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Pensacola Family & Estate Planning Legal Blog

Will substitutes can be assets in Florida estate planning

Having a well-rounded estate plan can mean the difference between angst and peace of mind for loved ones and other beneficiaries. A will is an important component of estate planning in Florida; however, there are some substitutes that can be used when it comes to property. This type of property can be transferred without being probated.

There are different types of will substitutes when it comes to property. Property can be held in joint tenancy or a living trust could be set up to allow a property like a cottage or income property to sidestep probate. There is also tenancy by entirety for married couples in which the co-owner of the property has a right of survivorship, so the property is automatically transferred to the spouse upon the death of the other owner. The same can be accomplished between individuals who are not married through a tenancy in common with right of survivorship.

Making divorce less painful for high-worth couples in Florida

A businesswoman has taken it upon herself to try to ease the pain of marital breakups. She is the CEO and founder of a website/app that aims to make divorce easier on couples, including high-net worth couples. This may be of help to Florida spouses who are finding going through a divorce to be a miserable experience and who may need assistance organizing their affairs. 

The service she is offering is not meant to be competitive, but rather to be a tool for people going through a divorce and for other professionals who help them. The site offers tools such as worksheets to take stock of assets and debts. It also gives family and relationship information based on a set of questions it asks users; allows for easy calculations of family income and living expenses -- something that is required for alimony payments and child support. 

Does collaborative law work for high-asset divorces?

Thanks to media coverage of high-profile divorce cases, it may appear that divorce among the wealthy means thousands of dollars spent on litigation that lasts for years. This costly, lengthy process brings out the worst in the parties involved.

Perhaps you have heard of alternative methods, specifically collaborative law. You want to try it but you are unsure if it works for divorces with numerous, complex assets. The good news is that the collaborative approach can be effective for high-asset cases.

Does a single mom have to name dad on birth certificate?

Not all birth certificates include the name of the child's father. Many people in Florida may believe that it is a parental responsibility to name the father; however, what many people don't know is that the father has to be in agreement with his name being on a birth certificate if the couple aren't married. He also has to sign the certificate on which he's named.

There could be a good reason why the father should be included on a child's birth certificate. It may actually be in the best interests of the child. For example, if the child's father dies, the child could possibly receive death benefits from Social Security. What it doesn't mean is that it would be easier for the father to obtain custody of the child since he could petition for custody at any time, based on the child's best interests, even if he's not on the birth certificate. Paternity, of course, would have to be formally established first.

Estate planning: How Hurricane Florence and old age are similar

Hurricanes can be devastating and so can old age, if plans haven't been put in place for care. Estate planning in Florida should encompass the possibility that residents may need special attention in their advanced years. Many Floridians don't take the time to plan for the unforeseen. People don't like to think about negatives and so they don't plan for them, which is a grave mistake.

As with a hurricane, people are warned to prepare for impending catastrophe yet many turn a blind eye and choose to do nothing. So many people don't have the documents necessary in preparation for the future. These can include wills, advance care directives and health care proxies also known as powers of attorney. If a person can no longer make decisions on his or her own behalf, these documents are necessary for another to be able to do so.

Florida estate planning may involve splitting heirs

When someone writing an estate plan has more than one beneficiary, it can prove to be a challenge on how to divide assets equally among them. For Florida residents who are thinking about estate planning, they should know there is a way to think about who should get what, especially when it comes to children. There are times when the word equal doesn't quite fit the family's personal situation.

For instance, if one child has special needs, that child is likely going to need more to see to his or her care. Along the same lines, if one child has contributed more to the dynamic by looking after elderly parents, perhaps that child stands to inherit a little more as well. It all depends upon each unique situation. Parents may also decide to give more to a child who has been less financially successful than another. In any case, communication about these issues is key to ultimately maintaining peace in the family.

Parental responsibility: Dealing with parenting plan changes

The old adage "change is the only constant" is very true in many regards. Parenting plans of divorced Florida parents and the parental responsibility that comes with these plans are essential for the well-being of children alternating between two households. These parenting plans often need to be modified in keeping up with life changing and growing children.

These modifications don't have to cause problems. It's almost to be expected since children grow up quickly and their needs change. On the other hand, when there are far-reaching changes like a change in custody, a plan would likely need a major overhaul. But when changes are minor, so too are changes apt to be to the original plan. 

Served with divorce papers in Florida, now what?

Perhaps you and your spouse had discussed the possibility of divorce, but neither one of you made a legal move. Now, however, you have been served with divorce papers in Florida and are wondering about the next steps.

It is critical that you make your first moves in the most expedient way possible. While you do not want to rush your decision-making, you also need to understand the clock starts ticking once you receive the divorce papers, so you do not have any extra time to waste. The divorce process begins now.

Florida service member rights when it comes to divorce

Divorce can touch people of all ages, socio-economic backgrounds and career paths. Military personnel in Florida who are married are not immune from breakups, and there are service member rights in place when it comes to the divorce process. The military looks upon divorce as a civil matter and will only become involved when contentious issues involve pay, benefits or property.

When it comes to identification cards, a military member can't stop his or her spouse from using a military family ID. To do so may involve a larceny charge. It is only the U.S. Congress that decides who can and can't use a military ID card, not the military member who is the sponsor of that card. Once a divorce is final, however, the former spouse is likely to lose the card unless the couple had been married for at least 20 years or the sponsor had been in the services for 20 or more years and is entitled to a pension or if there was a 20 or more year overlap of the service and the marriage.

Parental responsibility: Divorcing without scarring the kids

Children are very receptive to emotions, and many are like little sponges soaking up the energy around them. Parental responsibility when Florida couples are divorcing is for each parent to act in a civil way around the other so that, even though the marriage has come to an end, children still feel like they're part of a family. There are ways in which to act so that divorce doesn't leave life-long emotional scars on kids.

More than one million children's parents divorce every year in the United States. That's is a huge number of children affected by their parents splitting up. When parents can be honest, yet loving, with their children -- allowing them to process their emotions -- children may much more easily come to terms with what's going on. When children are kept out of any trauma their parents are experiencing, chances are the divorce won't impact them all that negatively.

  • The Florida Bar| Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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Meador & Johnson, P.A.
900 N. Palafox St
Pensacola, FL 32501

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