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Boca Raton Estate Planning, Probate & Real Estate Blog

What should not go in a will

It is usually best to be as comprehensive as possible when drafting legal documents related to estate planning or other areas of law. However, there are certain types of property or arrangements that should not or can not be in a will.

Recognizing what should and should not go into a will helps with the probate process. It also better ensures that the decadent's wishes are honored.

A living will and health care surrogate can work well together

A living will and a health care surrogate designation are both advance directives that can help make sure someone’s preferred medical decisions are made, even if he or she cannot make them. Because both documents serve a similar purpose, many people only choose to include one of them in their estate plan. However, the two documents provide the most coverage when they can work together.


Important things to know about community associations

Many who move down here to Florida experience many things for the first time. While it may not be at the top of the list, having a community or homeowner association as part of a new home in a planned community may an adjustment. Twenty percent of properties in the U.S. have these organizations attached to them, but that number skews much higher here in Florida. These organizations are designed to spare the owner of a single-family home, condominium or townhouse of certain obligations while also ensuring specific standards that members believe maintain quality of life and property values.

Some owners, however, may bristle under the rules and regulations that come with these associations. There is also the not so small matter in some cases of fees that help pay for common areas' upkeep, structures, and exteriors. Memberships bind owners to certain covenants, conditions and restrictions - which means the owner may not be able to paint their front door red or park their RV in the driveway or yard.

Delays during probate are common

The loss of a loved one is rarely easy, particularly if the death was unexpected. Ideally, the decedent worked with a knowledgeable estate law attorney to draft a will, trust or other estate planning tools, but even with this planning, however, the probate process here in Florida can become delayed.

The family may find themselves wrapped up in a probate process that takes on a life of its own, becoming a process that drags on for many months or years. The reasons for a delay will be varied and likely tied to unique nature of the estate.

The value in starting an estate plan when you’re young

You’re all for preparation, but if someone were to recommend you draft an estate plan, you might laugh. After all, you’re in your twenties, and in the past few years alone so much has changed about your life. You’re far more focused in the day to day than you are in what lies in the far future. What’s more, estate plans and wills are all typically made by the elderly, right? After all, these are people who’ve been saving for decades.

This is a common misconception when it comes to estate plans. But there is no prerequisite for planning for your future. Think of an estate plan as a safeguard for your future, no matter what you own. You don’t need to own a house to take it seriously.

Selecting the right guardian for older adults

As older adults' lives wind down, their physical and mental abilities decline. Cooking, cleaning and other daily tasks often become a burden, which leaves those responsibilities in the hands of their children or other caretakers. As the role reversal continues, many older adults or their children decide that helping around the house is not enough and that a responsible adult needs to be the parent's legal guardian to take on financial responsibilities and make health care decisions.

Being a guardian requires a lot of legal and moral responsibility. Older adults and their family members must consider who is available and reliable enough to help the ward through the end stages of life, if they become incapacitated. If no children are able to become the guardian, the family must explore other options.

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?

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