM Notice” from your county property tax appraiser.  Buried at the bottom of your  Notice in small print is an important deadline for appealing your tax assessment.

Clearly, the county does not want to encourage you to appeal your property taxes.

Note these deadlines:

By:  Phillip B. Rarick, Weston Estate Planning Attorney

In 2008 Florida passed an amendment to our Trust Code designed to allow a Trustee to use trust funds to pay legal fees incurred in defending a breach of trust litigation without prior court approval, so long as the Trustee gave notice to qualified beneficiaries of its intent to do so.

On its face, Florida Statute, F.S. 736.0802(10), seems to give the Trustee access to Trust funds to defend itself, but on closer examination, it creates a potential conflict of interest sandtrap.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.,  Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Within the past week, the Florida Department of State began sending notices by email to all persons with interests in Florida corporate entities, such as LLC’s, corporations, and limited partnerships.  These reports are due May 1, 2019 and there is no waiver of the $400 late fee if you miss this deadline.

The official Florida web site  at www.sunbiz.org has “Consumer Notices”  to alert you to bogus web sites that try to scam persons who file these reports.

By Phil Rarick, Esq.

May the odds be with you – but frankly they are not:

  • A recent study indicated that the average lawyer can now expect three legal malpractice claims during his or her career.

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, Estate Planning Attorney

______#1. Successor Trustee. This is the person you have appointed to step into your legal shoes if you become incapacitated – in other words, one of the most important estate planning decisions you can make. Who have you appointed to take charge if you are incapacitated? What is the order of succession of trustees? If you have any question whatsoever about your order of succession, please call the office at (305) 556-5209.

______#2. Asset Protection. Do you have any rental real estate that is in your individual name or an S corporation? Do you have a single member LLC? This is low hanging fruit for any potential creditor, and likely needs to be protected by placing the property in a multi-member LLC (limited liability company) or LP (limited partnership). Do you know which assets you own that are protected and which are exposed? If not, we can help analyze this important issue.

Does A Trust Need to Be Recorded, Filed or Registered in Florida?

One of the most common questions I get as a Weston estate planning attorney is, do I need to record my living trust? Some persons believe that a trust needs to be publicly recorded like a corporation or a deed. This is generally wrong; not only is recording not required or needed for most trusts, in most cases recording would negate one of the chief benefits of a trust: confidentiality. Let’s look at more specific questions.

Does a Living Revocable Trust Need To Be Recorded During the Life of the Trustmaker?

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