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Orlando Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Who can you name as a guardian in Florida?

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As you prepare your estate plans, one thing you may have to consider is the need for guardianship. A guardian is a person with the legal right to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so for yourself. The guardian can make decisions on finances, care or both. The guardianship can have a limit on power if you desire.

Guardians are most beneficial when there are children involved, whether they are minors or adults with special needs. However, guardianships are also useful if you become incapacitated due to an accident, medical condition or aging. Whom you name as guardian depends on your circumstances, the duties you want the person to have and Florida law

Consider a trust when disinheriting a child

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Estate planning involves numerous steps and variables, and what works best for one family may be quite different from what would work best for yours. For example, while others may have easy decisions about who is to get their assets when they pass on, and when, you may have concerns about leaving part or all of your estate to children whom you may not fully trust.

Maybe your child struggles with a drug or alcohol addiction, or perhaps you simply do not believe he or she is responsible enough to manage a large sum of money or considerable assets.

Getting married? Do not forget to do your estate plans

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If you are getting married, one thing you do not want to overlook is estate planning. It may not seem like an ideal time for you to tackle estate planning, but it is never too soon for you to plan for the future.

You want to spend the rest of your life with your partner. You never know when circumstances may change and leave you incapacitated or take your life. 

Essential estate planning steps for new parents

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If you are a first-time parent, your days may be full of feedings, snuggling and learning new processes. Sleep is more than likely hard to come by, and you may well feel as if you are going about your day in a bit of a fog.

Given everything you have going on, it makes sense that other essential tasks, such as estate planning, may fall by the wayside. As a new parent, however, it becomes more important than ever that you have certain arrangements in place with regard to your affairs, and there are some steps that are best not left until a later, less busy time. For example, as a new parent, it is highly advisable that you consider:

Heirlooms can have value beyond just sentiment

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If your family is like many others, you might have grown up with elaborate tales of keepsakes passed down through the generations. Maybe you have an artifact from a family member's service in a foreign war. Perhaps a beautiful ring has been in the family for decades. You know that these items have obvious sentimental value, but you might be surprised to learn that there is potential monetary value, too. 

A story in the Washington Post details a family who discovered this for themselves. A ceremonial key passed down from the Coast Guard was mistakenly given away, only to be rediscovered and restored to the family. If you have valuables that you care about, consider the following tips.

Do you need a living will?

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If you are under the age of 50 in the Casselberry area, chances are you are still working on amassing your fortune. You may have all sorts of plans in place to help you achieve your goals. Because you are just starting to hit your stride in life, you may not feel the need to tackle estate planning at this time. But that does not mean you should not. 

No matter how young you are, estate planning is a crucial aspect of life that you do not want to overlook. Do not wait until some unfortunate event happens that leaves you unable to make decisions for yourself. Here is why you should have a living will in place until you can get around to creating your estate plans. 

Estate planning for women (It's different)

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Estate planning is important for everyone, but there are some unique considerations for women, and you are likely to have distinct needs to address. Regardless of your net worth or marital status, you must make decisions today to protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones. 

But why is estate planning different for women? Read below for an analysis of how life expectancy, work history and custody of children impact estate planning considerations.

There is no crime in not leaving your adult kids a dime

Some older parents in Florida struggle with the notion of leaving their adult children inheritances. After all, their kids may be financially independent and have modest means to support themselves and their families.

You may want to do other things with the legacy you have worked so hard to create, such as leaving it to charities, other less fortunate individuals or even your pets. Regardless of what your intentions are, keep one thing in mind: you are under no obligation to leave your adult children a dime. 

Don't forget to fund your trusts!

You may have spent a great deal of time setting up your estate plans to provide for your family when you die. But if you forget to fund your trusts, all your hard work may be in vain.

It is a very common mistake that many people in Florida make. When you fail to properly fund or set up trusts, all assets and proceeds meant for your family must pass directly through probate first. 

What is a competency hearing?

When other provisions are lacking in estate plans, a testator may need a guardian to make financial and/or health decisions in his or her behalf. If the person voluntarily decides to appoint one, then no formal court hearing is necessary. However, if the person has not named a guardian, and you feel that one is necessary, you can take steps to establish an involuntary guardianship to protect your loved one.

The guardianship process in Florida entails a competency hearing to determine if the person is truly incapacitated and in need of a guardian, as opposed to a less restrictive option.

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