Estate Planning

Single Parent Estate Planning

Questions I hear almost weekly from potential clients:

“I am a single mother and the father of my baby is not in his life, nor on the birth certificate. Will he get the baby when I die or will he get the baby’s inheritance?”

This question comes to me at least weekly and is complex. I am an estate planning attorney in Florida and work with many young people to establish an estate plan, should they die unexpectedly.     

We live in a world where the traditional nuclear family has changed. Children are raised by two fathers, children are raised by single mothers, whose father is not in the picture, and the child does not know the father.  Children are raised by single fathers, whose mother is not in the picture or their lives.  As an estate planning attorney, I can do some great planning that can keep the children’s inheritance out of the hands of the uninvolved parent.  

So many times, I see the results of no planning or poor planning. For example, if a child’s mother dies, she has done no planning at all, and the wealth will go through guardianship court, where the child’s other parent can petition the court for legal guardianship, over the property, and be appointed.   That can be avoided completely, by setting up a trust for the child, where you have the ability to name who is in charge of those assets (the Trustee). And the other parent cannot get anywhere near those assets. A Trust is a private document that passes your property to your loved ones and heirs and allows control over how your heirs use the trust property.  I do not recommend being in guardianship court, as no one is happy, and the extra attorney fees and court costs can diminish the child’s inheritance.

As far as who gets to raise the child, a natural parent is, by law, a legal guardian, of the person of the child.  The family court would decide who will be the guardian of the person of the child, but anything you put in writing in your Last Will and Testament or Pre Need Guardian Document, would carry great weight with the court. As I do not practice family law, we need a family attorney to weigh in on these issues.  Planning through legal documents for your minor children, when you are gone, is one of the important acts you can do for your children as a parent.

Charitable Giving Tuesday

According to Wikipedia, Giving Tuesday was initially started in 2011 and called Cyber Giving Monday. It was created by the non-profit Mary-Arrchie Theater Company and then Producing Director Carlo Lorenzo Garcia urging donors to take a different approach to filling up an online virtual cart with goods.[2] The push was moved to Tuesday the following year as to not compete with Cyber Monday by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). To be logical, it seems that we should have Giving Tuesday before Black Friday, when people have a lot more money to give, right? What about giving Thursday?

There are thousands of worthy charities to contribute to, right here in Central Florida. Did you know that Florida has incorporated approximately 12,000 nonprofits per year every year for more than ten years? This is hard to believe.  

One of my favorites is the lovely project which can be found at www.thelovelyproject.org. They operate out of a church on the west side of Orlando.  The Lovely Project is a Non-Profit Organization that exists to empower girls by providing them with tools, education and peer-mentorship for living a purposeful, productive life. The mission is for every young girl to grow into a woman who will create positive impact on the world around them. 

According to a series of Gallup polls, more than 80 percent of Americans support one or more charities each year. Although tax considerations play a role, charitable planning for the purpose of eliminating or minimizing one’s tax burden is typically not the primary motivator for most estate planning clients. We represent clients of all economic status, who want to get their legal affairs in order.  I am delighted to see that the majority of Americans do give!  

Considering setting up a thorough estate plan this holiday season, as the ultimate gift for your family. Come see us at CPLS, P. A., downtown Orlando Office, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your specific case and circumstances. Attorney Hallie Zobel is a member of the firm’s Estate Planning Practice Group.  

Hallie Zobel

Hallie Zobel

Estate Planning Attorney
hzobel@cplspa.com

The Gift of Planning

What is the greatest gift you can give family, children, a loved one? Some would answer spending time with them, some would answer love, some would answer money, some would answer a college education. 

What about a carefully thought out estate plan, contemplating who will be in charge when you are gone, or designated persons for medical and financial decisions while you are alive?  It seems like an odd gift, doesn’t it? But I cannot think of a more important one.  According to the website Caring.com, only forty-two percent of U.S. adults have a Will. I would bet it is even less than that.

Famed rocker Eddie Money died this year. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Money may have been worth about $20 million at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife and five children, but the directives of his Will are not yet clear or haven’t been discovered.  Gosh, I certainly hope that he had a Will, to protect his estate from unnecessary taxes.  His estate will be subject to the federal estate tax for 2019, and depending on what his estate plan is, it depends on what has to be paid. Supposedly, Money sold over 5 million albums during his career.  Wow, and factoring in royalties, the estate value could be difficult to quantitate.

Considering setting up a thorough estate plan this holiday season, as the ultimate gift for your family. Come see us at CPLS, P. A., downtown Orlando Office, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney to discuss your specific case and circumstances. Attorney Hallie Zobel is a member of the firm’s Estate Planning Practice Group. 

Hallie Zobel

Hallie Zobel

Estate Planning Attorney
hzobel@cplspa.com