Information Your Estate Planning Attorney Needs

Tampa FL estate planning lawyer Lady of JusticeWhen you meet with Tampa FL estate planning lawyers, you may be asked to provide information regarding yourself and your estate needs. Here is a brief list that Tampa FL estate planning attorneys may request of you.

Background Information

Be prepared to provide information that can help identify you, including your name, address and date of birth. Tampa FL estate planning lawyers will also likely ask for your contact information to update you when your documents are in order.


In addition to providing Tampa FL estate planning attorneys with information regarding your assets, also be prepared to provide information about your liabilities. Have your mortgage, credit card debt, business debt and guarantee information ready.

Current State of Affairs

Tampa FL estate planning lawyers need to know whether their clients have taken any other steps to prepare for death or incapacitation. When they prepare clients’ wills, they must expressly revoke other wills, if applicable. Additionally, they will want to know whether the testator has provided for any previous taxable gifts. Your attorney will want to know whether you want to include a trust for minor children or other beneficiaries, as well as the identity of all of your intended beneficiaries. If you have unique estate planning needs, such as making charitable gifts, providing for disabled loved ones or simplifying the probate process, communicate this information to your attorney.

Fiduciary Information

It is important to provide your lawyer with information regarding the individual that you want to help handle your financial affairs. Include contact information for your personal representative, as well as his or her relationship to you. Additionally, provide information for alternate or successor trustees or personal representatives. If you have minor children, discuss who you want to serve as their guardian.

If you would like to know about other information that your estate planning attorney will need, contact the Coleman Law Firm by calling (727) 461-7474.

Why You Need an Attorney In Fact for your Estate

Tampa estate attorney GavelIf you are in the process of settling your estate and preparing it for your beneficiaries, a Tampa estate attorney advises why you need an attorney in fact.

An attorney in fact is the person otherwise known as the designated agent in regards to your document of power of attorney. According to a Tampa estate lawyer, this person is given the authority to handle everything under the scope of the power of attorney:

  • Your personal financial affairs;
  • The execution of contracts;
  • Motor vehicle registration;
  • Bank account transactions;
  • Tax returns; and
  • Real estate sales.

When the power of attorney is considered “durable,” the attorney will have power even if you are incapacitated.

The decision to select an attorney in fact is very important, as the right choice will allow you peace of mind that your affairs will be handled exactly how you specified.

A Tampa estate attorney advises that an attorney of fact must fulfill one of the two requirements in Florida:

  • Must be 18 years or older and of sound mind; and
  • Must be a financial institution located in Florida and have trust powers.

When choosing an attorney, a Tampa estate attorney recommends that you have complete faith in that person’s legal abilities. If you trust the competence, loyalty and devotion of your attorney, then you should proceed to make the power effective immediately. The original document should be left in the care of your attorney to make sure it is safe.

If your faith in your attorney is not strong, you may not want to grant power of attorney.

Other considerations for selecting an attorney in fact:

  • Is the attorney close or convenient to you, geographically?
  • Is the attorney willing to serve on your behalf?
  • Does your attorney get along with the person you want to designate as your health care surrogate?

For more information regarding attorney in fact, contact a Tampa estate attorney from the Coleman Law Firm by calling 727-461-7474.

Five Challenges Firms Should Address Highlighted in 10th Anniversary Letter

FINRA Releases (January 6, 2015) Regulatory A EXAM PRIORITIES LETTER

Five Challenges Firms Should Address Highlighted in 10th Anniversary Letter

Clearwater Securities Litigation Gavel, Scales of Justice, Legal Books and Hour GlassRichard G. Ketchum, FINRA’s Chairman and CEO admitted that in the decade since publishing the first exam priorities letter, there have been tremendous changes in broker-dealer operations, the markets and the regulatory landscape. Mr. Ketchum acknowledged that some firms have made great progress in keeping up with these changes, but more attention has to be paid to addressing specific challenges that have been pinpointed as their areas of concern.

A Clearwater Securities Litigation Attorney comments: What is most concerning to us is what those “areas of concern” are by FINRA. The Release goes on to specify five key areas of broker-dealer activity:

  • Alignment of firms’ interests with those of this customers;
  • Standards of ethical behavior;
  • Development of strong supervisory and risk management systems;
  • Development, marketing and sale of novel products and services; and
  • Management of conflicts of interest.

Isn’t this exactly what the crux of the securities industry is all about? When you think of a business that is built totally on the trust of it’s customers, what relationship could be more based on trust than the broker/client relationship? Ordinary people bring their irreplaceable life savings or retirement funds and entrust it to their broker already believing they are DOING the exact things that FINRA has highlighted in their 10th Anniversary letter as needing improvement.

A Securities Litigation Attorney in Clearwater Warns:

The letter goes on to say that FINRA “also notes its focus on high risk brokers and removing bad actors who prey on vulnerable investors from the securities industry in an expeditious manner. What that sentence doesn’t say that it’s usually those rogue brokers that bring in the largest commissions and bonuses for their supervisor, or, in other words, in most cases, the fox is left to watch the chicken coop. Without a customer complaint to spark an investigation, many of these “bad actors” and their supervisors are most likely not aligning their firms’ interest with those of their customers.

Senior Clients Are The Most Victimized by Rogue Brokers

Sometimes, those rogue brokers aren’t caught until they have fully taken advantage of their senior clients. I have been hired by the families of their deceased relatives that wondered where their loved one’s money went? They didn’t realize they were victims of high frequency trading or the purchase of investments that weren’t suitable for them.

It’s a sad day when FINRA announces they are continuing to observe shortcomings in one of the most trusted business relationships most people have with a single person.

If you want to read the entire News Release: Click Here

Tampa estate planning lawyer

Types of Marital Deduction Trusts

Tampa estate planning lawyerFederal tax law includes a provision for a marital tax deduction. This deduction may be used by a surviving spouse to receive gifts or bequests from their deceased spouse without the imposition of the estate tax. However, when the property in the estate transfers to subsequent beneficiaries, typically the couple’s children, upon the death of the surviving spouse, the estate tax is then imposed. In this way, the law ensures that property that’s not taxed because of the marital deduction is subject to the estate tax in the estate of the surviving spouse. At least, the property that remains at that time is taxed later, according to a Tampa estate planning lawyer.

Common Types of Marital Deduction Trusts

There are two primary types of marital deduction trusts: general power of appointment trusts (GPOA) and qualified terminable interest trusts (QTIP).

For the purposes of the marital deduction, an outright bequest or gift is not necessary. A trust alone qualifies on a federal estate tax return.

With a GPOA trust, the entire trust is included in the surviving spouse’s estate, so it is fairly cut and dry. A Tampa estate planning lawyer is still needed to ensure the trust is managed properly.

QTIP trusts tend to be a little complicated. With this type of trust, the surviving spouse doesn’t have to be given power of appointment for property to qualify for the marital deduction. The spouse does not have life-long power to appoint trust property to anyone else, either. Rather, the surviving spouse receives income from the assets of the trust for the rest of his or her life. The principal, however, is left to other parties, typically the couple’s children.

A QTIP trust, then, takes advantage of the marital deduction, provides income for the surviving spouse and controls the eventual beneficiaries. It allows the first spouse to ultimately control the way in which property is eventually dispersed when his or her spouse dies. Due to the complicated nature of this type of trust, the assistance of a Tampa estate planning lawyer is strongly recommended.

As any Tampa estate planning attorney can attest, there’s one significant disadvantage to using a QTIP trust: conflict between the surviving spouse and beneficiaries regarding issues like tax strategy, trust administration, investment strategy and the adequacy of accountings.

Contact a Tampa Estate Planning Attorney Today

Setting up the appropriate trust to take advantage of the marital deduction is complicated. The assistance of an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer is crucial. Contact Coleman Law Firm at 727-461-7474 now.

Financial Accounts That Avoid Probate

As part of your estate plan, your Tampa FL estate planning lawyer may recommend a variety of Tampa FL estate planning lawyer Judge Seatfinancial accounts that are designed to avoid the probate process. Additionally, these accounts can help get much needed funds in the hands of the beneficiary whom you designate.

Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship

Your Tampa FL estate planning lawyer may recommend using this type of account that disallows creditors from reaching the proceeds in the account. Unless a signature card, agreement or contract with the financial institution specifies otherwise, the proceeds in the account pass through survivorship upon the death of the other account holder. Some individuals establish this type of account as a convenience so that another person can write checks for them. However, a Tampa FL estate planning lawyer may describe the potential drawbacks of establishing this type of account, such as making a presumptive gift to another individual.

Tenants by the Entirety

This type of account is only available to spouses. If the account was established with the unities of interest, possession, time and title, there is a presumption that a joint account held in both spouses’ names is a tenants by the entirety account.

Pay on Death Accounts

This type of account is a traditional financial account. However, your Tampa FL estate planning attorney can explain that the main difference is that the account holder can designate a person to receive the remaining balance in the account after he or she dies. The beneficiary receives no immediate right to the account or the funds in it during the account holder’s lifetime. The account holder can name one party as the beneficiary or multiple parties. Additionally, he or she can set up the account so that one of the parties listed is the trustee for the other beneficiaries.

Convenience Accounts

Your Tampa FL estate planning attorney can explain the value of using a convenience account. This type of account allows you to give limited powers to another party to assist you without having to relinquish control of the account.

If you would like to know if any of these types of accounts or any others can help you with your estate plan, contact the Coleman Law Firm by calling (727) 461-7474.