What You Should Know About Probate

What You Should Know About Probate

Death is never easy to deal with and knowing what to expect in probate will ease your concerns and allow you to think only of your dying loved one. The definition of probate is legally settling the deceased’s property, also known as their estate. When a death occurs, the debts, property, possessions and money of the deceased will need to be dealt with in a legal manner and according the wishes of the deceased. There are few instances when probate is not needed in the event of a death. If the person is married, in most cases without a legal will, everything belonging to the deceased will be transferred to their spouse upon their death. If a will does not exist, the courts will need to ensure that all the property left by the deceased is legally distributed.

If a will does exist, the will names a person chosen by the deceased as an executor of the will. This is generally a family member or an attorney. The executor is responsible for following the instructions the deceased has written into the will and ensure that the probate process is followed as they wish.

When it comes to probate, the process will take place in what is known as probate court. What will happen during probate will depend on where you live. However, the general aspects of probate court are as follows. The entire purpose of probate is to ensure that your debts are paid and your assets are properly transferred to your loved ones. Upon the death of a person, the executor is sworn in as such. All creditors, the public and heirs are notified of the death. Then all the property is inventoried and finally the estate is distributed in an orderly fashion.

It is important that you understand there are some possessions or property that cannot be presented to the courts. A good example is a life insurance policy. If there is a beneficiary listed on the policy then this will transfer to that beneficiary. The only time this will not occur is if the named beneficiary is also deceased and no other beneficiary is named. Other types of assets and property that cannot be presented to the courts include anything that is payable upon death to named beneficiaries. These instances do not require probate because the deceased has already named who these assets are to be released to.

Knowing The Pros And Cons Of Living Wills

Knowing The Pros And Cons Of Living Wills

A living will, in essence, outlines the type of medical care you wish to include or exclude in the event that you become too ill to actually make an autonomous and informed decision. The directives may consist of your desire not to be given cardiopulmonary resuscitation in case of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

You may even indicate your request not to receive tube feeding. Then again, it would be a good idea to be informed of the pros and cons of living wills prior to actually drafting one.

Pros Of Living Wills

Since living wills are considered to be legal documents, they need to be signed in the attendance of witnesses. Some states in the U.S. even require the presence of a Notary Public during the signing session. The very obvious importance of making a living will lies in the fact that this legally binding piece of document sheds light on what you – as the patient – want to happen in case something bad occurs and you become too unwell to the point of incapacity.

The phrasing in a living will, however, is meant to be rather vague so as to encompass a wide array of circumstances. In spite of this degree of ambiguity, you would be surprised to know how difficult the situation would be if you did not have one. Needless to say, the apparent beneficiary of this legal document is none other than you – the owner/maker.

In the nonexistence of a living will, some states necessitate the appointment of a patient advocate – someone who would essentially perform the decision-making in behalf of the patient. This individual, also known as the surrogate, may be a spouse, a family member, or a significant and trusted person.

The situation may be a bit different if you have previously drafted your own living will. The indecisiveness in the air during family visits may be assuaged due to the fact that you have already summarized your wishes concerning life support and other health care measures.

In addition, it is never too early to make a living will. For as long as you have reached a legal age and have established the mental capacity to draw out one, then you can go ahead and specify your wishes for the health care provider to follow. Always remember the inevitability and unpredictability of life. It is definitely better to be geared up than to endure the consequences.

Cons Of Living Wills

The cons of living wills involve a certain number of limitations and conflicts. For instance, the vague use of terms may often lead to differing interpretations. You may perceive the directive of “no heroic measures” to encompass artificial nutrition, while a doctor may not view the phrase in that same light.

In addition, living wills only become active when a person is diagnosed of a terminal illness, or when he or she has become incapacitated. Accordingly, physicians may dispute about whether or not a patient’s condition falls under any of these valid categories.

Without the required diagnosis, the individual may continue to receive medical treatment that would have been in contrast to the directive if it were to take effect. That is why a lot of people opt to be more specific in the use of words for their living wills.

The pros and cons of living wills should always be taken into account when making one. Remember that you will only be able to improve the draft after you have considered the negative aspects of the situation, as well as the possible ambiguities in the document.

The Basics Of Estate Planning

The Basics Of Estate Planning

Estate Planning may be a word that is encountered by many citizens especially the elderly. What is Estate Planning? What benefits does it provide to people?

Estate Planning is a method of arranging and considering alternatives that will satisfy specific wishes and goals to prepare for things that may happen to a person and the people he finds special to him.

Estate Planning includes organizing properties and not just putting them in a simple Will. It also lessens the taxes and fees that may possibly be charged to these properties. Estate Planning also includes contingency preparation to ensure that ones wishes regarding health care and medications will be followed.

An estate plan may be described as good if it financially coordinates with the future of the home, business, investments, insurance and other benefits if ever the person becomes sick or will pass away. A good estate plan also sets directions to bring about personal wishes regarding health care in preparation for the when the person becomes disabled.

It is very important to identify the real definition of the term “estate” before someone can really perform estate planning. Estate means all the properties a person owns or has control of. This is regardless whether if the property is solely named after him or is in managed in a partnership. This may include real properties, accounts, bonds and stocks, cash, buildings and establishments, jewelry, collections, all types of businesses and even retirement benefits.

Typically, those who really need to have an estate plan are parents who have minor children, people who have valuable properties and have sentimental values for them, and also people who are concerned about their medications and health care. However, people can still acquire an estate plan whether they have these categories or not. As long as they have all the things that are covered by an estate plan, then they can avail of it.

While a person is alive, it is important to prepare an estate plan and at the same time implement it. This is the perfect time for a person to perform and have legal capacity to come up with a contract. There may be challenges that could occur if an estate plan is implemented when a person is already disabled. Others may judge the lack of capacity and the person may be prone to fraud, abuse and coercion.

Estate Plans may include wills, power of attorney for health care, living wills, living trusts and limited partnerships. When entering into a contract, it is very important to make use of the services of a lawyer. Lawyers are the only certified people who practice these fields. They are also the only ones who can supply a person with all the legal requirements and advice needed in the estate plan. An attorney will be able to answer legal questions regarding the estate and they will also be able prepare the person on the cost of the estate plan and other finances the come with it.

Estate Planning involves sensitive decisions and legal matters. It would only be beneficial if the person will always consult with legal advisors and also seek financial and medical advice. It is important that before a person will enter into estate planning, he should already have a strong understanding of the process so that things will not be difficult for those who will be left behind.

Florida Probate Court Information

Florida Probate Court Information

1. What is Probate?

Probate is the method by which the assets of a deceased person are gathered, creditors paid, and the remainder of the estate distributed to beneficiaries. In most Florida counties, the probate system is conducted in a specialized probate division of the Circuit Court, under the oversight of one or more probate judges.

2. How is Probate Initiated?

Although any beneficiary or creditor can initiate probate, normally the person named in the will as Personal Representative, also known as the executor in other states, starts the process by filing the original will with the court and filing a Petition for Administration with the probate court. If there is no will, typically a close relative of the decedent who expects to inherit from the estate will file the Petition for Administration.

3. Who is Eligible to Serve as Personal Representative?

A bank or trust company operating in Florida, any individual who is resident in Florida, and a spouse or close relative who is not necessarily resident in Florida are all eligible to serve as the Personal Representative. Nonrelatives who are not resident in Florida are not eligible to serve as Personal Representative.

4. How is the Personal Representative Chosen?

If the decedent had a will, the person named in the will as the Personal Representative will serve, if eligible. If that person is unable or unwilling to serve as Personal Representative, the person chosen by a majority of the beneficiaries in interest of the estate shall choose the Personal Representative. If there is no will, Florida law provides that the surviving spouse may serve, or, if there is no spouse or the spouse is unable or unwilling to serve, the person chosen by a majority of the beneficiaries in interest shall serve.

5. Is the Personal Representative Required to Retain an Attorney?

In Florida, the Personal Representative is required in almost all probate estate to retain a Florida probate attorney. Although the Florida probate forms are available to the public, these are of no use to a non attorney.

6. How is the Personal Representative Compensated?

Florida law provides a compensation schedule for the Personal Representative, based on a percentage of the assets of the probate estate.

7. Is the Family of a Deceased Person Entitled to a Portion of the Estate?

Florida law provides for a family allowance for the surviving spouse and minor children of the deceased, as well as an elective share for a surviving spouse, thirty percent of the estate, if the surviving spouse would prefer the elective share to that left under the terms of the will. A Florida resident is entitled to disinherit adult children, for any or no reason. Of course, if it can be shown that the adult children were disinherited as a result of the influence of another, they may have recourse through the probate court.

8. What Assets are Subject to Probate?

Assets owned by the deceased person are subject to probate. Assets that pass by means of title, such as real estate titled as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled as “Transfer On Death” are not subject to the probate process. Assets that pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to probate.

In some situations, however, assets that would otherwise pass by title or beneficiary designation can be subject to the probate process, particularly in the case of a surviving spouse choosing to take an elective share against the estate.

9. How is Distribution of the Estate Handled if there is no Will?

Florida law sets forth rules for the distribution of an estate if there is no will.

If these is a surviving spouse and no lineal descendants, the surviving spouse is entitled to the entire estate.

If there is a surviving spouse with lineal descendants, and all lineal descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to the first $20,000 of the probate estate, plus one-half of the remainder of the probate estate. The descendants share in equal portions the remainder of the estate.

If there is a surviving spouse with lineal descendants, and not all lineal desdendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is entitled to one-half of the probate estate, and the descendants of the deceased share the other half of the estate in equal shares.

If there is no surviving spouse and there are descendants, each child is entitled to an equal share, with the children of a deceased child sharing the share of their deceased parent.

If there is no surviving spouse and no children or other descendants, Florida law provides additional rules for distributing an estate in such circumstances.

10. Who is responsible for paying estate taxes?

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the estate tax is collected from the estate of the deceased. Depending on the terms of the will, the estate tax may be paid from the probate estate only, or also from a living trust, life insurance proceeds, and other assets passing directly to beneficiaries outside the probate estate. The estate tax return, Form 706, is filed by the Personal Representative. The Form 706 is due to be filed 9 months after the date of death.

Do you know your exact time of death? Have you any idea of how you will die or where it will take place? Uh, I didn’t think so

Do you know your exact time of death? Have you any idea of how you will die or where it will take place? Uh, I didn’t think so

When it comes to living wills, many of us have no clue where to start. This is okay of course. All it takes to begin is a little research. Do you have a laptop or some sort of personal computer handy? This is all you need. Hop online and get better informed regarding living wills. The factor that really made me consider living wills was my daughter. I had to wonder what she would do without her parents. What would happen to her if something happened to her mother and me? Where would she go? This is a very serious part of parenting that every parent should be wary of. After some deep thought, I came to the conclusion that my eldest brother would receive custody of my child if my wife and I were to perish. This made sense since he was already the father of two children, and a darn good one. Anyway, then there are the belongings aspect of it all. Where would you send your stuff? Would so and so uncle receive this and your mother receive that? This is something you’ll surely want in writing. That way there will be no feuds about where possessions go. You may want to also keep in mind that the state or government will take everything you own if you’re gone and did not specify. This is a sad reality, and a big ad for living wills.

If you are now interested in sifting through your belongings and assets, you may want to go ahead and get started today. Hop online and discover how living wills can make things less complicated after our time on earth is up. Make sure that the loved ones you leave behind will be provided for the right way and have all that they need. Contemporary living wills can make it happen.

Real Estate Training Guide- How to become a successful real estate agent

Real Estate Training Guide- How to become a successful real estate agent

Real estate training is essential for the people who want to become a successful real estate broker. It helps them to learn all about real estate business. Real estate business requires some time, some basic knowledge of the business and skill to perform all transactions. Real estate business will be one of the good carriers for a hard working person. Real estate training suggests them all the ways to achieve their goals.

License is the basic requirement to become a real estate agent. Even it is an essential thing to conduct real estate business. Real estate Internet is the best option to join real estate business. Some states provide online training courses that will help you to complete pre-license requirements. Before joining real estate business people should satisfy some pre-license requirements. They should; be of at least 19 years, be managed a proctored exam, have high school diploma or some equivalent to it, pass a state exam, have completed a least approved course.

Generally real estate training gives some guidelines to understand some real estate basics. They can easily learn about ownership transfer, real estate law and math with the help of real estate training. They are taught how to deal to with real estate transactions during their course. Real estate training enables them to understand the tips and tricks of the real estate contracts. People who want to join some state approved courses should have initial license.

Anyone can be a successful real estate agent after completing real estate training. They can run a successful business only if they have great professional habits, good salesmanship and the enthusiasm to learn more about real estate. Real estate business requires great working skill.

People can learn about real estate business with some related books. They can also join some online courses that provide information via Internet. Nowadays several people are making money in real estate business. Real estate brokers should be kind, knowledgeable, efficient as well as trustworthy. They should know the skill how to attract more customers. They can also take some suggestion from the experienced real estate agents.

Real estate business may be wonderful business but only thing that it requires real estate training.

Power Of Attorney Power Packs In A Paper

Power Of Attorney Power Packs In A Paper

The Power of Attorney is a legal document voluntarily entered into by two parties and duly certified by a notary public, usually a lawyer. The first and second party in the Power of Attorney are: the Principal and the Agent,respectively. In the power of attorney, the principal appoints the agent to perform a task in a legal capacity in his lieu.

The power of attorney empowers the agent to act upon any legal circumstance necessary of the principal, mostly if the latter cannot conduct with others, his legal affairs in person. This scenario happens in most cases, when the principal is gone from his domicile or away on a business trip for a lengthy period; or worse, if the principal is ill.

The power of attorney likens the agent as that of an employee as well as representative of the principal. Another popular term for the authorized agent in a power of attorney is Attorney-in-Fact.

The principal and agent who execute an agreement such as the power of attorney could either be an individual, partnership, or corporation. Both parties who execute the power of attorney should of course, possess legal capacity which means that parties must be 18 years of age or older and of normal mental capability.

When the principal authorize the agent in the power of attorney, the agent does act within the scope of the legal agreement. Therefore, the principal is also responsible for the acts that the agent entered into, in his behalf. In the exercise of the power of attorney, the agent is entitled to payment for services rendered and reimbursement for some of his expenses.

A most common use for the power of attorney is when the principal enters into a transaction such as the purchase of a real estate property. The agent, by virtue of the power of attorney, deals with the company, or owner of the property until the sale is consummated. Thus, the agent pays for and signs all the legal documents necessary (such as purchase application form, contract to sell, deed of restriction, etc.) for the business venture between the principal who is the buyer, and the property owner who is the seller.

Normally, the power of attorney is revocable or can be cancelled at any time. As such, the principal has only to accomplish the revocation of the power of attorney and again, have the cancellation duly certified by a notary public. The power of attorney also becomes null and void upon the death of the principal.

The role of the notary public in the power of attorney is vital and akin to a third force. The power of attorney becomes a legal instrument only if the notary public or solicitor, has certified the power of attorney to be so. The notary public then has to furnish copies of the notarized power of attorney to the concerned government agency that requires it. Thereafter, the power of attorney becomes a legal public document.

Getting the Best Deals in Attorney Services

Getting the Best Deals in Attorney Services

Sometimes, finding the right attorney and the best attorney services is not easy. There are lots of things that you need to consider. You have to think about the services you need and what specific legal expertise do you need. Your state laws for getting attorney services are also among the major factors that need to be considered. It is also a must that you know the exact specifications of the legal proceedings where you will need attorney services.

Here are some legal fields in attorney services to help you in your decision-making;

*Immigration attorney services –

If your case is related to immigration, you should get these services. You need to decide whether the immigration is employment-based or family-based. Also knowing your state laws about immigration is important in this case.

*DUI attorney services –

If you’re involved in a DUI case, you need to hire the best attorneys in town; or you might end up doing community service or even jail time.

*Social security attorney services –

If your problem involves social security issues such as medical insurance, you need to get these services.

*Criminal defense attorney services –

A good legal firm or attorney should be hired for this one.

*Divorce attorney services –

You need to find the best services in town so you can get past the humiliation of this dilemma fast

Whatever among these cases you are in, it is best to remember that you must hire an attorney who are reliable and sincere in helping you to win your case. After all, you are going to pay them and attorney services fees are mostly huge. Hence, it is just wise to get the best from what you will spend for.

Dealing with Attorney Services Fees

Speaking of fees, these are part of hiring attorneys. You need to pay them so they can give you what you expect from them. There are free attorney services but most need you to spend some amount. There are things that you have to consider when dealing with attorney fees.

Here are some;

*What fee arrangements you should use.

This will depend on your deal. You can ask your attorney on how he or she will charge you. There 3 basic arrangements for payments;

*Hourly rates – where you have to pay for the attorney services based on the hours rendered.

*Flat rate – mostly, this will include out-of-pocket expenses spent by the attorney.

*Contingency fee – this is usually some percent of what you will get from the case. You will talk about this; how much he or she will get depending on how much you will also get.

*What type of expertise is needed? When deciding about fees, the things to consider are the types or level of expertise needed in the case. Also, how much work is to be done should be considered.

How to Get the Best Attorney Services?

Being careful in choosing the attorney you will hire is crucial. First, the success of the case usually depends on how good you are represented. And second, because you are spending money here. You need to get what your money’s worth. It is best that you only hire a firm or an attorney who can give you the best attorney services. You may ask your friends or relatives if they have an attorney to refer. Referral is a good thing because you can be sure that you will get what you and your money deserve.

Don’t Let The New Bankruptcy Law Scare You

Don’t Let The New Bankruptcy Law Scare You

On October 17, 2005 the world of bankruptcy law changed for the worse. Or did it? Is it really that much harder to file bankruptcy under the new bankruptcy law?
In the run up to the effective date of the new law, bankruptcy filings increased to record numbers in virtually every bankruptcy court district in the United States. Scary terms like “means test” and “bankruptcy credit counseling” seemed to drive people out of the wood work to beat the deadline.
After the law changed, many lawyers who used to file bankruptcy under the old law simply gave up filing bankruptcies because of a perception that the new bankruptcy law is overly complicated and time consuming.
Filing bankruptcy under the new bankruptcy is a bit more complicated and is certainly more time consuming, but with effective bankruptcy counsel, successfully restructuring your debt is still possible.
One of the most feared provisions of the new law is the bankruptcy means test. The bankruptcy means test is a calculation used to determine what type of bankruptcy a debtor might file. To simplify things, the bankruptcy means test requires a debtor considering bankruptcy to be matched against the median state income of the debtor’s state of filing.
Debtors who are over the median state income may have a more difficult time filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy and might have to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy which requires a monthly repayment to the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy means test will not prevent a debtor from filing a bankruptcy; it will only help determine what type of bankruptcy must be filed.
Most bankruptcy attorneys are finding out that the majority of people considering bankruptcy seem to be under the median state income initially and mostly unaffected by the bankruptcy means test.
Another requirement that seemed to strike fear in the hearts of debtors and attorneys everywhere is “bankruptcy credit counseling”. The new bankruptcy law requires every debtor considering bankruptcy to complete bankruptcy credit counseling within the six months preceding the filing of the bankruptcy.
Most bankruptcy attorneys are finding that the counseling requirement has not been much of an issue. Most debtors choose to do a brief telephone counseling session and the maximum cost to the debtor is set by law and cannot exceed $50.00. For a list of available bankruptcy credit counselors, check BankruptcyCreditCounselors.com (www.bankruptcycreditcounselors.com).
Don’t let the new bankruptcy law scare you. If you need help, get help. Consult with an expert bankruptcy attorney in your area that offers free consultations to explore all of your bankruptcy options.

Living Wills Can Kill You

Living Wills Can Kill You

Obviously, it is beneficial for anyone, in a vegetative state lor not to have a Living Will. But, people need to know that many of the Living Wills utilized today have major problems associated with them.

Living Wills Have To Be Clear

Much of the problem stems from misinterpretation of typical Living Wills by medical staff. These forms are often one size fits all and often legally driven and therefore do not flow medically. Also, they are often recommended to patients with end stage conditions who have already agreed to only comfort care or hospice interventions. As such, when medical staff see Living Wills they automatically associate it with a reduced level of care. This is what makes a standard Living Will dangerous and it may comprimise your care and safety.

Most people who create Living Wills are unaware of this problem and wish to receive care, unless they are terminal despite reasonable medical interventions, or in a persistent vegetative state.

Living Wills Call For Group Discussion

In most cases at least, Living Wills should be read and interpreted by at least two persons. They can recheck the document and the patient’s history and decide whether to intervene.

Attorneys often help create the problem when writing Living Wills for clients. They should not be doing Living Wills unless there is some sort of interaction with the help of an experienced physician.