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Florida Estate Planning Attorneys

Robert J. Kulas, P.A.

East Lake Professional Center
2100 SE Hillmoor Drive, Suite 105

Port St. Lucie, Florida 34952

Phone(772) 398-0720
Fax (772) 398-9331

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Our firm is dedicated to providing you with quality estate planning resources, so you can become familiar with all of the existing options.



Robert J. Kulas, P.A. - Providing services in the following areas of law:

Articles Published by Robert J. Kulas, P.A.

 Probate Claims: How They Work

The probate process is nothing more than a very step-by-step, methodical way of dealing with all the property a deceased person left behind.

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 Growth in Medicaid Spending Slows Significantly

Due in large part to a strengthening economy and reduced state payment rates to physicians and healthcare providers, Medicaid spending in 2012 grew at its slowest rate in years

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 How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of Medicare, Medicaid, or Healthcare Related Fraud

The senior population in this country continues to grow, presenting even more viable targets for Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare related frauds. As it stands now, this type of fraud costs the government billions of dollars each year. Help yourself avoid becoming a victim by learning what types of scams are out there, as well as what steps to take to avoid being victimized.

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 Divorce: Know Thy Beneficiary

If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, are in the process of getting a divorce, or are already divorced, then you should keep reading. A divorce can be a very emotional and stressful time; instead of thinking about how best to protect yourself and your assets, you may spend your time reminiscing over the love lost or fuming about the reasons prompting the divorce.

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 Ways to Keep Your Estate Plan Simple

You can’t take it with you. This is one of the simple, inalienable truths about dying, and, like it or not, your relatives know this. So if you have had the good fortune to become wealthy during your life, be sure to develop an estate plan that will help keep things civil.

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 Estate Planning and the Types of Power of Attorney

There are many different types of power of attorney; in fact, there are so many that someone could be easily overwhelmed when trying to decipher just what exactly, is encompassed by a grant of power of attorney. And don’t worry: if you don’t know what a power of attorney is, you are not alone. To put it simply, the phrase “power of attorney” describes one person’s bestowal of power upon another person to act in their stead.

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 When You Need to Update Your Will, Use Caution

If you have created a last Will and testament you know that it took some time and effort to create a document that served your individual situation and your desires. Likewise, if you have experienced a significant life change or have changed your mind about your will decisions, you should know that making changes to the will may also require the same attention to detail.

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 When Parents Reach Old Age, Bringing Up Finances Can Be Difficult

As life spans continue to increase and more people are living in extended family environments,many are having to deal with financial issues that affect their elderly parents. In many situations these financial topics can be a taboo subject in the family, especially when the elderly parents have a lot of pride and are reluctant to speak about financial difficulties.

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 Estate Planning Tips for Your Vacation

Whether you took a summer vacation this year,are planning on traveling for Labor Day,or are planning some time away for the holidays you probably didn't give much thought to estate planning when making your vacation plans. This is natural,but it's also a prudent choice to spend a little time thinking about what might go wrong and whether you'll be prepared.

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 Using Tech Gadgets dor Senior Independence and Caregivers

As the American population continues to age and lifespans continue to lengthen, more and more seniors and their families are using new technology to help keep themselves independent and healthy. While new technology is always being introduced,here are some helpful recent gadgets that seniors and their families can use today.

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 Senior Debt and Bankruptcy Rising

Recent studies have shown that Americans age 55 and older are having an increasingly difficult time paying their debts. One study, performed by the Washington-based Employee Benefits Research Institute, showed that between 1992 and 2007, households of those who were in their mid-50s or older more than doubled their average debt load to about $70,000 each.

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 Big Executor Mistakes

As an estate executor, you have the legal power to manage a deceased person's property and redistribute that property to new owners. With this power, state probate laws impose specific responsibilities as well as limitations. If you violate these state restrictions you may face personal liability as an executor.

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 The Worst Estate Planning Errors You Can Make

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Everything on the Internet is true.” If you've ever looked for legal advice online, it won't take you very long to discover a wide range of advice, opinion, commentary, and information about estate planning topics. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing if any of it is correct.

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 Why Single People Don't Have Estate Plans

If you're single, whether or not you're young, you are part of the group that is the least likely to have an estate plan. The fact is most single people rarely consider estate planning concerns and few have taken any steps to developing important planning elements. Unfortunately, single people often need these specific state planning elements much more than their married contemporaries. Here are three reasons why you should begin estate planning as soon as possible if you are single.

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 Audits Targeting Medicaid Abuse Fall Short

A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress found that a federal program designed to combat Medicaid fraud has resulted in cost greater than the amount of fraud the program identified.

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 Fraudulent Medicaid Claims Decreasing, but Still a Problem

As states across the country continue to struggle with solving their Medicaid funding problem, fraudulent Medicaid claims continue to plague the system. Last year alone, the federal government lost about $22 billion of Medicaid funds because of fraudulent claims. Because Medicaid is a jointly funded federal and state program, state losses are also thought to be significant.

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 What Probate Courts Do

Many people are unaware of probate courts and what they do. If you've begun your estate planning efforts you may know that probate courts are responsible for supervising the estate administration process, even though they also do a lot more. Though each state court has different responsibilities, let’s take a look at some of the more common matters that probate courts handle.

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 A Few Words about Will Words

Making a Will is not typically a difficult process, though it can require a little bit of study to make the process go more smoothly. There are a lot of uncommon words and terminology used in the will making process that you should be aware of before you begin making your own will. Let's take a look at some of the more important terms you may encounter.

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 Getting a Divorce Means Changing Your Estate Plan

Married couples planning on divorcing sometimes under estimate the extent to which the divorce will impact their estate plans. Not only will you have to change key documents such as your will and your advance directive, but you may also have to create additional estate planning tools to protect your property and ensure the divorce will not cause problems with your estate plan later.

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 Personal Estate Property – Avoiding the Headaches

Anyone who spends any amount of time in estate planning circles knows that some of the most bitter family disputes that arise after a parent die do so because of a conflict over a family heirloom or cherished piece of personal property.

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 Life Insurance

If you’re covered by life insurance, you’re the “insured», and you’re most likely the owner of the policy, too – but not necessarily. In some situations, you might choose to have your spouse, your children, or a trust own the policy. If you’re a business owner, your company might own a life insurance policy on you and your partners to cover the value of your ownership interest in the company.

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 The Pros and Cons of a Pooled Trust

Everyone knows that long-term care is expensive, and it’s not likely to get more affordable in the near future. Figuring out how to pay for a nursing home or another form of long-term care has become a nagging concern for countless families. What happens if you have too much income or too many assets to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough savings to foot the entire bill for long-term care?

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 What are the Duties of an Executor?

As you go through the process of planning your estate, one of the things you’ll be asked to do is to name an Executor of your Will. Many people name their spouse or child without giving much thought to what an Executor actually does – and this could be a mistake. The role of Executor is an important one, and it can involve unfamiliar and stressful duties.

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 How to Leave an Inheritance to a Child

Leaving an inheritance to a child is a little trickier than leaving an inheritance to an adult. After all, if you want to leave money or property to an adult, it can be as simple as saying as much in your will or revocable living trust. Children, however, can’t take control of money or property they’ve inherited – at least not until they reach adulthood. Until that time, they need someone to manage it for them.

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 Beyond Basics: The Irrevocable Trust

The revocable living trust has become an indispensible estate planning tool in recent years. It gives you the ability to avoid probate. Plan for disability, and keep your personal affairs private, while at the same time offering you the flexibility to remain in full control of your assets. And, for basic estate planning purposes, a revocable living trust is an effective tool.

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 How Often Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

For example, what if your incapacity planning documents are old and don’t include the appropriate HIPAA language. In the event that you become disabled, your loved ones might have to end up going to court to get the right to make decisions on your behalf. And this is the very thing that an incapacity plan is meant to avoid.

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 Withdrawing Money from Your Roth IRA

One of the great things about a Roth IRA is that since you fund the account with after-tax dollars, amounts you withdraw from the account are usually tax-free. But not always. Here are the basic rules (keep in mind that there are separate rules for funds converted from a traditional IRA):

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 How a Power of Attorney and a Revocable Living Trust Work Together

If you have a Revocable Living Trust, you know that it can serve as an essential incapacity planning tool. If you’re ever disabled – through illness or injury – to the point that you can no longer manage your own financial affairs, your Disability Trustee can step in and take over your trust property. However, if a Revocable Living Trust is the only estate planning tool in your incapacity plan, then there are probably gaps that need to be filled.

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 Estate Planning When Shacking Up – 2 Tips

According to recent survey data, less than half of Americans 18 and older are married. For unmarried or cohabiting couples, estate planning is significantly different than it is for married couples. Whether you've been living together for years and have no intention of getting married, or simply want to take precautions in case the unthinkable should happen, here are three tips you can use if you are a cohabitating couple with concerns about estate planning.

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 How the Heck Do I Start a Probate Case? 3 Tips

If you've experienced the death of a close family member, you may have to soon confront the prospect of beginning the probate process. Though the process is slightly different depending on where you live, beginning a probate case involves several key steps and requirements.

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 Three Questions about Digital Remembrances

For many people, how you are remembered after you die it as an important part of your estate plan as ensuring your property will pass to your heirs with as few problems and costs as possible. Today, there are several companies that offer the ability to create a “digital tombstone” or other form of digital remembrance. Here are several questions about Internet legacy planning.

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 Elder Law Primer – What is Elder Law?

As you get older, different laws have a greater or lesser effect on your life. Elder law is simply a phrase used to describe all the legal issues that affect people as they age, retire, and die. Let's take a look at some of the more common issues that elder law attorneys deal with.

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 What Happens to an IRA With No Beneficiary Designation?

When you establish your IRA, you have the opportunity to designate beneficiaries - -people who will receive the funds in your account after you pass away. And most married people name their spouse as beneficiary. But what if you and your spouse pass away in a common accident? Or your spouse passes away and you don’t name a new beneficiary before you pass away?

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 What is an Advance Medical Directive?

An Advance Medical Directive is an essential estate planning document that lets you communicate your wishes for end-of-life medical care to your doctors and loved ones. What kinds of situations does an Advance Medical Directive cover? It’s effective when you’re terminally ill or seriously injured and can’t speak for yourself to communicate your decisions and preferences concerning your medical treatment.

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 Helping Your Parents Avoid Guardianship

As your parents get older, the concern grows that their mental faculties will become impaired, and they’ll no longer be able to handle their own personal or financial affairs. Ailments like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are common and become more likely with age, as does the risk of stroke and other debilitating health issues.

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 Can You Spot the Signs of Elder Abuse?

Tens of thousands of elders fall victim to some form of abuse every year, and the abuse is very often at the hands of caregivers or close family members. The signs of elder abuse can be hard to recognize, for a couple of reasons. First, many of the signs overlap with what appear to be normal signs of aging – frailty and mental decline.

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 Estate Planning With a Special Needs Child

When you have a child with special needs, many areas of your life require additional planning and special arrangements, and your estate plan is no different. If your child receives government benefits, you already know that there’s a cap on the amount of assets he or she is allowed to have and still receive those benefits.

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 Difference Between an Irrevocable and a Revocable Trust?

When you’re deciding what type of trust you need, it’s important to understand what’s available to you. Trusts fall into a few basic categories, and two of these categories are Irrevocable and Revocable.

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 How Does Your Pet Fit into Your Estate Plan?

We’ve all heard the stories of wealthy eccentrics leaving millions of dollars – or even their entire estates – to their pets. But it’s important for average, ordinary people to think about what who will care for their pets when they’re no longer around to do so.

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 How Do You Own Your Property?

When it comes to estate planning, it’s essential for both you and your attorney to know how your property is titled. Knowing how you own your property has an effect on what estate planning methods you use – and whether or not your estate plan is even effective. Here are the basic categories of property ownership:

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 What are the Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust?

If you’re looking into putting together an estate plan, you may have heard about Revocable Living Trusts. You might be wondering what all the fuss is about. A Revocable Living Trust is an effective estate planning tool for many people. Here are the main benefits:

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 An Empty Legacy – When Celebrities Choose to Disinherit

As you go about creating your estate plan and making choices about who you want to receive your property, you may experience a feeling of relief in knowing that your family will be cared for after your death.However, for many people, including some celebrities, the final choice they make is to disinherit their family or to leave their children and family members out of any inheritance whatsoever. Let’s take a look at a couple of the more famous examples.

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 3 Questions About Changing Your Estate Plan

Like a muscle, a good estate plan is one you regularly use and maintain. It's especially important to change or update a plan if you go through major life event, such as a divorce, the birth of a grandchild, or a substantial increase or decrease in wealth.

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 Preparing for Your First Estate Planning Meeting

Beginning the estate planning process usually requires you to set up a meeting with your estate planning lawyer so you can get down to the concrete steps involved. To make this meeting go easier, there are several items you can bring with you. Always talk to your lawyer or his or her personal assistant before you come to any meeting so you know what to expect and what you should bring.

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 Common Questions about Florida Oral Wills

Oral wills were traditionally used when a person was too sick or otherwise unable to write. Question 1: What is a nuncapative will? - Answer: A nuncapative will is simply a fancy way to say oral or verbal will. With an oral will, the testator—the person who makes the will—states his or her wishes verbally instead of writing them down.

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 Top 5 Ways of Avoiding Family Estate and Inheritance Fights

Famous celebrities continue making national celebrity news headlines posthumously when their heirs challenge their last will and testaments. For example, consider Anna Nicole Smith. Her heirs have spent millions in legal fees challenging her will.

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 Probating Your Will Before You Die

State laws vary as to when custodians must file a decedent’s Will with their local probate courts. Most states allow testators or Will drafters to file their Wills with their local probate courts before they die. This way, Will drafters can avoid potential confusion as to where they stored their Wills.

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 Waiving Your Rights Through Nuptial Agreements

Generally, Florida courts will uphold nuptial agreements if entered into and signed properly. This extends to both prenuptial (before marriage) and postnuptial (after marriage) agreements unless one party can prove there was no full disclosure of financial assets or that he or she signed it under duress, fraud or mistake. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, courts will uphold them. Courts will also allow spouses to waive their inheritance rights through nuptial agreements.

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 Pretermitted Adopted Children

In a few states, including Texas and Kansas, adopted children can inherit from their biological parents through state intestacy laws in the absence of a Will but parents cannot inherit from the children they gave up through adoption if the child does include them in their will.

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 Adopted Children’s Probate Rights in Florida

Generally, Florida law does not allow an adopted child to inherit through intestacy from his or her biological parents. The limited exception to this rule is when an adopted child’s birth parent dies but his or her surviving parent remarries a stepparent who subsequently adopts his or her deceased spouse’s biological child. In this limited situation, the adopted child of his or her stepparent and biological child of his or her deceased parent can inherit from both parents.

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 Florida Estate Taxes

Many states enacted estate tax programs which supplemented the federal estate income tax laws. Known as “pick-up” taxes, state estate tax programs typically picked up where federal taxes left-off. Thus, since most estates did not owe federal income taxes, a small number of Floridians paid state pick-up estate taxes.

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 Florida Living Wills and Health Care Surrogates

A living will becomes valid in Florida upon the incapacity of the person drafting or making it. An individual can revoke or cancel his living will as long as he is mentally competent to do so. You may cancel or revoke your living will by physically destroying it, creating a new one or in writing through a letter of revocation. You can also revoke or cancel your health care surrogate designation in the same way.

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 Proving the Validity and Authenticity of a Will in Florida

Once a custodian of a will locates a decedent’s will, he must file it within 10 days of receiving notice of the decedent’s death. After the custodian files it with the probate court in the county where the decedent died, the probate court will conduct a cursory review of the will to establish its validity and authenticity. Probate courts can validate a testator’s will by using one of three different validation and authentication methods.

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 Creating a Self-Proving Will in Florida

To get around the judicial process of authenticating a will, the Florida legislature enacted Section 732.503 of the Florida Statutes within the Florida Probate Code. To create a self-proving will, a testator must comply with the legal requirements to create a valid will. In addition to signing a will in front of two impartial witnesses who also provide their signatures, a testator will self-prove his will in front of a notary using a statutory acknowledgement form.

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 Florida’s Elective Share Statute

In Florida, Chapter 732 of Part II of the Florida Statutes is the Florida Probate Code. Pursuant to Section 732.201, Florida law allows married spouses to receive elective shares of probate property. As such, spouses cannot disinherit one another from receiving at least some of their estate assets. The Florida Statutes allows a spouse to receive one-third of a spouse’s elective estate.

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 Late Singer Winehouse had Solid Estate Plan

The entertainment industry was dealt a blow last month when the British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her posh North London home.

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 Choosing the Right Charity

Giving to charity is something that is personally rewarding, but it can also have value from a tax perspective.

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 How Do Powers of Attorney End?

You have the right to give other people the authority to make decisions on your behalf by creating a power of attorney.

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 Asset Protection Planning Tips

Asset protection is often coupled with thoughts of high-powered attorneys and other executives poring over your financial documents in order to reach one common goal – protecting your estate to include your assets and properties. However, it doesn’t have to be that complicated or that expensive.

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 Life Insurance in Estate Planning

Life insurance is a key component to the estate planning process. Gone are the days when life insurance was primarily thought of as a means to pay for funeral expenses and burials.

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 Have Patience After Losing a Loved One

When you lose a loved one, give yourself time to grieve. Whether the death was sudden or expected, it is often best not to rush to make the decisions that are needed. One way to minimize the issue is by proper estate planning.

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 How to Start a Small Business: The Basics

Everyone has one or two business ideas or adventures they would like to embark upon at one point or another. Some of these ideas turn into businesses immediately, while others need considerable work prior to doing so.

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 Assisting with Long Term Care? Is a Caregiver Contract Right for You?

In many cases, family members help their loved ones with their long term care needs. This may be a better option than bringing in a stranger.

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 What if I Don’t Want to Serve as Guardian?

When asked to serve as guardian for a loved one’s minor children, you may feel compelled to serve. After all, you love your brother, sister, friend or cousin and their children.

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 Will: Did You Know?

A will is one of the most important estate planning devices. If you’re ready to execute a will, it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand the uses for this important document.

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 Understanding Estate Tax Exclusions

The federal government and many states impose an estate tax on the value of your assets at the time of your death

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 Pet Trusts Can Care for Your Animals

Trusts are not just an estate planning tool to provide for your human family members. Many states now recognize "Pet Trusts" that allow you to consider your dog, cat or other companion animal as part of your estate plan.

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 Who Will Manage My Child’s Finances if I Die?

Many parents with children under the age of 18 create a will to name a guardian for their children should both parents die unexpectedly. While they name a personal guardian for their children, what about the financial aspect – particularly if their children inherit the parents property outright as well?

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 Estate Planning and Unusual Will Bequests

Unusual last wishes are nothing new in the estate planning business, in fact, there are several famous last wishes throughout history, including: Napoleon Bonaparte left a wish to have his head shaved and the hair divided up amongst his friends.

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 Do You Need a Durable Financial Power of Attorney

Many people think that the only document they need to have upon their death is a valid will. However, there are many different legal documents that you might need during your life and for your loved ones after you have passed away.

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 What is a Pooled Charitable Trust?

When many people think about a trust, they automatically conjure up images of a wealthy person with lots of money.

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 How to Begin Your Estate Plan

If you’ve been meaning to start your estate plan, now is a great time. In fact, there won’t be a better time. If you’re unsure of how to get started with the process, you may be frustrated and stressed out.

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 How Dying Intestate Affects the Blended Family

Dying without a will, known as dying intestate, can create an avalanche of problems for the surviving family members. But what happens if the family is blended? How do you ensure that everyone receives the portion of the estate that was intended for them?

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 What Is Veterans A and A

Veterans of the United States armed services have many different benefits available to them throughout their lives. One of those benefits is called Veterans Aid & Attendance.

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 When to Consider an Institutional Trustee

When it comes to selecting a successor trustee, the common choice is a spouse, a family member, or a close friend. And for most trusts, this is the most rational choice – you’re looking for someone who is close to you, who knows your beneficiaries, and is loyal, trustworthy, and capable of managing your trust assets.

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 Why You Need a Will Even if You Have a Living Trust

The primary reason most people opt to base their estate plan on a Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate when they pass away. The primary reason most people opt to base their estate plan on a Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate when they pass away. A fully-funded Living Trust allows your assets to be distributed to your loved ones without the time, expense, or loss of privacy involved in a probate proceeding.

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 Avoiding Living Probate with a Revocable Living Trust

The reason for having an incapacity plan is so that you and your family can avoid the unpleasant process known as Living Probate.

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 Will Your Estate Plan Work

How do you know if your estate plan is effective, especially if your documents were not drawn up by a qualified estate planning attorney?

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 What Does it Mean to “Administer” a Trust

After a trust maker dies, the person who has been appointed trustee has the job of administering the trust.

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 5 Tips for an Effective Estate Plan

An estate plan can cover a lot of ground in ensuring that your assets are distributed appropriately and your loved ones are taken care of in the manner you’d like after your death – or even in case of your disability.

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 How Do You Know if Your Parent Needs Long-Term Care?

When you hear the term “long-term care”, it’s easy for your mind to automatically jump to the image of a nursing home, but this isn’t necessarily accurate

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 401(k) Loans Hit a New High

It’s quite a figure: according to the Wall Street Journal, 30% of 401(k) owners now have a loan outstanding.

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 Have a Family Business? You Need a Succession Plan

When you own a business, you pour an immense amount of time and energy into making sure it is successful

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