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Boca Raton Estate Planning, Probate & Real Estate Blog

Tips for keeping solo agers happy and safe

An essential part of estate planning is determining how to pass wealth and assets along to a spouse, children and grandchildren. However, some choose not to have children or outlived them. Another common option is children are unavailable or incapable of taking care of the parent. Once their spouse passes or they divorce, these older individuals become what retirement experts call “solo agers.”

Risks that solo agers face

Disclosure obligations when selling property in Florida

The laws regarding property transactions vary from state to state. While some states leave it up to the buyer to do their due diligence, either on their own or with help from inspectors and other professionals, Florida sellers must disclose any known defects. Based on a case from 1985, this law is not a new one, but many may not be aware of it.

Separate from the standard contract used for real estate transactions, realtors have a standard form that covers many of the property’s potential issues or characteristics that the buyer would generally want to know about before closing the deal. Typical areas that it covers include:

How to avoid probate proceedings in Florida

Probate can be an expensive and time-consuming process in Florida by dictating when, where and how to distribute a person's assets after their death. Surviving family members and other interested parties can trigger a probate process over the distribution of the deceased person's estate.

However, many people do not take advantage of the steps that are available to avoid Florida probate. Each estate is different and what works best depends upon many factors. Still, there are four basic ways to avoid probate:

Recognizing signs that a loved one may need a guardian

Being a guardian isn’t something anyone should take lightly. It’s a lot of legal and moral responsibility to care for someone else’s well-being.

Unfortunately, sometimes a guardianship is the best way to protect a loved one. But how do you know when a family member might be vulnerable, and in need of guardianship?

What do you need to set up a guardianship for a parent?

If your parent has developed a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, their property and personal savings are vulnerable. Someone could take advantage of them or their property.

If you think if you can help them by making medical and financial decisions on their behalf, you can become your parent’s legal guardian. This can be your chance to take care of them as they once took care of you.

Managing family dynamics when estate planning

Many people are uncomfortable talking about money, even when it is with family members. So, it makes sense that a recent survey determined that 80% of a polled 130 financial advisers stated that navigating family dynamics or relationships was the most complicated part of estate planning. The report added that common mitigating factors included multiple marriages and blended families.

Clients not talking with family

How to pick the right real estate agent

The largest single transaction most Americans make involves the buying or selling of a home. This makes it essential to have the right real estate agent, particularly when the clients are snowbirds who live in other parts of the country for part of the year. According to Forbes, the number of real estate agents is forecasted to grow annually by 6% through 2026, which means there are going to be more choices.

The right real estate agent understands the needs of the client and provides insight and support throughout the process to ensure that good deals do not fall apart. The wrong real estate agent is one who does not understand the intricacies of the market where a client is looking to buy or sell, and they can even delay or allow deals to fall through due to incompetence or too many priorities.

Estate planning issues for the recently widowed

It is common for wives to live longer than their husbands. According to a CNN report, the difference now averages five years, with men living to 76.1 years and women living to 81.1 years. So a wife will likely live for a time without their husband.

It also is worth noting that an estimated 85% of baby boomer women claim they lack the financial planning skills to make the right decisions, and 56% leave all financial decisions to their husbands when he was alive.

Is Aretha Franklin’s handwritten will valid?

The legendary Aretha Franklin died last August, leaving an estate worth an estimated $80 million. At the time, her lawyer said that there was no will, which prompted the singer’s four sons to battle over money and control of an estate that will continue to generate millions of dollars well into the foreseeable future.

Then a search of her suburban Detroit home in May of this year yielded wills, one dating from 2014 and two from 2010. Some papers were found under the pillow of a couch, while others were in a locked cabinet.

Transferring digital assets to loved ones

People are starting to hear the phrase “digital assets” more often, but many do not know what they are. Digital assets can be anything in the digital format, but these are usually things of sentimental value (photos, social media accounts, or email accounts) or assets that have financial worth (Bitcoins or digital currency, intellectual property, reward points on credit cards or airlines, or web sites that generate income).

The same but different

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