The Basics of Estate Planning Clearwater Documents

estate planning Clearwater Pen to PaperWhile estate planning may seem a daunting task, understanding your estate planning Clearwater documents typically involved can take a lot of the mystery out of it.

Health Care Directive

One of the most important documents in your estate plan is your Advanced Health Care Directive. This document allows you to nominate agents to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. Further, it permits you to be specific as to the type of treatment you do, and do not, want. It can be clear in explaining any end-of-life treatment decisions you may choose, such as maintaining or withdrawing life support, or organ donations. Finally, it should include clear HIPPA releases which allow your agents to access your medical records and deal with health insurance issues. Consult with your Clearwater estate planning attorney to assist in drafting this important document.

Financial Power of Attorney

In the event of your incapacity, it is important that your bills continue to be paid, your assets managed, and your family provided for. This can be accomplished through the power of attorney, in which you nominate an agent to handle these matters on your behalf. The power of attorney can be effective immediately, or only upon your incapacity. Additionally, it can give limited or broad powers to your designated agent. Your Clearwater estate planning lawyer can guide you in determining how best to construct this document.

Will

Your will designates an executor to administer your estate after your death. Your executor is empowered to pay bills of the estate and file tax returns, managing your estate until it can be properly distributed to the beneficiaries named in this document. Again, it is important to discuss your goals with your Clearwater estate planning attorney.

Living Trust

This is a very powerful document which nominates your successor trustees who will manage trust assets upon your incapacity or at your death. It designates beneficiaries who will inherit your estate at your death, but also ensures that you designate a professional fiduciary or trusted friends or family members to manage the estate on your behalf, during your lifetime, if you are unable to do so yourself. Again, the Clearwater estate planning attorneys at the Coleman Law Firm can assist you in preparing this document.

Contact Us for More Information on Estate Planning Clearwater Documents

Contact the Coleman Law Firm at 727.461.7474 or toll free at 866.461.7474 to prepare or review your estate plan.

Dunedin Estate Planning Attorney Offers Tips and Advice on Estate Planning

dunedin estate planning attorney greeting clientProper estate planning is essential for people of all ages. Here are some tips from a Dunedin estate planning attorney to help you get the most out of your estate plan.

Essential Documents

  • Will and/or Trust
  • Health Care Directive
  • Power of Attorney

A will is a testamentary document which nominates an executor to administer, and names beneficiaries to inherit, your estate. You can also make provisions for minor children, including naming a guardian for them.

Consult with your Dunedin estate planning attorney to determine whether a trust is advisable for you. The advantages of a trust include the ability to avoid probate (a court process administering your estate after your death), potential tax advantages, and privacy. Unlike a will, which becomes a public record, your trust generally will avoid probate and allow your estate plan not to become publicly known.

Your advance directive for health care allows you to direct your end-of-life care as well as nominates agents who can make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.

Your Dunedin estate planning lawyer can draft a power of attorney on your behalf which names your agents who will act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. You need not empower your agents now, but planning in advance can allow your named agent to swiftly manage your estate if you are incapacitated and ensure that your obligations are being met and your family is protected.

Regular Review

Once in place, you should regularly review your estate plan with your attorney to ensure that your needs are continuing to be met. Most changes to estate plans result from the following:

  • Change in tax laws
  • Change in family circumstances such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces
  • Change in net worth
  • Change in assets owned
  • Moving your residence
  • Purchase or sale of a business
  • Minor children reaching adulthood
  • Change in the choice of named executors, successor trustees, and agents.

It is very important to discuss each of these changes with your attorney as they happen. For example, a change in tax laws could mean that you are not getting the most from your estate plan as written. Similarly, consultation with your lawyer could alert you as to issues regarding your investment portfolio.

Contact a Dunedin Estate Planning Attorney

Contact Mr. Coleman at the Coleman Law Firm at 727.461.7474 or toll free at 866.461.7474 to prepare or review your estate plan.

When to Consider Estate Planning

Proper estate planning can ensure that your wishes are observed, and you and your loved onesWest Palm Beach Estate Planning Lawyer  Gavel and Power of Attorney Document are protected.

Health Care Decisions Explained By a Clearwater Estate Law Attorney

Have you considered who will assist you in the event you cannot make health care decisions yourself? What if you are in an accident and cannot be consulted about your own health care? What if you require long-term care? These are real issues faced by many. Ensure that your wishes are known and that your desired agents are empowered to carry out those decisions through consultation with a Clearwater estate law attorney at the Coleman Law Firm.

Guardianship of Minor Children

Proper estate planning with a Clearwater estate law attorney can ensure that you have provided for minor children. Who will be their guardians? Will their guardian also be the financial trustee of your estate? These decisions must be carefully considered.

A Loved One with Special Needs

If you have a family member who will inherit, is that person suited to manage the assets received? Perhaps your loved one has a disability qualifying for public assistance. Will an inheritance disqualify them from receiving future benefits?

Issues Which May Endanger an Inheritance

Perhaps your loved one has or had a substance abuse issue for which management of an inheritance is warranted. Does a family member have a marriage which may end in divorce? Does a family member have a spending problem, or perhaps he or she is not adept at managing assets. In any of these cases, you may consider establishing a trust which would benefit that family member without risking the loss of the estate through profligate or unwise spending. A candid discussion with your Clearwater estate law attorney at the Coleman Law Firm can address potential problems and identify solutions.

Privacy

A probated will is a public record, meaning that anyone could conduct a search to determine what assets are in an estate and who the beneficiaries are. A trust can avoid this situation since it is a private document which is generally administered without court intervention.

Tax Issues

Transferring assets through inheritance or gifts can lead to unintended tax consequences. Estate, capital gains, income, and gift taxes are just a few traps for the unwary, the impact of which consultation and proper planning with your Clearwater estate law attorney can minimize.

Contact Us

Call the Coleman Law Firm at (727) 461-7474 to discuss these and other estate planning issues.

Orlando Man Arrested in $2 Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced on January 14, 2015 that they had arrestedclearwater estate law attorney Gavel on top of book Gus Papathanasopoulos, owner of Neofat Industries, Inc., a/k/a Microlipid Technologies.  Mr. Papathanasopoulos was arrested on one count of securities fraud, 18 counts of selling unregistered securities and 18 counts of selling securities as an unregistered agent.

Mr. Papathanasopoulos solicited more than 100 investors located throughout the United States and Europe.  In return for their investments, individuals were told they would receive stock in his Orlando based company, Neofat Industries, Inc.  According to the Office of Financial Regulation (“OFR”), the company is alleged to be an empty shell with no legitimate business activity.  It was suggested by the OFR that all of the money raised by Mr. Papathanasopoulos was used for his personal benefit.

Mr. Papathanasopoulos was being held in the Orange County Jail, but it is not known if he is still there at this time.

This is just another example of why we here at the Coleman Law Firm recommend that you check out who you are really doing business with BEFORE you make that investment.  It is so important to check with www.finra.org to ensure that your broker is duly registered with a broker dealer, and that you also check out the broker dealer where your broker is employed.  You want to go to the “BROKER CHECK” box on the main page of the FINRA website.  You can see how long your broker has been in the business, if he has had any regulatory issues in the past or is currently involved in one, and if he has had other customer complaints.  You don’t want to hand over your life savings to someone that was selling used cars just a month before you became his client unless you find he is under the careful eye of an experienced manager.

If you have any additional questions on how to check out your broker, please do not hesitate to give us a call or drop us an email.  Our phone number is (727) 461-7474 or email us at jeff@coleman law.com.  We would much rather be assisting you with your estate planning asset management than trying to recover lost assets.

NEW INVESTMENT PRODUCTS IN CLASSIC SCHEMES

Just before the holidays, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued a Press Coleman Law Firm Attorney Signing DocumentsRelease describing what they believe are the new products in classic schemes identified as top emerging threats for investors in 2015.

According to OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear, “we are seeing classic investor threats morph into new or altered dangers, many involving the internet.  Encompassing each of these threats are unlicensed individuals selling unregistered products to unsuspected investors.”

This is where we at the Coleman Law Firm can’t emphasize enough for investors to do some investigation or “due diligence” before handing over their hard earned savings to something that sounds too good to be true.  Due diligence would include determining if the individual or company pitching their sale is registered with the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Association) which can be found at www.finra.org.  There is an easy to find box on their home page where you can perform a “broker check.”  Even if you have determined they ARE a registered broker dealer, it is important that you review that report for indications of prior customer complaints or regulatory issues.  Another resource for checking out a potential investment would be with the Office of Financial Regulation (“OFR”).  You can find more information about the OFR at www.flofr.com.

The Enforcement Section of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the Office of Financial Regulation is a member, has compiled the following list of investments that threaten unwary investors.

Emerging Threats:

  • Marijuana Industry Investments
  • Stream of Income Investments
  • Digital Currency and Cybersecurity Risks
  • Binary Options

Persistent Threats:

  • Fraudulent Private Placement Offerings
  • Pyramid and other Ponzi Schemes
  • Real Estate Schemes (including those using promissory notes)
  • Affinity
  • Online Fraud (including crowd funding and social media)
  • Gas & Oil in the Fracking Era

To quote Mr. Breakspear, “it pays to investigate before you invest.”

The Coleman Law Firm does not provide investment advice but can assist you if you have any additional questions on how to determine if an individual or firm is properly registered.

FINRA has issued a new INVESTOR ALERT!

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with mutual fund terms like:

  • Small Cap Funds
  • Large Cap Funds
  • Index Funds
  • Bond Funds

clearwater securities litigation attorney Gavel on top of MoneyMost mutual funds contain the name of the investment company that is managing the fund (Franklin Templeton, Fidelity, Vanguard, for example only and NOT recommendation) with a description of the fund’s investment focus.

Mutual funds are usually recommended to help diversify a portfolio and you and your registered financial advisor should discuss and decide between yourselves which types (if any) of mutual funds are best for your particular situation.

FINRA is concerned because “Frontier Funds” that invest in securities of companies with developing securities markets – like Argentina, Lebanon, Nigeria, Slovenia, and Vietnam are gaining investor attention.  According to the alert, “Some see investing in frontier funds as a way to diversify assets – going beyond funds that invest in ESTABLISHED international and other more developed emerging markets.  Frontier Funds are also sparking the interest of some investors who are lured predominately by potential gains.

FINRA has issued this alert to caution those interested in funds that invest in frontier markets to carefully consider the HEIGHTENED RISKS in these markets.   Frontier fund investments may provide potential diversification and periods of higher returns than can be obtained through more traditional investments.  But products or asset niches that promise higher returns nearly ALWAYS CARRY MORE RISK and the past performance of ANY fund is never a guarantee of future results.

If you are considering investing in Frontier Funds, be sure to read the prospectus carefully (as you should before making any investment).  Most Frontier Funds are designated for “AGGRESSIVE GROWTH” and described as high risk.

If you are considering, or have been pitched the idea of purchasing Frontier Funds, please read the entire Investor Alert located on the www.finra.org website.

For even more information about all kinds of mutual funds in general, you can always check out the Securities and Exchange publication on this subjection.  Here is the link. http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/sec-guide-to-mutual-funds.pdf Or please contact a Clearwater securities litigation attorney by calling 727-461-7474.

 

Estate Planning Gives You Peace of Mind

Estate planning is not simply an exercise for the elderly, but a prudent step for any adult. It is a clearwater estate law attorney Seat of Judge
valuable gift you can leave your family, which, with your proper planning, will be spared the expense and distress often associated with administering an intestate estate.  

Will

This is the most basic document in your estate plan. It provides for disposition of assets at death and appoints an executor to administer the estate.  A will’s advantage is orderly estate administration. Additional benefits include nominating guardians for minor children, leaving funds for education, providing for the care of pets, and ensuring the continued operation or disposition of a business. Consultation with your Clearwater estate law attorney can help you ensure your will addresses issues significant to your family.

Health Care Directive

Your health care directive identifies an agent enabled to make care decisions for you if you cannot. This document can provide for your wishes relative to organ donation or life support. Making your wishes known in advance can avoid contentious future litigation, and can give your loved ones the comfort of knowing they are following your wishes.

Power of Attorney

Your Clearwater estate law attorney can assist you in drafting a power of attorney nominating an agent who will be able to handle your affairs if you are unable to do so. In the event of your incapacity, bills still need to be paid, your investments need to be managed, and your family cared for. Your agent under power of attorney will have the authority to act on your behalf if you cannot to ensure your obligations are being met.

Living Trust

You can establish a living trust after consultation with your Clearwater estate law attorney that will provide substantially the same benefits as a will, and offer you significant additional benefits as well. Like a will, your trust can provide for disposition of assets at your death to ensure your family, pets, business, and other interests are provided for. Unlike a will, though, your living trust can avoid the necessity of probating your estate.

Contact A Clearwater Estate Law Attorney

Call a Clearwater estate law attorney at the Coleman Law Firm, 866.461.7474, to discuss establishing an estate plan to benefit your family.