Worried That a Sizeable Estate or Trust Gift Was Procured by Undue Influence?

By: Melody Lynch

Do you have a loved one who recently passed away and you are concerned that their will or trust was procured by undue influence? Although the law on undue influence has not evolved much since the seminal Florida Supreme Court case of In re Estate of Carpenter in 1971, the greying of the population in Florida has resulted in an increase in undue influence claims in the courts. In order to prove undue influence in Florida, you must demonstrate that a substantial beneficiary acquired an asset via undue influence. This person must have had a confidential relationship and must have actively procured the gift in one of the following ways: (1) presence of the beneficiary at execution of the document; (2) presence of the beneficiary when the person expressed the desire to make a will or form a trust; (3) the beneficiary recommends the attorney who prepared the will or trust; (4) the beneficiary knows the contents of the will or trust prior to execution; (5) the beneficiary gives direction to the attorney preparing the document; (6) the beneficiary secures witnesses for execution; or (7) the beneficiary maintains the will or trust for safekeeping. read more

The ABC’s of Estate Planning

By Julia L. Frey.    What are the “ABC’s” of estate planning?  Over the next few weeks we will discuss some simple but important concepts as we discuss the “ABCs” of estate planning.  Today we will discuss “A” and “B”.

A       Always be Prepared.   There is no such thing as being “too prepared”.  Don’t wait until you are getting ready to go on a trip or you get diagnosed with a significant medical issue to think about how to prepare for your lifetime legal needs and your family when you are no longer living.   And don’t ignore these important legal issues and documents, because you will leave a mess for your loved one’s when you are gone.

B    Basics.  The basic estate planning documents that you should consider for yourself and to provide for your family are a Will or Trust, a durable power of attorney, health care surrogate designation and living will.  Issues you need to consider is how will your children be raised if both parents are gone?  Who will raise him or her? And how will the child be provided for financially?  Is a child financially mature? When does a parent’s “care” end?  How is your spouse with financial matters? What happens if you get incapacitated?