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By Phil Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Naming a minor child as a beneficiary of a will, life insurance policy, IRA, 401K, bank account or any other source of fund is almost always a substantial mistake for four reasons:

  1. If the funds are over $15,000 a guardian ad litem may need to be appointed by the court for the minor to access the funds upon death or disability of the parent. See F.S. 744.301. Court costs to petition the court and secure such funds on behalf of the minor could estimate from $3,000 to $5,000.

You will miss this deadline if you do not read carefully – and you may need a magnifying glass to find it.  Around the last weeks of August  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 or exemptions.

Note these deadlines:

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold

It is no surprise that Florida is different from the other 49 states.  (Exhibit A: Google “Florida Voter Recount”)  What is confusing to some probate attorneys outside the state – and many within the state –  is our unique Procedure for “Probating” Homestead Property.   Pursuant to Florida Statute 733.607, protected Florida homestead property is not considered a probate asset, so why does it usually require a probate proceeding?

First, we must define what is homestead. Homestead is real property, of no more than 160 contiguous acres outside a municipality, or no more than one-half of an acre of contiguous land in a municipality, owned by a natural person, and the improvements on it. Art. X, §4(a), Fla. Const. In addition, to qualify for homestead it must be the decedent’s primary or permanent residence prior to death and the property must be owned by a natural person.

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold

Our very own, Miami Lakes Estate Planning attorney Jaqueline R. Bowden-Gold, was recently featured on Porch.com as an expert contributor. In this article, Will And Estate Planning: Advice From The Experts, Attorney Bowden-Gold answers what can be considered the most important part of your estate plan, How do I leave specific items to specific heirs?

Leaving specific tangible items can be simple, yet perhaps the most important part of your estate plan. This is your chance to leave your legacy or family heirlooms to the right people. In Florida, the easiest way is to prepare a Last Will or Living Trust with an incorporated Memorandum of Tangible Items (“Memorandum”).

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 & Bowden Gold, 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: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold, Miami Lakes Estate Planning Attorney

When preparing an estate plan everyone plans for distribution or preservation of their assets to make sure their minor child, adult child or families are taken care of. People often overlook planning for the event of being mentally incapacitated and asking this important question: What if you are just not available? Covid-19 has given people a new perspective with the overwhelming amount of hospitalizations. Front line workers are often forced to make the difficult decision of being separated from their minor children to avoid them contracting the virus.

Now more important than ever every parent should plan for guardianship of their minor children.

by: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

We have been helping small business owners survive and thrive – in good times and bad – for over 25 years. Here is how we may be able to help you in this current challenging business environment.

1.    Contract Review and Force Majeure. A Force Majeure clause is a standard clause in many contracts. If you have a contract you are trying to get out of – or the reverse – if you have a person trying to nullify performance under your existing contract the interpretation of the “Force Majeure” clause will be a determining factor.

by: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

Here is the good news/bad news I received from my bank today regarding my Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application:  The good news:  your application has been approved; the bad: the SBA is out of money and you must wait for Congress to refund the program!

Although I have heard of a few small businesses that have received funding I am guessing that most persons reading this letter have encountered similar frustrations. Note: if you have received funding, please so reply.

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

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