How not having a Will can wreck a family.

By:  Julie Frey

I have long talked about how important it is to have your affairs in order, while you have the ability to do so.  I am a WMFE 90.7 fan, loyal listener and am currently serving as Chair of the Board.   A few nights ago on my way to the airport to pick up my son from college I was listening to “On Point” on WMFE.  The show was about a family whose mother did not have her durable power of attorney or health care documents in order and then got ill.  The family members then fought over how to care for their mother.  When the mother died, with a modest estate, the family then continued to bicker about the possessions and the small amount of money left to distribute.  The end result was a family divided.  A family who does not talk to each other.  These rifts sometimes never heal.  While thinking about one’s mortality is not fun, leaving a mess for those left behind is not a good legacy either.  Talk to your estate planning attorney who can help you prepare a plan that meets your needs and helps keep this from happening. read more

Can You Include a Dementia/Alzheimer’s Provision in Your Living Will?

For anyone who has witnessed a loved one die of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you will want to know that appropriate language can be added to any Advanced Directive or Living Will which will serve to advise physicians and family members of your wishes concerning life sustaining measures. You can specify which specific life sustaining treatments you wish to have followed if your health deteriorates and you are no longer able to communicate, swallow food or water safely, care for yourself, recognize family and friends, and the condition is not going to improve. You can ensure that comfort measures are followed, but also direct family members and doctors to withhold antibiotics, food, artificial ventilation, heart regulating drugs, and any form of resuscitation. read more

How much does a store bought form will cost? $24.95, $199, $500?

By: Matthew O’Kane

The answer may be much more than you pay for it.

On March 27, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court put its “two cents” in when it answered the question for the Estate of Ann Aldrich in the case of Aldrich v. Basile, 39 Fla. L. Weekly S159a.  The facts of the case are simple.  On April 5, 2004, Ms. Aldrich wrote her will on an “E-Z Legal Form.”  In her will, she listed the assets she owned at the time and devised them to her sister.  Under the terms of her will, if her sister predeceased her, Ms. Aldrich devised the listed assets to her brother.  Her will did not contain a provision dealing with after acquired property, a general devise or a residuary clause that would dispose of any assets not otherwise listed.  The E-Z Legal Form will was properly executed.  Three years later, her sister died and left Ms. Aldrich additional cash and land.  On November 18, 2008, Ms. Aldrich wrote a note that attempted to amend her will acknowledging her sister’s death and devising all “her worldly possessions” to her brother.  The note was not executed in accordance with the Florida Probate Code. read more