Blog Archives

Do I Need a New Estate Plan When I Move to Florida?

A common question from new Florida residents is whether they need to change their existing estate plan from another state.  Generally it is not necessary solely for legal effectiveness, but more often than not there are other reasons that make updates worthwhile.

A Will that was validly executed in another state is generally effective in Florida so long as it is in writing and signed by the testator. 

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Posted in Estate Planning Law


Stages of Estate Planning

A common misconception is that estate planning is only for the wealthy.  In fact, there is substantial benefit to estate planning for people in all stages of life.

For young adults, it is important to give someone authority to receive medical information and make medical decisions if they cannot. 

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Posted in Estate Planning Law


The Importance of Early Planning

One practical but often overlooked benefit of beginning your estate planning sooner than later is the legitimacy that it can lend to your final documented wishes.

Exploitation of elderly individuals, whether by family or otherwise, has become common enough that many view estate plans made late in life with suspicion. 

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Posted in Estate Planning Law


Laws of Intestacy

If you die without a Will you are said to die “intestate.”  In that case, the laws of intestacy apply to distribute your assets as follows:

First, if you are married when you die your surviving spouse will receive:

  1. the entire estate if (a) you leave no children,

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Posted in Estate Planning Law
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Who Needs a Trust

Trusts were once the cornerstone of most estate plans, due largely to tax planning when the estate tax applied to estates of $1,000,000 or less.  Now, where a person can leave more than $5,000,000 free of estate tax, Trusts are not always necessary.  However, Trusts still provide a great degree of flexibility and long term control that simply cannot be matched by a Will alone.

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Who Needs a Will

In general, we recommend that everyone has a Will.  However, more specifically, there are a few situations where a Will is particularly important:

  1. If you want your assets to go any way except by the laws of intestacy.  Generally this means to your spouse, then your children,

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Posted in Estate Planning Law
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Changes to Designation of Health Care Surrogate

Effective October 1, 2015, the Florida Health Care Surrogate Act is amended to make two important changes:

  1. A Designation of Health Care Surrogate can be effective immediately, allowing a designated surrogate receive health information, make health care decisions, or both.  Previously, the Designation was only effective following a determination of incapacity by two physicians. 

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Posted in Estate Planning Law


Homestead 3 Ways – Part 3: Devise and Descent

Homestead is found in 3 different contexts under the Florida Constitution: (i) taxation in Article VII, Section 6; (ii) creditor protection in Article X, Section 4(a) and (b); and (iii) devise and descent in Article X, Section 4(c).  This post follows my post on taxation and my post on creditor protection,

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Posted in Estate Planning Law, Real Estate Law


Homestead 3 Ways – Part 2: Creditor Protection

Homestead is found in 3 different contexts under the Florida Constitution: (i) taxation in Article VII, Section 6; (ii) creditor protection in Article X, Section 4(a) and (b); and (iii) devise and descent in Article X, Section 4(c).  This post follows my post on taxation and brings us to creditor protection.

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Posted in Estate Planning Law, Real Estate Law
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Homestead 3 Ways – Part 1: Taxation

I have encountered a lot of confusion lately regarding the import of the term “homestead” under Florida law.  At its most basic level, homestead is a Florida resident’s primary residence.  Designation as homestead, however, carries several important benefits and burdens.

Homestead is found in 3 different contexts under the Florida Constitution: (i) taxation in Article VII,

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Posted in Estate Planning Law, Real Estate Law
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