J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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March 2018 Archives

Are electronic wills and notaries coming to Florida?

A will is an important component - typically the centerpiece - of a solid estate plan. And to be valid in Florida, all wills must be properly executed (signed) by the testator. When it comes to preparing a will in the Sunshine State, one of the main requirements is that the signature of the testator must be witnessed by at least two other people. This helps to prevent fraud and reduce the chances of the will's validity being challenged.

Why do I need title insurance?

You may have always wanted to own a home in Florida, a place where you can raise your family or simply live out your dreams. Now that you are ready to purchase, it may shock you to see the list of expenses required during closing. Among them is the cost of title insurance, which may seem unnecessary because you are also paying for a title search.

What is an elective share in Florida?

A prevalent trope in popular media and literature, the notion of a spouse being written out of a will - and often blindsided at the reading - is archaic, and in Florida, next to impossible. This is because there is a strong public policy interest in ensuring that a surviving spouse is able to support him or herself and continues to enjoy, at least to some extent, the life to which they had become accustomed. State laws, including recent changes, have long recognized this.

Cryptocurrencies can confuse Florida estate plans

As cryptocurrencies have proliferated, while growing in popularity as an investment or speculation vehicle, laws, regulations and attorneys have struggled to keep up. Currently, the IRS treats cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, as property rather than as currency. However, as agencies rush to regulate such cyber funds, the laws and rules surrounding them are certain to change. This, in turn, makes planning for estates that include cryptocurrencies a rather dynamic process.

Plan for your loved ones' futures in Florida

While it is often explored in art and literature, mortality is not always a favorite topic among regular, work-a-day folks in Florida. Thinking about the outer limits and eventual end of life is dark, often depressing, and usually avoided. An unfortunate consequence of this aversion to considering mortality is a failure to plan for it. Failing to plan for one's eventual death can undermine what you wish for your loved ones and leave them on the hook for taxes and expenses that could otherwise have been avoided.

What is intestacy in Florida?

When one dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. In Florida, when a person dies and has left no will, the Florida intestate succession statutes will determine how the assets of the decedent will be distributed. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that the assets will be distributed in a way that the decedent may have wished or hoped for - nor will the tax consequences to those who inherit be particularly favorable. This is why estate planning is crucial.