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Trusts

Types of Trusts You Should Know

A trust is a common way of transferring wealth from one generation to another as a part of an estate plan. Depending on your estate, having a trust may have several advantages. Below, we discuss the different types of trusts so you can evaluate which one should be a part of your estate plan. 

What is a trust? 

A trust is a fiduciary relationship between a trustor (the person creating the trust), a trustee (the person managing it), and beneficiaries (those receiving the assets of the estate). A trust is a way of transferring the property and assets of an estate without going through the probate process after the trustor passes away. Trusts cannot be contested in court, which speeds up the process of dividing assets. Trusts go into effect once created, even if the trustor is still living. Trusts give trustors and trustees more control of their assets and estate division. However, they are generally more expensive to establish and must be regularly managed. Every trust must include a trustor, a trustee, a successor trustee, and beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts to serve the needs of your estate. Below, we discuss the most common ones. 

Living trusts

Living trusts are established when the trustor is still living and managed during their lifetime. They can be changed and altered after their creation. While the trustor is still living, the property and assets within the trust are owned by them. A living trust becomes “operational” after the trustor’s passing. A living trust may be revocable or irrevocable. 

Revocable trusts

Revocable trusts are a type of living trust with the purpose of avoiding probate. Once the trust is set up, no lawyer or court fees will need to be paid. Once the trustor dies, the property in a revocable trust is immediately transferred to the named beneficiaries.

 Irrevocable trusts 

Irrevocable trusts are often established for tax reasons. These types of trusts cannot be altered or revised. The trustor loses control of the assets in this trust when creating it. These types of trusts help with planning for Medicaid, gifts, and tax from life insurance payouts. 

Testamentary trusts 

Testamentary trusts are trusts that are established from instructions in someone’s will. This type of trust allows a trustee to distribute estate funds to beneficiaries after the trustor passes away. The will’s executor is in charge of this type of trust. These trusts reduce estate tax liabilities but still need to go through probate. Another benefit of these trusts is that you can name minors as beneficiaries and establish milestones or timeframes that will give them access to the assets in the trust, such as when they turn 18 or graduate college. 

 Charitable trusts 

Charitable trusts are trusts established to gift funds or assets to charity after the trustor passes away. Charitable trusts reduce or avoid the estate tax liability of the gift. 

Winter Park estate attorney: Boutty Law Firm 

An experienced estate planning attorney at the Boutty Law Firm will help you determine which type of trust is best for your particular estate. We will also walk you through other estate planning options based on your needs. Call us at 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation. 

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Living will

What is a living will?

One aspect of estate planning is advanced directive documentation. Advance directives are written preferences for medical care when you are unable to make medical decisions independently. One important advanced directive is a living will. A living will specifies your desires for medical treatments if you are unable to communicate your desires. Read to learn more about living wills and how to create one as part of your estate planning documentation. 

What is a living will? 

A living will establishes someone’s wishes for medical care and treatment if they cannot communicate their needs. Typical situations where a living will may be beneficial are in a coma, badly injured, terminally ill, or in the late stages of dementia. In addition, having a living will helps your loved ones make better medical decisions on your behalf.  

Elements of a living will 

There are several elements you should include in a living will. You will want to think about particular treatments and procedures you are willing to undergo and which ones you are not. Also, it is essential to think about your desires when you are nearing the end of your life. Do you value life preservation or self-sufficiency? Do you want specific treatments based on your prognosis? Answering these sometimes difficult questions will lead to better decisions in the future. 

Preferences for medical treatments 

 You will want to specify your desires regarding the use of life support equipment like feeding tubes, ventilators, and dialysis in your living will. If you wish to have this type of equipment used, you will want to specify the duration you would like to remain on life support equipment. 

Pain management 

You should include your preferences on antibiotics and antiviral medications in your living will. You can also specify your preferences regarding hospice care and comfort when facing a terminal diagnosis. 

Organ donation

If you wish to donate your organs, it’s advisable to include this in your living will. You can also specify whether you want to donate your body to science. 

Do Not Resuscitate and Do Not Incubate orders 

While Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and Do Not Incubate (DNI) orders are typically specified in your medical records, you can also include this information in your living will. However, make sure your health care physicians are aware of these orders so they can add the information to your medical file. 

Creating a living will 

In Florida, a living will must be signed by the person seeking treatment and two witnesses. One witness cannot be a spouse or blood relative. While it’s not necessary for a living will to be notarized in Florida, it is beneficial. Once a living will is created, you’ll need to send copies to your medical care team, and you should also keep a copy for yourself in a safe place. Also, discuss your living will and desires for medical treatment with your family so everyone is on the same page.

Choose the Boutty Law Firm for estate planning

A living will is one aspect of your estate planning documentation and should be updated every ten years. At the Boutty Law Firm, we assist clients in all aspects of estate planning, including creating legally binding living wills and last wills. We serve all of Central Florida. Visit our office in Winter Park, or call 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation. 

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Real estate law

Should I Work With a Real Estate Attorney?

In today’s current real estate climate, buyers are abundant, but inventory is low. As a result, many buyers negotiate various elements of their purchase offer to make it more attractive to the seller, like waiving inspections and appraisals. Working with a real estate attorney during these transactions will ensure your contract is in good legal standing, lessening the chance the deal will fall through during the closing process. Here are the types of transactions where it is beneficial to hire a real estate attorney. 

Commercial real estate transactions

Commercial real estate transactions require a different set of logistics compared to residential transactions. If you are a land developer or business owner looking to build a new retail space, you must ensure your building adheres to local zoning laws. This can be a complicated process, which is why an experienced real estate attorney can help make sure your development plans meet all requirements before construction begins. 

Closing assistance

During the closing process, a real estate attorney can serve many roles. They look over closing contracts and documents and make sure both parties are aware and understand its terms. Real estate attorneys gather the necessary paperwork, such as the seller’s disclosure statement, commercial leases, and sales finalization papers, to ensure they are legal and ready to enforce. During the closing, real estate attorneys are present to secure a smooth and orderly transition from buyer to seller.

Appraisal appeals and negotiation 

An appraisal is an integral part of securing a mortgage for a home loan. Lenders want to know that the property you are looking to purchase is worth the price the buyers are selling it for, and having an appraiser assess the property is the most common way to do this. Unfortunately, in this hot real estate market, a home may not appraise for the offer price. When this happens, buyers may have to come up with the cash to make up the difference in the appraised value and the offer price to secure a mortgage. Instead, some homebuyers appeal the appraisal—which is where a real estate attorney can assist. A real estate attorney will help negotiate the appraisal appeal on your behalf, citing factors such as the comparable properties (“comps”) that were used and additional home improvements that may increase the home’s value. 

Title and lien searches 

Another critical part of the real estate transaction process is the title and lien search, which helps determine whether the seller has the legal ownership and right to sell the property. A Real estate attorney will develop a detailed report, including a history of ownership, a list of current mortgages, and any liens on the property. This allows the potential homeowners to purchase the home free and clear.

The Boutty Law Firm: Orlando real estate attorneys 

Our experienced real estate attorneys at The Boutty Law Firm can assist in all aspects of real estate law and transactions, whether commercial or residential. If you are a real estate agent or a potential homeowner, let us partner with you to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. Visit our office in Winter Park, or call 407-622-1395 to schedule a consultation.

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estate planning

The Executor’s Role During Probate

The executor serves a critical role in the probate process. An executor acts as the main point of contact between the grieving family and the probate court and manages the estate during the probate process. Whether you are determining who should be your estate’s executor, or you were appointed as the executor of someone else’s Will, it is essential to understand the key roles and responsibilities an executor holds during the probate process. 

Naming an executor 

The executor has many responsibilities and serves a significant role within the probate process. The executor must be responsible and ensure the deceased’s last wishes are carried out in ordinance with the will and the law. They must also be able to solve problems when issues regarding the estate come up. Due to the immense duties the executor performs, it is essential to discuss your intentions with the person you choose when creating your will.

Executor’s responsibilities 

Once a death certificate, will, and other documents are presented to the probate court, the executor will be given legal authority to execute the will. Below are the primary responsibilities an executor will be in charge of during the probate process.

Liaison between family and probate court 

After the will is validated, the executor will become the primary contact between the probate court and the family, asking questions, attending meetings, and resolving issues. Therefore, it is crucial to choose an executor who is a close family member or friend who can communicate with the probate court and family members.  

Notify beneficiaries and creditors 

Beneficiaries have the right to know that they were included in someone’s will and it is the executor’s responsibility to inform them. After beneficiaries are notified, the executor will also tell creditors and agencies about the person’s passing. This may include credit card companies, lenders, government agencies, and financial institutions. Creditors will submit claims on the estate if they are owed funds from the deceased. During this time, the executor should also establish an estate bank account.

Manage and protect the estate 

The executor is in charge of assessing the estate’s value, including personal assets, real estate property, and bank accounts. They must provide the probate court with an inventory of assets to determine the entire estate’s value. The executor will also keep the deceased’s property safe before distribution to beneficiaries. All debts and credits must be paid before assets are distributed, and the executor will ensure they are not distributed prematurely. Executors are also in charge of the care and maintenance of the deceased’s property, including maintaining landscaping and paying bills. 

Disperse funds to beneficiaries 

Once the estate’s value is assessed, the executor manages the distribution of funds to creditors, then to the beneficiaries. Executors may be held personally liable for fund mismanagement during probate, so executors must be able to follow all instructions. The executor uses the funds in the estate account to pay expenses like funeral and burial costs, credit card debts, and owed taxes. The executor is also in charge of filing the deceased’s final tax return. 

The Boutty Law Firm: experienced probate attorneys 

In the state of Florida, executors should seek counsel from a probate attorney when handling a deceased’s estate. The Boutty Law Firm and its experienced probate attorneys provide thoughtful guidance for executors during the probate process. Call our office at 407-622-1395 to speak with a probate lawyer today. 

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zoninglaws

How Do Community Zoning Laws Affect Your Business Expansion?

Zoning laws exist to help communities expand and grow effectively. Community zoning laws help create thriving economies with space for different types of businesses and residential properties. Zoning is usually part of a town’s “master plan,” a comprehensive strategy of how the city would like to grow in the future. Zoning is an important legal matter because it determines where you may build a commercial structure, open a new business, or construct a home or subdivision. Therefore, it is essential to understand how a local municipality’s zoning laws will affect your plans to build a new home or business. 

What are zoning laws? 

Zoning laws are legal ordinances that divide the land in a city or town into distinct sections, called districts. Zoning regulations specify what kinds of structures can be put in specific community areas, restricting the type of buildings allowed within the particular district. They also regulate the building size and location, such as how tall the building can be, lot size, density of the surrounding area, and square footage. 

Why are zoning laws necessary? 

Restricting the types of businesses and structures within a district allows for different enterprises to flourish. Zoning laws can influence the overall community structure and tone. For instance, by separating commercial zones from residential ones, homeowners can live in an area with limited traffic and less noise than if a commercial building was allowed in the same place. Zoning laws can also help restore and maintain the historic integrity of a particular area, as seen in the historic downtowns of many of the cities located in Central Florida. 

Local zoning districts 

Zoning districts may vary between individual cities, but generally, they fall into categories and subcategories of commercial and residential properties. For example, in Orange County, there are five zoning districts: 

Commercial 

This zoning district may include office spaces, wholesale commercial structures, retail shopping complexes, and stores. 

Industrial 

Industrial zones are for factories, manufacturing plants, and storage facilities. In Orange County, there are three subcategories of industrial zones: light, medium, and heavy. 

Residential 

Just like industrial districts, there are several subcategories within this zoning district as well. Residential communities may include specified rural areas, mobile home parks, University residential districts, urban villages, and residential subdivisions.  

Agricultural 

Agricultural zones include farmland. In Orange County, there is even a special denotation for citrus farming.

Rezoning

 If you are looking to open a business in an area that is not currently zoned for it, you can apply to amend the current zoning code. To apply to amend the zoning district, you will need to contact the county’s Planning Division. Suppose there is a disagreement about what type of district your business belongs to. In that case, there may need to be a public hearing where people can voice their opinions on the new construction. 

Central Florida zoning and land use attorneys 

The Boutty Law Firm offers experienced real estate attorneys who guide you through various real estate-related issues such as applying for the correct permits, negotiating, and litigating real estate issues. Contact our Winter Park office at 407-622-1395 to get started. 

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