William A. Johnson, P.A. William A. Johnson, P.A.
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Melbourne, Florida, Trust, Estate Planning And Probate Law Blog

Improve generational wealth through estate planning communication

Accumulating wealth can be difficult. Maintaining that wealth is also a fairly troublesome task. Business owners and other high net worth families in Florida often struggle with ensuring the continuation of their wealth from generation to generation, but this does not necessarily have to be the case. With careful estate planning and open lines of communication, families can better ensure generations of ongoing wealth.

According to The Williams Group, approximately 70 percent of high net worth families lose their wealth in the second generation. By the third generation, 90 percent of families have said goodbye to their wealth. Although all families are unique and there are likely many different factors at play, The Williams Group found that there were three primary causes -- breakdowns in familial trust and communication, unprepared heirs and other issues such as tax or legal problems.

It's time to bring estate planning into the digital age

It is hard to imagine a life before a person in Florida could update their social media only for it to be read moments later by a person on the other side of the world. Technology has certainly changed the world and the way much of society functions, but are institutions equipped to handle these changes? When it comes to estate planning, some important updates might be in order to ensure that digital assets are thoroughly protected.

Digital assets can be extremely hard to track down. Things like login information for social media, passwords to cloud storage, usernames and passwords for digital currency and so much more are not always made available to family members upon a person's death. This leaves many them unable to access things like stored pictures and valuable assets.

Want to get more organized? Don't forget estate planning

Those in Florida who made New Year's' resolutions to get their lives more organized might be overlooking an important step -- creating an estate plan. Estate planning is important for every stage of life and can help individuals better organize their assets, final wishes and more. Here are some important steps to getting better organized with an estate plan.

Before creating or revising an estate plan, individuals should first identify their goals. Is a person interested in protecting assets, creating a family legacy, establishing inheritances for heirs or something else? Once the main goal has been identified, it is easier to move on to the actual implementation of the planning.

Divorce and what it means for your estate planning efforts

An estate plan is a smart way for any Florida reader to protect his or her assets and ensure that loved ones have the protection they need in the future. While a person may have a will and other estate planning measures in place, that may not be enough. In order to have the full amount of protection, a person would be wise to update his or her estate plan after major life events, such as a divorce.

A divorce is a life-altering event, and it should also lead to changes in a person's estate plan. Failure to update a will and other estate planning documents as needed could lead to complications in the future. It is smart to ensure that an ex-spouse is not mentioned in the will and other estate planning documents, such as a medical power of attorney. It is also prudent to review other things such as life insurance policies and more.

How to settle a loved one's revocable living trust

If a loved one has recently passed away in the state of Florida, it is likely that you will be dealing with a mixture of emotions. While you will be grieving, you will also have to deal with logistical aspects of the passing. These two processes can be tough to deal with alone. It is important that you reach out to your support system for help and guidance.

One of the logistical aspects that you will have to deal with is the settling of the revocable living trust, if your loved one set one up during their lifetime. This process will be part of the general settling of the estate. It is the responsibility of the trustee of the revocable living trust to go through this process.

How can we encourage our kids to start estate planning?

Preparing an estate plan is the best way to ensure that a person's final wishes are respected and upheld. However, beyond ensuring that heirs receive their correct inheritance, is there anything more that Florida baby boomers can do to make sure that their children and grandchildren are taken care of? Some experts believe that parents might need to give their millennial children a push in the right direction when it comes to estate planning.

A 2018 study from the U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth found that 67 percent of people aged 50 or older want to invest in their kids and grandkids. However, while many people in this generation have done a great job of estate planning, the same cannot necessarily be said for their kids. When questioned by their parents, most millennials and Gen Xers report that they do not have any type of estate plan.

Yes, you can change your estate plan's powers of attorney

Selecting a person to take over financial or medical decisions in the event of an emergency or medical incapacitation is an enormous step during estate planning. However, family members fall out of favor, close friends become distant and decisions that once made sense might no longer be relevant. In such situations, Florida residents may need to revoke their current powers of attorney in order to establish new ones.

Some powers of attorney include termination dates, but this is not always the case. Many POAs are durable, meant to last and be ready in the event that an emergency or other situation arises. For financial and health care powers of attorney, most people pursue the durable option to ensure that someone will be able to make important decisions in the event of their own incapacitation.

Is it time to revisit estate planning?

Creating an estate plan is an important part of becoming an adult. However, simply drawing up a will and choosing someone to act as a health care proxy does not mean that a person's job is done. Regularly updating documents is an important part of estate planning that many people in Florida tend to overlook. Here are a few situations that indicate a person should consider updating his or her plan.

For those who created their estate plan while living in another state, an update is in order. Laws that govern estate planning are typically not covered at the federal level, so anything someone drafted while living in another state may no longer be relevant. Individuals who recently moved to Florida should make sure to update their wills, trusts, living wills and health care powers of attorney, or take the risk that these documents may be ineffective in this state.

Did Stan Lee forget about estate planning?

Florida fans of comic books and superhero movies recently mourned the death of the comic writing icon Stan Lee. Famous for the characters he created, Lee was recently in the headlines for both the movies based on his creations as well as his estate planning issues. Now, those problems with his estate plan may be coming to fruition.

Lee was 95 at the time of his death and had spent much of his last year in poor health. It is currently unclear exactly what kind of estate plan he left behind, and some are wondering if he followed in the footsteps of other celebrities like Prince and Aretha Franklin, leaving behind no plan at all. Even if he has some type of estate plan in place, things could still be difficult for his 68-year-old daughter.

After divorce, get ready to update your estate plan

Going through a divorce leaves little mental space or energy for dealing with other matters. However, this does not mean that individuals in Florida can simply ignore everything else. While it can be frustrating to realize that there is even more to deal with, updating an estate plan during or soon after a divorce is essential.

Wills are often seen as an extension of their makers, but this cannot be the case when the documents list assets that are no longer in their possession. Divorce involves the dividing of marital property, so failing to update a will might ultimately paint an inaccurate picture of a person's post-divorce assets. Heirs would probably not be pleased to learn that they will not receive an inheritance because their parent or grandparent left them something that they do not even own anymore. Adjusting how much an heir receives to better reflect divided financial accounts is also important.

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

Phone: 321-426-1865
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