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Cape Coral Legal Blog

How can I revoke a power of attorney?

All estate planning documents should include a valid power of attorney. If you appointed a friend or relative as your power of attorney quite some time ago, circumstances may have changed that cause you to need to revoke this designation.

Perhaps the person you appointed has passed away or moved to a distant location where it would no longer be convenient for them to act in your stead if you become incapacitated. Maybe the two of you had a falling out or the person developed a drug or alcohol problem that caused you to no longer want them in charge of your affairs. What should be your next move?

An important estate planning step for those who own a business

Running your own business can be rewarding and offer you the kind of freedom most people can only dream of having. However, assuming the role of creator and operator for a company also comes with a lot of responsibility. You will have to consider things that most people never do and learn skills that you never would need if you were just an employee somewhere.

One important planning consideration that too many business owners overlook is the need to have some kind of plan in place in the event that you fall ill or are otherwise unable to take care of the business temporarily. Someone needs the authority to act on your expectations.

Tips for investing in Florida real estate

According to Forbes, Florida is an investor’s dream. The migration of snowbirds, retirees and foreign entrepreneurs cause continual shifts in home prices. The recession remains one of the main factors that ever affected the home prices in Florida. Home prices more than doubled before the recession, but then dropped to 60% afterward. Since then, home prices have begun a steep climb yet again.

Job growth is the most important factor that drives the demand for new housing, whether to buy or rent. The national average for job growth is just around 1.8% but there are cities in Florida where it is considerably higher in 2019:

  •          4.7% in Orlando
  •          4.2% in Crestview
  •          3.9% in Cape Coral-Fort Myers
  •          3.8% in Ocala
  •          3.8% in Lakeland
  •          3.7% in North Port-Bradenton

What are some ways antitrust laws affect small businesses?

Florida is home to some of the most competitive small businesses in the south. While antitrust laws typically involve larger businesses, such as multinational corporations, it is important to remember that small businesses are not immune to allegations of anti-competitive prices. This may happen when companies collude with competitors to fix the price against consumers, or when competitors engage in underhanded activities to undermine each other.

According to CNBC, the Department of Justice uses a “no economic sense test” to determine whether or not a company violates antitrust laws. If a large monopoly made a business decision that only suited its desires to eliminate the competition, it would fail the test. Even when businesses play fair and gain a big advantage over competitors, it must take care with additional steps that may make it difficult or impossible for other companies in its industry to catch up.

Mistakes to avoid in estate administration and will execution

Family members in Florida often fight over the privilege of becoming the person in charge of estate administration. However, few people really understand the work that comes with executing the responsibilities that accompany this role or that of an executor.

The administrator or executor of an estate has the legal obligation to tie up any loose ends related to the deceased person’s affairs, all while abiding by state laws. In the case of the executor, they must also act in accordance with the will, which may not always be in accordance with state laws.

What are powers of attorney designations?

One thing that many people don't think about when they are estate planning in Florida is the need to have someone make decisions for them if they aren't able to make those decisions on their own. Part of the reason for this is that estate planning advertisements usually focus on handing down assets when you pass away.

It isn't pleasant to think about not being able to make decisions for yourself, but taking the time to think about what you want done if this happens is important. You need to have someone named as your attorney-in-fact who can make those decisions for you in the same manner that you would make for yourself. This is done by setting up a power of attorney.

What is digital estate planning?

When you consider estate planning, you may think about writing a will to describe how you want your belongings distributed among your survivors when you pass away. However, you may also want to think about making a digital estate plan. While Florida, like most other states, has specific guidelines for traditional wills, there is not as much guidance for digital estate planning. This relatively new concept is not yet well-defined, but there are some basic steps that may help you start the process.

FindLaw states that digital assets include more than just your email accounts and smartphone pictures. If you have a blog or website, a library of digital music and videos or an e-commerce store, all of these things count as digital assets. It is essential to figure out how you want your survivors to access and manage these things after you die.

How can I avoid foreclosure scams?

When faced with foreclosure, it's natural to want to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening. This leads to many well-meaning people to fall prey to foreclosure scams, which promise homeowners help that never actually materializes. Being able to identify these scams is a must to prevent you from throwing your money away. In this case, PennyMac offers the following advice. 

The first step is to understand how some of the most common scams work. You may be contacted by an individual who claims to have a strong relationship with your lender. After providing this person an upfront fee, and possibly a few mortgage payments, he or she will claim to be negotiating on your behalf to get a lower mortgage payment. In some cases, homeowners are even instructed to cease making mortgage payments until negotiations are complete. This leads to even more issues and might speed up the foreclosure process. 

Why do people procrastinate estate planning?

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make with your estate planning is just putting it off. If you procrastinate for too long, there's a chance that you could pass away before you get around to it. This can create all sorts of problems for your heirs and may lead to some serious estate disputes.

To better understand why this happens, even though everyone knows they will need an estate plan someday, let's take a closer look at why people opt to procrastinate.

Know the inheritance rights of the surviving spouse in Florida

Florida law has many rules in place for managing probate and estate issues. Generally speaking, if the family members of someone who dies don't agree with the terms of the last will or estate plan, the family can challenge the plan in probate court. The courts will also handle arrangements for those who die without a valid last will or estate plan on record.

In some cases, the courts find themselves in the uncomfortable position of helping one individual whose rights wind up violated through the administration of an estate or the terms included in a last will. Many times, it is a spouse who has to worry about whether the terms of the last will violate their legal rights under Florida state law.

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