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How Much Does Probate Really Cost?

How Much Does Probate Really Cost?

Many people choose to use a revocable living trust as a mechanism to avoid probate.  As I describe it, a revocable living trust is like a treasure chest because you can put your treasures in it while you are alive and still maintain complete control. The trust also avoids probate for heirs if it’s been Read More

The Real Cost of a DIY Plan

I have a lot of respect for Dave Ramsey, so I was surprised to see him endorsing Mama Bear, an online form will and trust document preparation service.  These services do not provide legal advice.  They state in the small print you consent to, repeatedly, that: “The information contained in the Site is general legal information and Read More

Wealth Transfer Strategies to Consider in an Election Year

With a push by the Democratic party to return federal estate taxes to their historic norms, taxpayers need to act now before Congress passes legislation that could adversely impact their estates. Currently, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is set at $11.58 million per taxpayer. Assets included in a decedent’s estate that exceed the Read More

Protecting Children with an Estate Plan

According to a 2019 survey, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents, such as a will or trust, despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many believed mistakenly that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.  Estate Planning is not just for Read More

TRUST BASICS: HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH A TRUST?

Trust law is state specific, and Florida Statutes Section 736.0402(1) provides certain basic requirements to establish a trust: The settlor has capacity to create a trust. The settlor indicates an intent to create the trust. The trust has a definite beneficiary or is: A charitable trust; A trust for the care of an animal, as Read More

TRUST BASICS: HOW MANY WITNESSES ARE NEEDED FOR A TRUST?

A Trust is essentially an agreement between the Grantor (sometimes called the Trustor) and the Trustees, who maintain the Trust in accordance with its terms.  I tell clients to think of a Trust as a private treasure chest or safe deposit box for assets.  Trust law is state specific, so in Florida, the Florida Trust Read More

Avoiding Probate Through Joint Ownership and the Exemption on Deeds Between Spouses

One way to avoid probate is through certain types of joint ownership or joint tenancy.  When a married couple buys a property, they own it as a tenancy by the entirety, and the property will automatically pass to the surviving spouse without probate.  Florida law was updated last year to allow for the exemption of Read More