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estate planning Archives

Estate planning does not have to be an expensive process

Dying without a will in Florida and other states is called being intestate. A person who dies with a will is said to have been testate. However, it may be said that a person already has a will, but it is one that was drawn up by the state in which the person resided at death. That is because, if one dies intestate, the state has already engaged in a bit of experimental estate planning on the decedent's behalf; each state has a set of intestate laws that dictate to whom and in what percentages the decedent's assets are to be distributed when there is no will.

Estate planning and legacy planning join for greater fulfillment

Estate planning is a vital service for Florida residents, but it is often viewed as a dreary subject dealing solely with what happens after death. Many people tend to put off estate planning for the very reason that they do not wish to dwell on that inescapable end-of-life event. Truth be told, the process actually involves far more in lifetime benefits to the person than that narrow perspective would indicate.

How to manage digital assets in estate planning

The internet is becoming increasingly ingrained in daily life, yet many people don't consider what will happen to their online assets and accounts after they pass away. For many Florida residents, estate planning should include a clear online of what should happen to digital properties should one become incapacitated or pass away. This includes listing online accounts, providing passwords and naming an individual to manage these digital assets.

Estate planning may include instructions for final arrangements

In Florida and elsewhere, funeral arrangements and similar details are not usually included in an individual's will. Such matters are secondary to the legal issues contained in the will, and it can be problematic to include such information. Furthermore, the will is often not obtained and read until after the funeral so that it is counterproductive in estate planning to use the will to convey information about funeral, religious services or burial instructions.

Estate planning through a professional precludes costly mistakes

Florida baby boomers and their nationwide counterparts are currently engaging in a massive transfer of wealth as they pass on their assets to the younger generations. The increase in the lifetime federal estate and gift tax exemption is facilitating that transfer and creating a favorable environment for keeping substantial wealth within the family. However, in a country where more than half of adults don't have a will, the failure to engage in basic estate planning can be a costly miscalculation.

Estate planning after a divorce is important for many reasons

Many estate planning attorneys, including here in Florida, recommend that their clients who have completed a divorce action should meet with the attorney after the divorce to go over various important planning issues. One important reason is that a thorough review of all beneficiary designations is critical at that point in time. Many policies and pay on death accounts may still have the former spouse's name on them as the beneficiary. Other factors may contribute to the need to review the estate planning landscape. 

Strong estate planning can maximize the value of one's assets

Florida estate planning encompasses setting up a plan to assure generally the maximum use of one's assets during life and the distribution of assets to the right people after death. In that context, one's estate consists of all real estate, personal property, investments, savings, insurance, retirement accounts and any businesses. Here are a few tips to get started in the right direction. Keep in mind, however, that there are numerous legal complexities that make this a process best executed in cooperation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Estate planning considers various options for the best outcome

One thing that should at least be considered when planning one's estate in Florida and elsewhere is the possibility of avoiding the probate process altogether. It is worth evaluating such a strategy due to the arcane and time-consuming procedures and requirements often still found in many state probate codes. When something takes a long time in the legal system, it can also cost more in monetary expenses. Estate planning should at least evaluate whether there will be significant delays or uncertainties that probate may cause to one's beneficiaries.

Estate planning should provide for the handling of digital assets

In Florida and all other states, estate planning for a business is a necessity. An estate planning program can minimize estate taxes, direct the disposition or continuation of a sole proprietorship, and develop a buy-sell agreement between multiple owners. Those are basic planning issues for the business owner. Complications can arise with respect to digital assets, however, which is an evolving and sometimes unclear legal landscape.

Living trusts and wills serve separate uses in estate planning

In Florida many people do estate planning through living trusts and others make a will to distribute their assets after death. The two are different types of legal instruments that generally serve different purposes.  The trust is an estate planning technique that deals with the owner's assets during life. The assets are placed in a revocable living trust by the owner.

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