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Miami Estate Planning Law Blog

What is a charitable trust?

As a Florida resident who is figuring out how you want your estate distributed, you may also be looking into the possibility of setting up trusts. Today, the Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L., will discuss the option of setting up a charitable trust.

If you have ever hoped to leave behind some or all of your assets to charity, then this is the option for you. A charitable trust allows you to place a set of assets into an account for a specific charity organization. This organization will be able to hold and manage the assets within this trust for a predetermined period of time. They also get to keep some or all of the interest accrued by these assets in the time they hold them, as decided by you.

What are the requirements for a valid will?

As someone considering how to pass on your assets, it is important to know that certain types of wills are not considered valid in the state of Florida. Today, we will take a look at the steps that you must take in order to ensure that your will is considered valid in the eyes of the law.

FindLaw examines the requirements for a valid will in Florida. First, you must be of 18 years of age or older upon its creation. Emancipated minors can also create a valid will. However, anyone who writes a will must be proven to be of a clear and sound mind at the time of its creation regardless of their age.

Estate planning tips for couples without children

Many couples in Florida and other states are opting not to have children. In addition to simply not wanting to be parents, couples have concerns about global instability, their parenting skills and their finances. But just because a couple decides not to have children, this does not mean that they should not think about estate planning.

Couples who decide not to have children still need a will. They need to decide where their assets will go if they die simultaneously, perhaps in an accident. Of course, if one spouse dies, their assets go to the other spouse. However, if neither individual has a will and they die, it is likely that the case will go to probate court, and then it will be decided who in their family should inherit their assets. It's much better for a couple to make their wishes known.

Why estate planning makes sense for young adults

People often view the preparation of wills or trusts as something that older estate owners in Florida need to do. While this is true, everyone should consider estate planning as soon as they reach adult age. Even if a young person does not have any assets, official documents that name agents to handle financial affairs and address health care decisions might spare relatives from the delay and expense of petitioning a probate court.

Anyone who possesses assets might want to prepare a will and possibly a trust. Potentially, these documents will not be needed if the estate owner's assets can pass to other parties via joint ownership or beneficiary designations. However, it's wise to get a legal evaluation before making assumptions about asset transfer. Modern times have also introduced the concept of digital assets, which testamentary documents may address. Anything from a blog to a Facebook account might require estate planning so that an heir can control or terminate digital accounts.

A look at the legality of holographic wills

Florida state residents have several options when they are looking into creating a will. However, it should be done with care, because even one mistake could potentially invalidate it. In fact, some types of wills are completely invalid even if done correctly, such as a holographic will.

The Free Dictionary defines a holographic will as one that is entirely handwritten, dated, and signed by the testator. This applies to any will that is handwritten, including things that don’t resemble a “formal-looking” will. As an example, a holographic will could be a letter, diary entry, or even a note scratched onto a pad of paper.

Wills have executors, trusts have trustees

When a loved one passes away, people in Florida who have been named as executors will often have a lot of questions. Typically, a person will name an executor with a provision in his or her will. In cases where the estate is to be distributed primarily by means of a trust, the person responsible for overseeing the distribution will be named in the trust as the trustee. Either way, the person named has financial duties to the estate and the heirs or beneficiaries.

If the estate is a complicated one, it might be a good idea to simply hire a professional executor or to solicit the advice of a professional to assist with the administration of the estate. It is also advisable to seek professional assistance if the heirs or beneficiaries are likely to be unreasonable. An attorney might be able to help the person navigate the probate process in such cases.

Planning your estate for your unique assets

In a recent article about Florida timeshares and estate planning, we looked at one of the most commonly contentious assets in the probate courts. We believe that a practical and well-maintained estate plan has the power to turn these types of potential problems into assets that distribute seamlessly to your beneficiaries.

At the Law Offices of Frye & Vazquez, P.L., we know that there is no single solution that works for every family. Wills may work for some individuals, for example, but not in every case. Some operate small businesses. Others have interstate holdings.  Others have complex assets, such as artworks and heirlooms, that do not facilitate an even split between beneficiaries.

Passing a timeshare to your heirs

Timeshares are often an excellent way to maintain vacation homes for a fraction of the price of purchasing or leasing a condo. However, many people in Florida have discovered that these properties are sometimes difficult to sell when no longer necessary.

One of the more unfortunate circumstances is when a parent or grandparent leaves an unwanted vacation property in an estate without making specific provisions on its distribution or its sale. It is often possible to avoid this type of circumstance with a relatively small amount of preparation.

Putting wills, trusts together

When making estate planning decisions, many people might wonder whether a will or trust is better. However, these are different tools for estate planning and are often needed together to ensure one's wishes are met after passing away. Florida residents might like to know more about using wills and trusts when estate planning.

Most estates typically rely on one tool more than the other when having both a will and trust, so it may seem like the document used less is not necessary. Depending on a grantor's needs, one or both tools might be necessary.

Estate planning when a child is disabled

Parents of special needs children may wonder how their sons or daughters will be cared for after they pass. Fortunately, there are steps that Florida residents and others can take to make sure that family members with disabilities are accounted for in an estate plan. The first step in the process is to create a letter of intent. In this letter, individuals can provide a list of medications, passwords to financial accounts and anything else that could make caring for a disabled family member easier.

An estate plan should also include a will, trust and power of attorney. The will can help to ensure that money and other assets can be distributed in a timely manner and with as little interference as possible. Special needs trusts can be structured so that a disabled individual can have access to financial resources without jeopardizing his or her government benefits.

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • I have known and worked with Austin Frye and his team since 2008. In that time he has helped serve both my business and personal legal planning needs. From guidance on reviewing and keeping shareholder and state documentation up to date... - Robert
  • It is difficult enough to cope with the emotional challenges of closing a parent's estate, and when you are also faced with the issue of your parents having insufficient documentation, and being remote from your siblings… - Zara L.
  • Austin Frye provided legal services to my father while alive and to his estate after his death; when showing the EP docs his firm prepared to other professionals (lawyers, financial advisors, accountants)… - Mark S
  • I've been a client of Austin Frye's for over 10 years. In that time, he's handled my estate/trust planning and asset protection as well as complicated business deals. - Leslie
  • Mr. Frye recently set up a complicated special needs trust for my son and, as usual, did a great job explaining it and in putting our minds at ease about our son's future well-being. - Dr. Howard
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