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Boca Raton Estate Planning, Probate & Real Estate Blog

The benefits of an irrevocable trust

A grantor can design a trust in many different ways to fit the needs of a family. One common estate planning tool is the irrevocable trust. As the name indicates, irrevocable trusts generally cannot be modified once it is finalized, at least not without the permission of the trust's beneficiaries.

Often used in conjunction with other estate planning tools, the irrevocable trust legally removes assets from the grantor's estate so that they are not taxed annually or upon death. Along with tax advantages that a revocable trust does not provide, an irrevocable trust can shield assets from creditors and control payment schedule to the beneficiaries.

Petty family settles dispute over estate

The music world was shocked when Tom Petty died of a prescription drug overdose in 2017. None took the news harder than the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s widow and two daughters from a previous marriage. In the months that followed, there were million-dollar lawsuits and countersuits as the three fought for control of the estate and determining how to create the trust outlined in the estate plan.

The widow, Dana Petty, was put in charge as outlined in the estate plan as the temporary director of the trust, but daughters Annakim Violette and Adria resented that Dana was making decisions without their input. While the widow took a more business-like approach, the daughters’ choices seemed more erratic and emotional. This led to the widow not funding the new Tom Petty Legacy, LLC. She was also concerned that the daughters would have a majority vote, which left her powerless to protect the estate from bad decisions made by the daughters.

HOA orders family to take down decorations

A letter from a homeowners association to a family in San Antonio made national news in mid-November. The letter directed the family to take down their Christmas decorations that they put up on November 1, asking, “please remove the snowman until closer to the holiday season.” The letter did not specify when would be a more appropriate date.

Planning ahead

What makes a will valid?

Creating and executing a valid last will and testament is a vitally important act with far-reaching consequences. It is a final gift to loved ones, or it can be a tremendous benefit for a worthwhile charity. More than exercising good intentions, it is essential to draft a will that is legal, proper and thoughtful. The way to ensure that there are fewer or no issues in probate is to execute the will properly.

5 necessary procedures for a valid will

Buying rental property has its advantages

Investors are always looking for opportunities that have significant earning potential and a minimal amount of risk. With so many hot tech stocks or some other cutting-edge investment making the news, some have forgotten how lucrative and reliable real estate can be here in Boca Raton and the surrounding area. Reasons for this include the strength of the real estate market. Demand for new larger spaces is high, while smaller properties are still doing well.

Real estate investing makes sense

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.

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