William A. Johnson, P.A. William A. Johnson, P.A.
Probate And Elder Law Services In Brevard County
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Melbourne, Florida, Trust, Estate Planning And Probate Law Blog

Updating your will is necessary throughout life

As you age, one of the most important things to do involves taking care of your estate plans. Updating your will regularly is a vital part of estate planning. If you've recently moved to Florida, you will need to address changes to your will as soon as possible.

Updating your will is a small step that has lasting implications on your estate. It likely took you hours upon hours to create your will the first time, so it would be horrible to find out that your will didn't hold up in court in later life because you didn't update it. That's why an update is so important.

Long-term care an affordability issue

No one likes to think that they will be unable to care for a loved one should they require assistance in the late stages of life. Unfortunately, without a solid plan in today's society, people may have to make sacrifices in order to afford care. One woman shared her story and strategy for survival while paying for her husband's assisted living. Folks considering long-term care in Florida may glean some useful information from this woman's story. 

The man developed dementia and his condition made it so that he required assisted living. The couple could not find an assisted living home that took Medicare, nor could they find a nursing home that would take him as a dementia patient. Consequently, the woman needed to pay out of packet for her husband's care. After utilizing his retirement, Social Security and aid payments she was left with only a few hundred dollars per month to take care of her own needs.

Trust administration attorneys can help with choosing a trustee

Important legal documents should be prepared with care and understanding. A living trust is no different. When creating a trust, one should weigh the important question of who should become the successor trustee, knowing that the position comes with heavy responsibilities. In Florida, while it is certainly possible to go through the trust process without a lawyer, trust administration attorneys are also good resources for this legal process. 

Usually a family creates a living trust as a way to pass on the estate to the next generation and avoid the probate process. The two spouses are typically the trustees, and when one spouse dies, the other takes over. In the event of the death of both spouses, a successor trustee must be named or the trust will enter the court system. 

Estate planning lawyers can help with the basics

There is no reason why the end-of-life affairs have to be a complicated, stressful concept. Everyday estate planning really boils down to a few simple steps. Don't be put off by thoughts of complicated documentation. By acting now it's possible to prevent hardship for oneself and others down the road. For Florida residents, knowing a few simple facts can help, even before contacting estate planning lawyers

When considering estate planning, the first item that comes to mind is the will. The will is where a person bequeaths their property at the end of life. Before an estate can be distributed in this manner, a will must go through a court process called probate. There are ways to avoid probate, and one of those ways is to establish a trust. When a person avoids probate, they streamline the estate process, preserve privacy and save money. 

Putting your home in a trust can help avoid probate later

If you want to create a trust, then you may already be familiar with a trust's benefits. It protects your assets and also helps your beneficiaries avoid taxation. All kinds of assets can be in trusts.

If you'd like to pass property on to your children without having them go through probate, a trust can help with that. The trust can also minimize how much your children would pay in taxes. However, remember that there are some complicated tax implications if you want to use the home while it's in the trust.

Estate tax can be avoided with proper planning

In 2013, certain laws about end-of-life assets were permanently altered. The threshold for estate tax was increased, meaning that most individuals will not be responsible for paying such taxes. Other high-asset individuals, including many Florida residents, have options available to them to reduce the amount of taxes paid on their estates at the end of their lives. 

At the time of the law change, taxable estates up to $5 million became exempt from the estate tax. Those above $5 million could then be charged, up to the maximum rate of 40 percent. Today, a person's estate would have to be at $5.49 million of above to be subject to the 40 percent rate. If a person is married, then that number is doubled.

Long term care expectations differ for Hispanic population

Culturally, many Hispanics are intent on maintaining the home environment for their elders as they age, a recent study shows. A recent poll shows that the Hispanic population has less confidence in long term care facilities such as nursing homes and that families tend to prefer to keep their loved ones at home. Some Florida nursing homes are taking a more attentive approach to the needs of this population in an effort to gain trust. 

A poll conducted by the The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that the Latin American population is not confident in the ability of nursing home facilities to meet their needs. Less than 20 percent of those surveyed expressed a high level of confidence. The study indicates that these individuals tend to expect services from home health aides that include transportation to appointments, grocery shopping and bill paying -- services that are less commonly provided by health care professionals. 

Melbourne, Florida: Estate planning documents save grief

Some people may think that they can secure their estate simply by letting their wishes be known to their friends and family. Unfortunately, this informal method does not supersede governmental laws and policies regarding wills and guardianship. One recent news article tells more about how having estate planning documents in place in case of emergency can prevent a lot of unnecessary confusion later. Individuals in Melbourne and other areas of Florida may find this information helpful as they consider their end-of-life planning.

It is hard to think about one's own mortality. Some people like to avoid it and do not put plans into place before the inevitable happens. But putting off the creation of necessary documentation puts one's family at risk if things change unexpectedly. Parents especially should consider the well-being of their children and make a formal plan for their future. Without a formal document, the state takes over in the event of a person's death and will choose the fate of the children and/or any assets. 

Individuals can settle their own special needs trust with new law

Recent changes in legislation now allow disabled individuals more freedom to spend and save money without jeopardizing their Medicaid. A person in Florida can now choose to settle his or her own first party special needs trust without the aid of a representative. A recent news article gives some background information about special needs trusts and some information about the new change in the law. 

A special needs trust (SNT) is a trust set up to allow a disabled person to save money and hold assets, and continue to receive Medicaid and other government assistance. There are several types of special needs trusts, including first party, third party and pooled trusts. Each type of SNT has its own set of guidelines and attributes.

Melbourne, Florida: An estate planning checklist

End-of-life planning can be made so much simpler by keeping a few simple steps in mind. One does not have to be intimidated by estate planning, or feel that estate planning is simply for the very rich. The concepts of estate planning can be broken down into easy-to-approach chunks, and it is likely that many people in Florida intuitively have already begun to address this type of planning already. Those individuals in Melbourne who are ready to start estate planning may possibly wish to consider the following estate planning checklist. 

The first, somewhat unofficial, step is to create a master directory. This directory serves as a collection of information about assets, liabilities, accounts, passwords and any other information that may be helpful for a person to know after another person's death. Another step one can take is to designate beneficiaries on any insurance, retirement or bank accounts. A person can then choose to draft a will if desired. Another consideration is to name guardians for minor children so that they are cared for in the event of a death. 


William A. Johnson, P.A.
140 Interlachen Road, Suite B
Melbourne, FL 32940

Phone: 321-426-1865
Fax: 321-242-8417
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