Estate Planning

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Ladybird Deeds

A ladybird deed is a simple way to transfer real estate through a deed to a beneficiary when you die. You retain your property during your lifetime then the real estate goes directly to a beneficiary without having to go through probate or administering an estate.

This deed is only allowed in certain states such as Florida. The problem arises when the person named in the deed predeceases the grantor. It is similar to a pay-on-death bank account for real estate matters.

Last Will and Testament

What is a Last Will and Testament? A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator or testatrix, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property at death.

Residuary estate is if there is anything left in the estate. It falls into the residuary estate.

It is also important to have a wipe-out clause in case everyone that has been close to you over the years is no longer living than where would you like your assets to be distributed.

Executor Duties

To ensure that your Estate is settled as you wish, you must appoint a trusted Executor. Your Executor should be a family member or friend who is emotionally and intellectually willing to work with an attorney to do things such as:

  • Take an inventory of your property and assets
  • Settle your debts
  • Pay applicable taxes
  • Distribute your Will as you have designated
  • Prepare and file specific documents with the local Court in the county where the decedent resided

These are all tasks a local attorney who practices estate planning and probate can offer assistance. Nonetheless, your Executor must be up for the job - and able to manage the sometimes high emotions of family members or other designated beneficiaries who may disagree with your wishes.

Revocable Living Trusts

The Benefits Of A Revocable Living Trust

Why should your family have to pay an attorney a fee to collect money that already belongs to them?

Our firm believes that a living trust is truly the finest final gift you can give your heirs and, at the same time, give yourself complete peace of mind. That is because a living trust:

  • Avoids probate along with the tremendous costs and lengthy delays of the probate system
  • Prevents guardianship after mental or physical incapacity
  • Can change or modify any of the provisions at any time
  • Is very secure and almost never contested
  • Avoids ancillary probate when you own property out-of-state
  • Allows immediate distribution to your heirs and is perhaps the single most important benefit of a trust
  • Maintains control of your assets, even if incompetent or even after death; you never lose control
  • Eliminates federal estate taxes if you are a married couple with an estate of up to $22.4 million
  • Assesses no settlement fees to your heirs when they take over management of your estate
  • Is very inexpensive and economical when compared to the high costs of probate created by the use of a will
  • Provides smooth and continuous management over your estate

A Revocable Trust is created to help a person avoid probate when he or she dies. The beneficiaries do not have to go to court and assets can be more easily distributed to the beneficiaries. In addition, everything is not known in court and able to be obtained through the public record. So, there is an added element from a revocable trust than from a Last Will and Testament. A Last Will and Testament is important to give directions to a personal representative, but it does not provide an ability to give distribution of assets without having to go to court.

In addition, a revocable trust allows for beneficiaries and minor children to get the assets at designated times and not all at once, unless a testamentary trust is created. However with a testamentary trust, probate would still need to be administered.