ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUSTS-HOW CAN I PREVENT PROBATE COURT INVOLVEMENT?
As a probate, trust, and estate planning attorney, I get many calls relating to these matters. Some of them are troubling as the situation could have been prevented with proper estate planning. For example, a mother called me to ask if I could do a probate for the family. Her son had died and left no will and a house that the mother was living in and bank account. The mother had paid for the house and put it in the son’s name. He was in the process of getting divorced, but was not yet legally divorced. As there was no will or trust and no children, the Florida probate statute for intestacy controls this matter and the soon to be x-wife will most likely get the house.
ESTATE PLANNING-HOW COULD THIS SITUATION BEEN PREVENTED?
Proper estate planning could have prevented this situation. The decedent’s mom could have bought the house and placed it in her trust to go to her son in the case of her death. By putting the house in her son’s name, it becomes a questionable asset now for the impending divorce and certainly upon her son’s death.
ESTATE PLANNING-WHAT ARE THE FABULOUS FIVE?
1) A Revocable Trust- A trust prevents probate and guardianship court proceedings if done properly. A trust allows you to state at what ages your kids or loved ones can inherit. A revocable trust can be changed at any time and is a forever evolving document. Real estate and bank accounts can be placed into the trust and if sold, can be removed from the trust at the time of the sale.
2) A Pour Over Will- This document is similar to a regular will, but is more protective. It goes with a trust and moves assets into trust with probate court approval when something was left out of trust. For example, a newly purchased apartment. This document also states burial or cremation wishes and related matters.
3) Power of Attorney- This is used in the case of incapacity and can either be limited or general.
4) Health Care Surrogate-This document states who makes health care decisions for you if you are unable. This is very important as we want to prevent the Terry Shiavo case situation. Terry was on life support for many years while her husband and parents fought in a court battle.
5) Heath Care Directive-This document allows for the person to state their health care preferences while they are capable and healthy.
WHAT ARE OTHER ESTATE PLANNING TOOLS?
There are many other estate planning tools. There are irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, and tax saving vehicles. These are an investment in time and money to create and are only needed in certain circumstances.
WHY SHOULD I USE ALLY GLASER, PA?
As an Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Attorney in Miami Beach, Florida, I have over twenty years of experience and handle these matters with the sensitivity they deserve. My psychology degree, law degree, and years of experience allow me to handle all clients with the care they deserve. Call or email me today to get started on your personalized estate plan or probate matter.