Preplanning Arrangements – Funeral and Estate Planning

Elder-law-attorney

Elder law attorney Alan J. Reinfeld from Reinfeld & Cabrera, PA. is experienced when it comes to helping you with your preplanning arrangements. While preplanning is a highly recommended practice when it comes to your funeral arrangements and estate planning it also comes with its pitfalls. The knowledgeable elder law attorneys at Reinfeld & Cabrera will be able to help you with all considerations to ease you and your family through this difficult process.

Preplanning arrangements are fantastic when it comes to making sure that your family does not have to worry about your funeral or estate after you are gone. It also ensures that your wishes are carried out and that there are sufficient funds left to finance your funeral and cover any other costs that may occur. However, you will need to consult a good elder law attorney to make sure that all of your bases are properly covered and that your preplanning arrangements are legally and financially sound. It is an unfortunate reality that many people try to take advantage of the elderly and the emotional stresses of preplanning by offering unsound legal advice or general preplanning documents which are not tailored to suit your specific needs. It would be a shame for all your preplanning arrangements to go to waste for an issue which could have easily been avoided by referring to a qualified elder law attorney.

A massive pitfall of the preplanning process is the prepaying of services. Recently, some services offering preplanning and prepaying programs have been found to misuse and misspend the money entrusted to them. To prevent this potentially devastating event from occurring, it is prudent that you seek advice from a trusted elder law attorney concerning finding a preplanning and prepaying option which will save you and your family unnecessary costs.

Whatever your decision or wishes are when it comes to preplanning arrangements for your funeral and estate, the attorneys at Reinfeld & Cabrera always have your best interests at heart and will help you through this immensely emotional process.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship-Attorney

If you have found yourself wondering “what is guardianship?” then you need the help of a guardianship attorney from Reinfeld & Cabrera P.A. Guardianship is an extremely important legal aspect of life that requires deep thought. With the assistance of a guardianship attorney you will be ensuring that the guardianship over you and your loved ones will be in the best of hands. Without a guardianship attorney by your side you could run the risk of leaving this significant legal aspect up to the courts, who essentially are strangers to you and your loved ones.

Firstly it is important to understand what a guardian is. As per the Florida State Court a guardian is a “replacement decision-maker appointed by the court to make either personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities”. In understanding what a guardian is, you should now realize that there are two types of guardianship roles that need to be considered.

1. Guardianship over a minor:
As your child’s parents you will be your child’s natural guardian. As natural guardian you may, in general, act for your child. However, in the unfortunate event of you and your child’s other natural parent dying or becoming incapacitated, the law in Florida will call for a court appointed guardian for your child. Furthermore if your child receives an inheritance or proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy exceeding the amount allowed by statute, Florida law requires the court to appoint a guardian for your child. It is good to know that you can designate a guardian for your child in your will. Having a guardianship attorney assist you will ensure that the future of your children is left in the hands of your chosen guardian rather than left up to the courts.

2. Guardianship over an adult:
Should you or an adult loved one lose the ability to make decisions adult guardianship may be appointed. If the Florida court finds a person is so impaired that they are considered incapacitated the court will give the decision making rights of the incapacitated person to someone else. Adult guardianship is only necessary when there are no other less restrictive alternatives (such as durable power of attorney, trust, health care surrogate or proxy, or other form of pre-need directive) available. Interestingly the family can choose a guardian. If the family is able to agree on who should be the guardian, the court will most often accept that choice.

Once minor or adult guardianship has been appointed there are a number of things to consider such as what does a guardian do; is a guardian accountable; is a guardian liable for debts; and, is guardianship permanent? With the help of an experienced guardianship attorney from Rienfeld & Cabrera P.A. all these concerns will melt away and become an easier legal aspect to navigate.

What Happens When A Loved One Dies?

Probate-Attorney

While it is a horrible thought to ponder what happens after a loved one dies, as an experienced probate attorney, we at Reineld & Cabrera P.A. cannot stress enough how important it is to have a plan of action. The period directly after the unfortunate event of a loved one dying can be one of the most difficult and emotionally overwhelming times. Often people find themselves besieged by grief to be able to work through all the important post death processes on their own. Having a probate attorney helping you through the processes will be an invaluable asset. Often families are tempted to do things without the “expense” of a probate attorney. However this frequently leads to even more financial loss as someone without the correct legal knowledge attempts to navigate the probate gauntlet without the guidance of a probate attorney.

When it comes to estate planning and the distribution of assets seeking professional support from a probate attorney is a wise move. Contacting a probate attorney from Reinfeld & Cabrera P.A. for a consultation about your family’s situation will already be a step in the right direction and a great help during this time of anguish.

After a loved one dies you may find yourself in the position of executor of their will. While you may feel confident right now to handle this role, the story may change when you find yourself in the middle of a tragic event. Often emotions cloud logic and distort generally clear minds and you may find yourself falling prey to unidentified legal issues. For example, did you know that when you act as an executor there is a fiduciary liability and exposure attached to you personally if you do not adhere to the terms of a will exactly? Furthermore, did you know that as an executor you could be fined if you distribute funds improperly? With an experienced probate attorney helping you, you will easily avoid these pitfalls.

When you do decide to hire an attorney to assist you with your estate planning or after the death of a loved one, ensure you hire one who is experienced at handling wills, trusts and estates. Avoid attorney’s who don’t specialize in estate planning and instead opt for an experienced probate attorney such as Reinfeld & Cabrera P.A. Make sure you only select a board-certified attorney. Ideally, try to work with an attorney from a firm that has received the highest possible professional standards and ethics rankings.

Professional Divorce Attorneys in Coral Springs

Divorce-AttorneyProfessional divorce attorneys in Coral Springs like Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. deal with cases involving marriage, divorce, child custody, and guardianship. If you are in need of a pre-nuptial agreement, or ready to file for divorce, you may wish to hire a good divorce attorney. While there are many attorneys in Coral Springs to choose from, not all divorce attorneys are created equal. To find professional divorce attorneys in Coral Springs who you can rely on, simply follow these easy steps.

1. Identify divorce attorneys in the county where your case will be filed: A prudent move would be to identify divorce attorneys who are familiar with the Judges, court staff, local customs, and other attorneys involved in your case. Look through the local yellow pages, divorce attorney ads or scroll through an online directory such as Lawyers.com, LawInfo, and FindLaw.

2. Make appointments with the divorce attorneys you are most interested in: Schedule a consultation with your top choices of divorce attorneys that you have identified on your list. A professional divorce attorney in Coral Springs should offer free initial consultations, however it is good to note that others may charge for the initial consult. Make sure to ask about this when making an appointment. On the day of the appointment prepare yourself well. In essence you are not only trying to get information regarding your case, but you are also conducting an interview of each of the divorce attorneys you are meeting with.

3. Shortlist: after all your appointments have concluded, revise your list and shortlist only your top three divorce attorneys. Eliminate any divorce attorneys you did not feel comfortable with, whose payment plan does not work for you, or those who, simply put, you just did not like.

4. Research: Simple online research could be of some assistance when performing your background checks on your shortlisted divorce attorneys. Most divorce attorneys should have a basic website listing practice areas and contact information. Other divorce attorneys will have more comprehensive websites that will list their detailed information about their experience and qualifications. Check online reviews of divorce attorneys in Coral Springs on sites such as Avvo, Findlaw, Lawyers.com, Martindale-Hubbell, and Yahoo Local. Browse social medial profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn for each of the attorneys or law firms on your shortlist. Do not under estimate the wealth of information social media profiles and status updates can provide. Other great sources of information are news stories and press releases concerning individual divorce attorneys and law firms. While some divorce attorneys may have a strong online presence, others may be more difficult to locate online. Consult friends and family who may have experience with the attorneys on your shortlist.

At the end of the day the most important thing is to find the divorce attorney in Coral Springs who suits you. As professional divorce attorneys in Coral Sptings, Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. are more than happy to help you with your divorce attorney needs.

How To Avoid Probate

Probate-Attorney

Having discussed the probate process and the importance of a probate attorney, we at Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. have decided to put together a quick list of some of the ways on how to avoid probate in Florida. By making use of an experienced probate attorney you will be able to avoid probate with relative ease. As the saying goes prevention is better than cure – especially with the guidance of a probate attorney from Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A.

1. Name a beneficiary:
Property that lists a transfer on death beneficiary (TOD), or a pay on death beneficiary (POD), passes directly to the named beneficiary. Therefore naming a beneficiary is a frequently used method of avoiding probate. You may name anyone you choose as a TOD or POD on each of your vehicles, your checking and savings accounts, and any annuities, retirement savings, CDs, or other investments that you have. With the guidance of an experienced probate attorney such as Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. you will easily be able navigate your way through this process.

2. Create a revocable living trust:
Simply put a revocable living trust is a changeable or revocable legal agreement, in which you name someone as trustee/executor of your affairs description. Upon your death, your chosen trustee/executor will acquire legal title. They will then be able to decide what to do with your property and possessions. In this manner you will be able to avoid many aspects of a traditional will. Naming your trustee must be done through extensive consideration, as they will have a big effect on how your property and possessions are handled after death. A living trust is alterable and assists in avoiding probate. However, a living trust does have some disadvantages. In order to set up a trust and to discuss advantages and disadvantages of revocable living trusts contact a probate attorney such as Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A.

3. Share ownership:
Share ownership means to take title of property with someone else. If you have joint ownership of property or possessions with another person such as a spouse you can avoid probate. When one of the owners dies, the title will simply pass on to the other owner thus circumventing probate. Contact a probate attorney at Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. to discuss setting up joint ownership as well as the potential the advantages and drawbacks of creating joint ownership.

4. Gifting items:
A simple way to avoid probate is to give away items that you don’t want caught up in probate proceedings. By gifting away your property or possession (especially more expensive items) it cannot go into probate.

There are various other ways to avoid probate, many of which are state specific. Consult a probate attorney such as Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. for comprehensive guidance on how to best avoid probate in Florida.

What Does A Trust Cover?

Trust-AttorneyIf you are trying to find out exactly what does a trust cover, you have come to the right trust attorney here at Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. to find the answer to what you are looking for. Trusts are flexible, varied and complex and can be useful estate-planning tools for you and your family. With the guidance of a trust attorney you will realize that a trust is able to cover a myriad of things.

A considerable amount of your assets in real estate, a business or an art collection are just a few things covered by a trust. One of the biggest advantages of a trust is that it is able to provide you with the ability to put conditions on how and when your assets are distributed after you die. You may decide to have your estate distributed to your heirs in a non-direct or delayed method and not in a way that is immediately payable. Working with an experienced trust attorney you can ensure that your trust will be able to accommodate such things. Perhaps you want to ensure the continual support of your surviving spouse, but also want you to make certain that the principal or remainder of your estate goes to your chosen heirs after your spouse dies. Trusts can assist in reducing estate and gift taxes and distribute assets to heirs efficiently while avoiding probate court. Together with the advice of your trust attorney you and your spouse will be able to maximize your estate-tax exemptions through the use of a trust. Another area covered by a trust is in providing for a disabled relative without disqualifying him or her from Medicaid or other government assistance. Furthermore a trust will better protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits.

There are five standard forms of trusts. The credit-shelter trust allows you to write a will bestowing an amount to the trust up to but not exceeding the estate-tax exemption. The generation-skipping trust permits you to pass on a sizeable amount of cash tax-free to beneficiaries who are at least two generations your junior. A qualified personal residence trust allows you bestow your home as a gift while you keep control of it for a stipulated period of time. The irrevocable life insurance trust could work to remove your life insurance from your taxable estate, help pay estate costs, and provide your heirs with cash for a variety of purposes. Lastly, a qualified terminable interest property trust allows you to direct your assets to particular relatives especially if your family contains divorces, remarriages and stepchildren.

Each type of trust has advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you discuss these advantages and disadvantages thoroughly with your trust attorney before setting up your trust. Do not hesitate to contact a probate attorney from Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A. to discuss setting up the best trust that suits you and covers your needs.

Finding The Right Attorney in Coral Springs

Attorney-in-Coral-SpringsThere are many ways to go about finding the right attorney in Coral Springs. Although it may seem an overwhelming task, finding the right attorney is easier than you think. We at Reinfeld & Cabrera P.A. feel that finding the right attorney goes beyond simply sourcing an attorney you need to identify an attorney who suits you personally. Below is a rundown of our advice to help you in finding the right attorney in Coral Springs.

Sourcing an attorney:
Recommendations are a good place to start. Begin by asking your friends, co-workers and employers if they know of, or, could recommend a good attorney in Coral Springs. Business owners and working professionals (like bankers, doctors, and social workers) may also be able to point you in the direction of finding the right attorney in Coral Springs. A common method of finding an attorney in Coral Springs is through Advertisements. Although not all attorneys choose to advertise, attorney advertisements are everywhere – from the Yellow Pages and newspapers to television, radio and the Internet. What is important to remember when finding an attorney in Coral Springs through advertising is to make sure that you keep the advert or make notes for your reference purposes. Another means of finding the right attorney in Coral Springs is through certified lawyer referral services. These are services that help you (as the potential client) find the right attorney in Coral Springs who is experienced in the appropriate area of the law. The Florida Bar (http://goo.gl/s170Q0) offers some information on lawyer referral services. Other means of finding an attorney in Coral Springs includes: Public interest groups; free legal aid agencies; dispute resolution programs and prepaid legal services plans.

Identifying an attorney who suits you:
Now that you are aware of the various methods of finding an attorney in Coral Springs, let’s chat about identifying the RIGHT attorney for your particular needs. It is important that you interview any prospective attorneys by speaking with each attorney personally. The most efficient way of doing this is to outline your needs in advance. Thus when you meet your potential attorney you can properly evaluate them, their behavior and their work ethic. This will help you make a well-rounded decision before beginning your client-attorney relationship. Pay particular attention to their personality (you must feel comfortable with your attorney); their communication and promptness (you want a lawyer who will work hard on your behalf and follow through promptly on all assignments); and their willingness to work with you (you will need an attorney who is willing to assist you in developing an understanding of the legal principles surrounding your problem)

By following our advice, finding the right attorney in Coral Springs, such as Reinfeld & Cabrera P.A., will result in a rewarding and successful relationship.

Breaking Down The Probate Process

For many people the probate process may seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. So the probate attorney’s from Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A are here to make things easier.

To begin the probate process the executor of the decedent’s will must come forward with the will. If there is no will or an executor and the family cannot agree on one, then the court may assign an administrator. The executor or Personal Representative’s authority extends only as far as the decedent’s probate estate. An experienced probate attorney can clarify which assets qualify for probate. A Petition for Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative’s as well as the decedent’s death certificate needs to be filed at the court clerk’s office. The court will then review the petition and an Personal Representative will be formally appointed. It is wise to have a probate lawyer assist with this process. Once this has been given the green-light the probate process can officially begin.

Step One: Probate Assets
All the decedent’s assets will need to be collected, inventoried and appraised. These assets include money owed to the decedent or estate such as life insurance or loans. Other assets such as real estate or valuable collections will need to be appraised by professionals and financial accounts such as stocks or bonds may need to be reviewed or sold in order to collect all the assets to be distributed.

Step Two: Paying-out
All debts and expenses must be paid. The Personal Representative is responsible for paying these expenses with the estate funds. Expenses will be paid usually in the following order:

  • Costs/expenses of administration (for example – attorneys or appraisers)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Debts and taxes
  • All other claims

The Personal Representative is in charge of reviewing all debts, bills or claims against the decedent. After reviewing all necessary documents and proof of claims the a Personal Representative then has the right to reject those which are deemed invalid and pay the ones that need to be paid. Rejected claims may be appealed by claimants within a particular time period; these cases may then need to be handled by probate attorneys.

Step Three: Distributing Assets
The remainder of the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries as the will states, or as the administrator sees fit if not stated, or (in the case of no will) according to intestate law. A public announcement in a newspaper is required to be published stating that the estate is in probate to allow any remaining creditors to come forward. This is also the point in the process where those who want to dispute the distribution of assets can be heard.

Even though these steps may make the probate process seem a lot simpler and manageable than before, there are many technical and important details which can be explained when contacting an experienced probate attorney. The probate attorney’s at Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A are uniquely qualified and experienced in the administration of the probate estate, they can either guide you or be the administrator.

What is Better, a Trust or a Will?

They say that the only thing in life that is certain is death and taxes. So when dealing with life’s certainties it is important to provide for those loved ones which are left behind. Consulting an estate and trust attorney from Reinfeld & Cabrera, P.A can help you decide whether a trust or a will is better for you and your needs. Here is a short guide to the differences between a will and a trust to hopefully help you with the process of estate planning.

What is a will?
A will is a written document, signed and witnessed, which sets out instructions for the disposition of your estate only at the time of or after the event of your death.

What is a trust?
A trust is a set of instructions which come into effect as soon as the trust is created which means that it provides property management during your life and/or after your death.

Differences between a will and a trust
Apart from the main difference that a will comes into effect only after death whereas a trust is in effect during lifetime and after death, there are many more things to think about when deciding between the two estate planning systems. Here is a list of some of the more significant differences which a trust attorney can explain in further detail:

  • A will and the property in the will is subject to the probate process; a trust and assets in the trust are not subject to the probate process. However, assets in both plans may be subject to federal estate tax and to state death tax.
  • Because a trust does not go through the probate process it may remain a private affair; a will goes through probate and therefore it becomes accessible to the public.
  • A will allows you to assign a guardian for your minor children; a trust allows you to control when and how your minor children, grandchildren and other dependents access your trust assets.
  • Often, the costs to set up and manage a trust can be much higher than setting up a will.
  • The assets in a will do not need to be managed; a trust can only plan for assets which have actively been transferred into the trust, therefore the assets in a trust need to be actively managed.
  • The actions of a trustee are not usually overseen by a court; the actions of an executor of a will are court supervised through the probate process.
  • Because a will is only effective after death, it does not allow for instances where the person becomes incapacitated through injury or illness; a trust provides a plan for the possibility of incapacity.

So, which is better?
Obviously both have their pros and their cons and if this breakdown of wills and trusts cannot help you decide which plan you should use, a qualified and knowledgeable trust attorney will be able to point you in the right direction and help you put together a comprehensive estate plan.

Can I Get by Without a Will or Trust Attorney?

While you may be able to buy some documents to help you set up your own will, hiring a wills and trust attorney is your best bet when it comes to making sure your wishes are legally documented and carried out after you pass away.

Florida has specific state requirements that determine what can be included in a will or a trust. If you are not up to speed on the specific state requirements, you should consult with a wills and trusts attorney when naming a personal representative, beneficiaries, or any specific instructions for your estate.

Also, you may feel like you have an easy estate to plan, but if you are in a second marriage (or third, fourth, etc.), are recently divorced, have any minor children, children with any special needs, or want to leave some of your estate to a charity, you have an estate that could use the expert planning advice of a wills and trusts attorney.

Without the proper legal estate plans in place, a large portion of your estate could be lost during the probate process. However, with the proper preparations from a knowledgeable wills and trusts attorney, your estate could be well protected, making sure your beneficiaries receive all that you wish.

One missing document, or unsigned piece of paper, could be the difference between a legal will or one that can easily be contested. Don’t take a chance on doing it yourself. Hire a wills and trust attorney at Reinfeld and Cabrera, P.A. We not only provide wills preparation to control the disposition of property upon death, but we also prepare trusts, including revocable, special needs, minor, generation skipping, irrevocable, charitable and other trusts.