It is always difficult to think about what will happen to the people you love if you should pass away. It is important to have a plan for how your property and assets will be passed on after your death, especially if you have children or family that needs to be financially taken care of. If you do not plan appropriately, your property will be distributed according to Florida state law as opposed to being distributed according to your wishes. The Coye Law Firm can help you avoid such messy probate issues by meeting with you and discussing all of your estate planning wishes in a personalized consultation.
If you want to ensure your property and assets are distributed according to your wishes and that you are prepared for a possible terminal condition or for your own incapacity, call the attorneys at the Coye Law Firm, we can help you the process of planning your estate.
The loss of a loved one can be made more difficult when you have to navigate through the complicated probate court system in Florida. Coye Law Firm is here for you and your family as you go through this difficult personal and legal time. Probate administration can add to your stresses while you and your family grieve, but by calling a probate lawyer, you can concentrate on being with those that you love.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process in which a deceased person's property is collected and passed on after his or her death. The probate system can be very complicated and daunting and an estate needs to be probated regardless of whether the deceased left a will or not. The probate process consists of petitioning the court and having a personal representative for the estate named. The probate attorneys of the Coye Law Firm can help with every aspect of probate no matter how difficult it may seem.
Probate is sometimes an agonizing necessity for many families after the loss of a loved one. We have found that many probate matters are relatively routine and if the estate was well organized with information about assets and debts readily available and family members in relative agreement, the process is efficient and smooth for most everyone. The problem of course comes when the loss is sudden, the financial matters a jumble, and significant conflict among family member is occurring, time and money are spent to sort things out.
How to Save Time and Money on Probate
Contrary to popular belief, you can save time and money on probate. The obvious is having the necessary documents well organized with lists of assets and bills. If everything is organized and all beneficiaries are involved in the process timely signing the necessary documents, the months that many probate cases take can be shortened to a matter of weeks.
Additionally, solid decisions about real estate and other assets that may take time to sell are needed early in a probate matter to prevent loss of value. for instance, if you are inheriting a house but it needs to be sold, the steps to getting a house ready to sell quickly may be unfamiliar. Often times an elderly person may have delayed necessary repairs, in some cases may have neglgected to maintain insurance on the property, then when they pass, if no one is occupying the home, it can sometimes be difficult to obtain appropriate insurance coverage on the property. Moving quickly to preserve and protect assets is an important part of the administration of a persons estate.
A will is a legal document written to ensure that a person's possessions or responsibilities are taken care of according to their wishes after their death. Unfortunately, many people operate under the assumption that they are too young or have no need for creating a last will and testament. Writing a will is the best way to secure your wishes are carried out in the event of sudden death. Florida law has its own system for distributing a person's assets in case a last will and testament doesn't exist, but it might not be the way you intended on having your property distributed.
At a certain stage of life, it becomes necessary to think about what will happen in the event of your death. Grieving families shouldn't have to deal with a legal battle if their loved one didn't indicate what they want done with their home, children, etc. Especially if children are involved, a will can be the best way to avoid a painful and drawn out settlement of an estate.
The 12 Basic Elements of Creating a Will:
1. Testamentary Intent Clause
This section outlines the person's general information. It states their full name, the county and state in which they live, and a statement that says the following document is their most recent, and therefore only legal, will.
2. Identification Clause
This clause indicates the members of the person's immediate family, such as their spouse or children.
3. Personal Effects
This section outlines who receives your personal property at the time of death. Items such as jewelry, furniture, clothing, or collectibles are assigned to certain people in this section. Provisions can be added regarding whether or not a spouse is alive at the time as well. For example, you may want your wedding ring to go to your daughter whether or not your spouse is alive at the time of your death.
4. Real Property
Real property includes homes or other pieces of property. It is important to consider whether there is a mortgage, foreclosure, or lien on the property before leaving it to someone. Also, if there is any personal property used commonly with or to maintain the property, such as on a farm, it is wise to leave it to the same person or with the property itself.
5. Residuary Estate
All items left over, such as small personal property not deemed important enough to include in the will, are given to someone or an organization in this section.
6. Survival Clause
This section discusses what will happen if two spouses die at the same time. When considering the execution of one of their wills, this clause says that their spouse is considered to have died first if the order of death cannot be determined.
7. Taxes and Expenses
There are many costs that come with executing a will upon a person's death. This section outlines how those expenses will be handled and by whom.
8. Appointment of Personal Representative or Trustee
This section describes who will execute the will or who will become responsible for a trust if there is one.
9. Appointment of Guardian
When choosing a guardian, it is important to consider the rest of the will. Perhaps you'd like one person to be in charge of your personal property and taking care of your children. This section is vital if the person has children who are minors.
10. Fiduciary Powers Clause
This section details how responsible the executor of the will must be. For example, if they are responsible for transferring ownership of a house as dictated by a will, they can't neglect it or let it become damaged.
11. Testimonium and Attestation
This is a small section where the author and witnesses to the will attest to their responsibilities.
12. Self-Proving Affidavit
Florida law dictates that this section be included in a will. Without it, witnesses can be required for the execution of a will and often times they can be hard to locate.
As you can see, there is a lot of important information that must be included in a will. They are most often written in legal terms and can be confusing for people unfamiliar with this type of language. Additionally, filing the appropriate paperwork and obtaining signatures can be exhausting. A personal consultation with an estate planning lawyer can help to ensure that your wishes are published in the most accurate and complete way, ensuring that they will be fulfilled after your death.
Contacting the experienced legal team at the Coye Law Firm can put you and your family at ease when it comes to writing a will. Conflicting or contested wills may leave you with a complicated probate case, and you need an experienced estate planning attorney to sort through the information.
Some injuries are so sever that they leave a person unable to make decisions affecting the way they will continue living. Injuries to the brain or irreversible illnesses can make it impossible for a person to communicate their opinion in regards to their personal health care. Tough decisions such as these can be avoided by creating a living will. Discussing your wishes with a probate attorney at the Coye Law Firm can secure them legally and in writing.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is a person's declaration that directs their health care if they were to succumb to a terminal condition. These wills discuss a person's wishes in regard to providing, withholding, or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures such as water or a feeding tube. A living will can be stated in writing or orally, as long as a witness attests to the event.
What Do Living Wills Contain?
Specific circumstances or situations can be mentioned in a living will, or the person's philosophy regarding health care treatment can be outlined. Medical personnel can carry out a living will, or a health care surrogate can if one is designated. Two forms of a living will can be created to ensure that all circumstances are covered and your choices are secured.
Living wills, as in all aspects of estate planning, rely on careful consideration and legal prowess to safeguard your choices. Without a living will, difficult decisions can be left up to family members who are already grieving a serious injury.
Call the Coye Law Firm to schedule a meeting with an attorney to discuss your options in creating a living will.
When people or organizations manage property or money for another person's benefit, it is called a trust. Trusts are important aspects of estate planning because the arrangement not only leaves money and property to another person, but it is then managed by a trusted person in a specific way. The arrangement can be a living trust, a family trust, or specified for another beneficiary.
Creation of a Trust
Trusts are created by people who have sums of money that they wish to be used in a certain way after their death. For example, instead of leaving a large amount of money to a charity, creating a trust can ensure that the money be given to the charity in monthly or yearly payments. A trust must clearly identify intention, subject matter (money or property), and those who will benefit. The following paragraphs outline who is involved in a trust and what their duties are. Trusts can be created separately or in a will.
There are three roles involved in a trust, they are:
Who is the Trustee?
The person who is put in charge of managing the trust is called the "trustee." The trustee should be someone who is trustworthy and has the best interest of the beneficiary at heart. This person is held to a high standard through the law. They have many duties, including:
to administer the trust in the interest of the beneficiary
to deal honestly in the administration of the trust
to act impartially if there is more than one beneficiary in the trust
to control and protect the property in the trust, if any
Some trusts are created for children in the event of a parent's death, and if large sums of money are left to be managed, it is crucial that they are handled responsibly. Trust attorneys can help you decide who to appoint as a trustee.
Who is the Beneficiary?
The person who is receiving or will receive the benefit of the trust is called the "beneficiary." Beneficiaries can be children, charities, or any other party that a person deems worthy of their money or property. Family trusts often designate children as beneficiaries. The language used to designate a beneficiary is important to consider. For example, parents may want their child to be given property held in the trust upon their 25th birthday or graduation from college. If these rules are not outlined, then the trustee might not execute the trust in the intended way.
Who is the Testator?
The creator of the trust is called the "testator." This person may want to create a trust for the reasons outlined above or many others. Creating a trust also gives you:
"spendthrift protection" in case the beneficiary wants to spend all of the money at once
the opportunity to plan for when and what type of taxes will be incurred on your money
privacy; the terms of a will are public once filed with a court, but trusts are not.
Trusts can be a beneficial and sometimes integral part of estate planning.
If you have more questions about trusts, call our office to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Life insurance helps protect an individual's loved ones from financial burdens in the event of death. People have many different reasons for buying a life insurance policy. Parents may purchase one to protect their children or older individuals may buy one to prevent their family members from having to pay their debts. No matter what the reasons may be, the decision to buy life insurance should not be taken lightly. Review policies to guarantee that your needs are going to be covered.
A life insurance attorney at the Coye Law Firm can help you determine the potential expenses and benefits of a life insurance plan. Additionally, our life insurance lawyers will fight for your rights as a consumer should a dispute arise. The following page is meant to give an overview of life insurance coverage in Florida, but there is no substitute for meeting with us. Call today to schedule a meeting with an experienced life insurance lawyer.
Types of Life Insurance
There are three common types of life insurance. These include:It is important to consider your own and your family's needs when deciding what type of policy to buy. For example, term life insurance can be purchased to cover only 5 years of one's life. Whole life insurance, on the other hand, covers the policyholder until death and builds cash value that can be borrowed in the form of a loan. Universal life insurance combines both of these features, but can be risky.
The Florida Department of Financial Services has a brief guide to buying life insurance. It explains the differences among policies and which may be best for you. A more complete guide issued by the state is available here .
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners also has a guide to buying life insurance.
An Attorney's Help
Insurance policies can be some of the most important investments that individuals make. However, disputes over benefits or other terms can occur. The insurance attorneys at the Coye Law Firm are experienced in insurance disputes and resolutions. Our insurance law firm examines policies and communicates with companies to protect the interests of policyholders and consumers. If you are trying to negotiate with your insurance company, it is vital to have the experienced legal representation that the Coye Law Firm offers.
Your life insurance plan can have an affect on the amount of taxes you pay. The funds paid to an insurance policy may be taxed differently and it is important to know how the payments are classified. If you are considering a life insurance policy, a tax attorney at the Coye Law Firm can inform you of financial obligations beyond the policy's payments. Our attorneys are experienced in tax matters in addition to insurance and provide comprehensive legal advice.
Insurance policies are designed to protect your interests. However, a few companies take advantage of the fact that consumers are worried about their futures. Some insurance policies become little more than a scam and consumers lose money. If you have questions about an insurance company's financial strength, visit the A.M. Best Company's website. This company analyzes the insurance industry's strength in areas such as life, health, and property insurance. You can also use the search engine at the Better Business Bureau's website to verify that a company is upstanding and honest in their policies. If you have been the victim of a fraudulent insurance policy, call the Coye Law Firm immediately to pursue justice.