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

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. 

Florida: Estate planning tips

Everyone likes to have a few tips and tricks to consider when they approach a new, serious project. Estate planning is no different. In Florida, many people use a lawyer to help them navigate the world of estate planning, but it is possible to glean some information from the internet in order to be better prepared for the big day with an attorney. A recent news post shared a few tips and tricks for estate planning.

The first item of consideration is the universal need to plan an estate. Some may think that they do not need an estate plan simply because they are not wealthy. But the fact of the matter is, most people have at least some assets, like a home and personal property, and a few family members to whom they wish to leave their items after they pass on. If one has minor children, or elderly parents, an estate plan can help arrange for their care. 

Long-term estate planning tips for Florida residents

When it comes to planning estate needs, most Americans either deny or delay making these important decisions. By spending a few hours preparing now, individuals can save themselves worry and discomfort in the future. There are a few simple tips that can help with long-term estate planning that individuals in Florida may find useful in their care planning journey.

First, a person will want to do an inventory of what they have and what help is available to them. That person can then take the list of physical assets and savings and think of ways to maximize them. Another important step is to consider other aspects of senior care, including financial, legal and emotional needs. It is important to do the research, but people should know when to consult with a professional in order to avoid getting confused or led astray.

Trust administration and revocable trusts in Florida

The legacy one leaves behind can be managed in a variety of ways. Some opt for the traditional will, and others decide that a trust is the right choice for their needs. A revocable trust is a type of trust that allows the grantor to alter or revoke the trust should circumstances change. In Florida, trust administration is enacted by the trustee. A recent new story tells more details about one type of trust, the revocable trust. 

The revocable trust allows a creator the right to revoke or amend the trust during his or her lifetime. Upon the creator's death, the designated successor trustee takes over the trust administration, who must administer the trust according to its terms. The trust contains instructions for the distribution of assets much like a will. 

Don't forget to review and update your will at least annually

Many people think that they can write out a will and get an estate plan together, then forget about it. This isn't anywhere near the truth. Instead, you need to review your estate plan at least annually.

On top of the annual review, there are other instances that will require you to check your will. Knowing what should trigger an estate plan review can help to ensure that it accurately represents your current wishes. Here are a few to consider:

Estate and probate administration: No electronic wills in Florida

A technological advance is put on hold for the moment in the Sunshine State. Florida governor Rick Scott has vetoed the Electronic Wills Act. Citing vulnerabilities in the legislation, he encouraged the legislature to work on a more suitable bill. For now, estate and probate administration will be handled the traditional way in Florida,  using in person notaries and witnesses. 

The proposed law aimed to harness the power of electronic technology to assist in the witnessing and notarization of wills in order to increase access to will administration. The law also contained language that electronic wills of residents and nonresidents could be probated in Florida. Scott viewed the latter issue as something that could potentially cause an overload to local court systems. 

Estate planning lawyers can simplify advanced directives

Making plans for one's estate is a complicated process that some people in Florida and elsewhere choose to avoid. However, considering how such plans can allow a person control over important matters once he or she is incapacitated and unable to communicate, it might be worth a consultation with estate planning lawyers. A recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety indicates that doctors are often confused when reading advance directives of patients. Because of that, it might be smart to use the guidance of skilled legal counsel when drafting such directives.

Advance directives serve the purpose of spelling out a patient's wishes related to saving his or her life. Doctors need to understand a patient's wishes when cardiac resuscitation or other procedures are necessary to save his or her life. If a patient suffers a serious stroke or becomes unconscious, instructions on advance directives are invoked.

Is my will invalid because I moved states?

You have long wanted to take a trip to Florida, and after you visited, you just knew that you needed to move there. You're excited for this new adventure in your life, but you know there are many legal documents you may need to change. One of those is your will.

When you move to Florida, updating your will is important. It helps guarantee that it follows the Floridian laws and requirements. For example, Florida requires a self-proving affidavit in a will, which some other states may not.


William A. Johnson, P.A.
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Melbourne, FL 32940

Phone: 321-426-1865
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