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April 2015 Archives

Does Florida recognize a holographic will?

Classic cinema is big in Charlotte County, Florida, and many residents are familiar with the Hollywood version of the reading of a will. In the movies it always appears that the evil heir of a beloved family member is just about to inherit all of the deceased's estate through trickery and forgery. Suddenly, the hero bursts into the family room and holds aloft the real handwritten will of the deceased, foiling the villain's plan and restoring the family's honor. But real life doesn't follow movie stereotypes and the validity of a handwritten will is not universally recognized by all state courts.

What are the advantages of a living will?

Many of us have a beloved senior citizen in our lives, and they may live in Fort Myers or elsewhere here in Florida. They could be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or special family friend. These people fill our lives with joy, and we treasure the special times we are able to share with them. Unfortunately, being a senior citizen means that they are susceptible to the illnesses that accompany old age. So, it is important to make sure that these people have the proper legal documents in place, such as a will to carry out their wishes. One special document that offers tremendous advantages is a living will.

Possible grounds for challenging a valid will

A will is a deceased family member's attempt to reach out and speak to his or her loved ones one final time. With this document the testator explains in detail what he or she wants to do with all of his or her worldly possessions. This can include property, vehicles, jewelry and financial accounts such as IRAs, 401Ks, stocks and bonds. In most cases, the will carefully and clearly explains what is to become of all of the testator's estate now that he or she is gone. However, what if a family member believes that the will is not valid? Is it possible to go to court and challenge and change someone's final will and testament?

How much power can be granted with a Florida power of attorney?

Many Fort Myers, Florida, residents either have a close relative or a friend who refuses to develop an estate plan. These people are quite stubborn, and despite advice from friends and family, they believe their financial situation is under control. Many have even failed to take the simple step of giving a close family member their power of attorney. They may be afraid that if they relinquish control over their financial matters, they will never get it back. But, a power of attorney (POA) can have varying degrees of control over someone's finances. It can be designed to cover as much or as little as needed.

The benefits of a special needs trust

Many senior citizens in America, including those here in the South Florida area, depend on government programs such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid for their benefits. Some of these residents may be physically or mentally disabled and unable to care for themselves and really need their coverage. But, what happens if this mentally disabled senior citizen comes into some monetary assets due to the death of another family member? In this kind of a situation, that senior citizen may not lose their government benefits if they are the beneficiary of a special needs trust.

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