Category Archives: Estate Planning

13 of the Weirdest Will Requests in Estate Planning History, By Heidi S Webb: Attorney at Law, Daytona Beach

Yep. No joke. Read on for more weird will requests.

Yep. No joke. Read on for more weird will requests…

People are weird. People’s possessions are weird. What people do with their possessions is weird. Estate planning isn’t so weird. In fact, it’s a regular “adult” thing to do, and it’s pretty crucial if not slightly necessary for the wellbeing and comfort of your family and loved ones.

When you’re an estate planning attorney, even in notorious Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s not very often that you come across weird wills or quirky (or downright disturbing and perplexing estate plans), but after hearing a few “doozies” on the topic of famous weird will requests, I’ve compiled some that might give you a laugh, a shock––or just make you scratch your head a little. 

Here are 13 of the weirdest last will and testament requests in the history of estate planning:

  1. The guy that wanted his skin turned into drums and played to the tune of “Yankee Doodle” once a year.

When S. Sanborn (an American hat maker) died in 1871, he left his body to science, bequeathing it to a guy named Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., (a professor of anatomy at Harvard Medical School). Sanborn’s will stipulated that two drums were to be made out of Sanborn’s skin and given to a friend. There was another condition: every June 17 at dawn his friend was instructed to drum out the tune “Yankee Doodle” at Bunker Hill in order to commemorate the anniversary of the famous Revolutionary War battle. The rest of his body was “to be composted for a fertilizer to contribute to the growth of an American elm, to be planted in some rural thoroughfare.” How cute.

 

  1. William Shakespeare lovingly giving his wife his “second best” mattress.

william shakespeare weird will request heidi webb daytona attorney blog

When Will Shakespeare died in 1616, he left something of question in his last will and testament: He bequeathed his “second best bed” to his wife, Anne Hathaway. Historians have speculated about the act; however, leaving a bed to someone in those days wasn’t all that weird (a quality bed with no fleas or pests was highly prized)––but why she got his “second best” one is still a mystery.

 

  1. The rich dude that believed in reincarnation, so he kept paying his large group of staff members to keep up his mansion for almost 60 years after his death… Can you imagine the house parties the servants must have thrown?

John Bowman (1816-1891) believed in reincarnation so much, it drove him to leave a trust of $50,000 for his afterlife along with his wife and daughters. The trust paid to maintain his mansion and for the servants to serve dinner each night on the off chance that the family were hungry when they came back from beyond the grave. This continued until 1950 when the trust ran dry.

 

4.  The lady that left a running sum of over 14 million to her dogs.

Each pup was tattooed to prove their membership in the original 150. The pets lived out their final days at a sprawling ranch in Florida.

Each pup was tattooed to prove their linage. The pets lived out their final days at a sprawling ranch in Florida.

Eleanor E. Ritchey, heiress to the Quaker State Refining Corporation, passed on her $4.5 million fortune to her 150 dogs when she died in Florida in 1968. The will was contested, and in 1973 the dogs received $9 million (must have had a decent attorney). By the time the estate was finally settled, its value had jumped to $14 million but only 73 of the dogs were still alive. When discussing the female canines left in the will, sources say the term “rich b****” comes to mind. When the last of the family dogs died in 1984, the remainder of the estate went to the Auburn University Research Foundation for research into animal diseases.

 

  1. Grace Kelly’s dad snubbing members of the male persuasion from his final will and testament.

Grace Kelly‘s father, John B Kelly, had a somewhat notable request in his will. He left his vast fortune to his daughters ONLY, purposely leaving his son-in-laws out. He stated, “I don’t want to give the impression that I am against [them]. If they are the right type, they will provide for themselves and their families, and what I am able to give my daughters will help pay the dress shop bills which, if they continue as they started out under the able tutelage of their mother, will be quite considerable.”

 

  1. Janis Joplin’s freaking-awesome “Party Clause” – added to her will two days before her death. Now that’s timely estate planning for you…
janis joplin final will request daytona estate planning attorney heidi s webb

If only we all had friends like Janis…

Another notorious celebrity will tidbit for you: Known for her heavy drinking and drug use, Janis Joplin died of an overdose on October 4, 1970. Janis made changes to her will just two days before her death. She set aside $2,500 to pay for a posthumous all-night party for 200 guests at her favorite pub in San Anselmo, California, “so my friends can get blasted after I’m gone.” The bulk of her estate reportedly went to her parents.

 

  1. Houdini’s will requests discussions with his wife from beyond the grave, in the afterlife.
I wonder if he'll be wearing that in the afterlife...

I wonder if he’ll be wearing that in the afterlife…

Harry Houdini’s will insisted his wife conduct a seance each year so he could see and speak to her, and he included a special code so that she’d know it was his spirit…

 

8.  The Star Trek star’s will that states his ashes go galactic when he’s goners.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry demanded his ashes be buried in space. Cool, makes sense I s’pose.

 

9.  The estate planning move involving a requested burial in a Pringles can. Yes, a Pringles can.

You'll never look at a can of Pringles the same way again

You’ll never look at a can of Pringles the same way again

Pringles founder Fred Baur’s last will and testament requested he be cremated and buried in a Pringles can. Enough said. If you’re interested in the topic, here’s a TIME article that goes a little deeper into the matter. 

 

10.   Another rich lady with a dog, but this one’s not so heartwarming. 

Businesswoman Leona Helmsley left her family out of the will, and her 12-million dollar fortune went to her Maltese.

 

11.  And now for the sweetest estate planning last will and testament request ever made, ever:

Before passing away from pancreatic cancer in 1974, comedian Jack Benny left a large sum of money in his will to the local florist, with the promise that one long-stemmed red rose be delivered to his wife of 47 years, Mary, everyday for the rest of her life. 

"What can I say? I'm a sweetheart..."

“What can I say? I’m a sweetheart…”

 

12.  The guy who wanted to be embalmed and stuffed with hay so he could sit and stare at you forevermore.

You can make some pretty outlandish requests in your will, but this one’s out there: Lawyer, philosopher and social reformer, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) – as per his will’s instructions – was embalmed, stuffed with hay, dressed, and placed in a chair. His body is displayed at University College London in a glass case.

 

13. Author leaves his literal birth date to a friend who had that dreaded “Christmas Birthday” curse. Nice guy!

Sadface...

Sadface…

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, decided not to leave money or property to loved ones, but something far more personal: His birthday. He gave his birthday to his friend Annie H. Ide, whose birthday fell on Christmas day and who admitted to Stevenson that she felt cheated out of a “real birthday” – He left her his birthday of November 13th. 

And there you have it, the weirdest will requests in estate planning history. Which one shocked you the most, let us know on Facebook. 

 

About HeidHeidi Webb Daytona Beach Attorneyi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is a Daytona Beach estate planning and small business attorney serving the areas of Daytona, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and beyond with wills, trusts, medicaid planning, small business law, and more. For estate planning and small business tips, follow Heidi S. Webb Attorney at Law on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+. 

Daytona Beach Attorney Heidi S. Webb: 10 Things You May Not Know About Me

I thought I’d take a breather from my attorney posts about elder law, estate planning and small business advice of a legal nature to share some facts about me that you (and likely many of my friends and colleagues) may not know. Here are 10 facts about me that may surprise you:

You're about  to learn a whole lot more about Heidi S. Webb: attorney, chef, and anti diet coke crusader.

Welcome to the Dark Side – You’re about to learn a whole lot more about Heidi S. Webb: attorney, chef, and anti diet coke crusader.

I hate eggplant.

I’ll eat (and even cook) pretty much anything. But eggplant is perhaps the one and only thing on my list of “no freaking way am I going to eat that!” If you’re cooking up eggplant parm for dinner, kindly leave me off the guest list! For other, more palatable ideas, check out my food blog. 

 I am strictly anti-Diet Coke.

That stuff is the sweat of evil demons that have come to steal your soul (or at least your health, well-being and vitality), with an addictive, flowing nectar made from nasty, noxious chemicals. Diet Coke = Bubble Trouble. Please do your research and kick the can if you haven’t already. As of the date of this post, I’m officially nearly 2 months clean of my dirty habit drinking diet soda. I now have a loving relationship with my soda stream and bubbly water. Here’s to better health!

My favorite food is adventurous gastro-pub type food – I’ll try anything, even if it seems weird!

On my other blog I’ve listed my favorite restaurants in Daytona and Ormond Beach, but I’ll go anywhere for that adventurous gastro-pub style food. Lucky for me it’s oh so in right now. Score!

I make what could possibly be the best risotto ever.

You know that show with the angry red-faced guy, Gordon Ramsey of Hell’s Kitchen? Well I’ve watched him go postal on many a contestant over the shoddy excuses for risotto that they’ve turned out in the studio kitchen. I believe, without a doubt, that I could singlehandedly bring a smile to that dude’s face with my utterly exceptional risotto. Yes, it’s that good. And here is the master himself…

Meme from imgarcade.com

Meme from imgarcade.com

I applied for the television show The Amazing Race 2 years ago, along with my best friend.

Needless to say I didn’t end up traveling the world for a bunch of money and notoriety, but I love my jobs, my family, and my life working and living around beautiful Daytona Beach, FL. Gotta love the Sunshine State.

I used to have my CDL and drove an 18 Wheeler cross country with my husband when I first got married [AFTER I graduated from Law School]. 

When David & I first got married we moved –jobless– to New Mexico.  An opportunity came up to go to Green Bay WI and be trained to drive tractor trailers.  So, young & dumb [but not without higher degrees] we headed off.  It was an adventure.  No regrets but after driving all over the US we happily retired and settled into our careers.

 I like all types of music – even Eminem!

I was a rocker in my younger years. I’m blessed with very responsible, mature kids – and I’m not saying that I wasn’t because I was in my own “Heidi” way; however, I rocked out on the regular to some good old classic rock when I was in my teens and twenties.  Now, I’m into all kinds of music, from top 20 hits to throwbacks from the old-school days. Not to be that guy (or, gal, should I say) with the clichés, but I have very “eclectic” taste.

I believe drinking White Zin is a cardinal sin (it’s almost worse than Diet Coke)!

Friends don't let friends drink White Zin. In fact,  wouldn't wish a glass of it on my worst enemy.

Friends don’t let friends drink White Zin. In fact, wouldn’t wish a glass of it on my worst enemy.

No offense to the White Zin drinkers out there, but: we probably won’t be bonding over a glass of Arbor Mist anytime soon… 

I make a mean Mojito – and I have over 20 recipes for them.

I never buy premixed drinks (unless it’s a certain infused simple syrup) – when someone wants a Mojito at Chez Webb, I take a trip to the herb garden, get down and dirty with my muddler and a short lifetime later I offer my friends or guests the best dang Mojito their taste buds have ever had the pleasure of basking in. I do make my own drink mix (yes, I have a lot of ventures, or “passions” should I say) – you can check it out at notsosimplesyrup.net.  

My favorite drink at the moment is a Not So Simple Aperol Spritz. 

I like to relax with a pristine craft cocktail. I’ve made so many mojitos for people, that I’m kind of spent on that for now. However, at the moment my favorite treat is Aperol, an Italian aperitif mixed together with orange Not So Simple Syrup & Brut Champagne. Cheers!

heidiwebb picThanks so much for reading. I’m sure you’re beyond enthralled and fascinated with my personal “fact list,” lol – and now’s your chance to print it out, gold-leaf it, bedazzle and frame it, and keep it forever. Stay tuned for more posts of a more legal nature: I try to make estate planning and small business law as exciting as I can, and I think I do a pretty decent job (if I do say so myself). Here’s to being proud and accepting of who we are and who we used to be – unless of course we’re involving Diet Coke or White Zin in the mix, then you should be ashamed of yourself and banished to a dark corner somewhere!

Follow Daytona Beach Attorney Heidi Webb on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ to keep up with her entertaining posts about legal news and advice on the topics of elder law, estate planning, and small business law. Oh, and there might be a quirky blog in there once in a while too. 

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi is an estate planning and small business lawyer located in the Daytona Beach area. She assists clients in Daytona, Ormond, Port Orange, and surrounding areas with a variety of matters, including wills and trusts, probate, Medicaid planning, the purchase or sale of businesses and corporations, help with contracts, and more. 

Estate Planning 101: 3 Things to Know When Making Gifts to Children (or Grandchildren)

Daytona Attorney Heidi Webb and family

Estate planning is a tricky thing, and there are a few things I encourage my clients to think about when they’re drafting their last will and testament. I’ve listed three important considerations that you should be aware of when you draft your will – and even as you reexamine it (which you really should do every few years). No matter who your estate planning attorney is, even is you write your will on a napkin, here are three things to remember when you’re setting up or reviewing your last will and testament:

1. Make sure everyone’s treated equally.

Estate planning–and primarily the lack thereof–can cause a lot of contention between family members. Who gets grandma’s diamond ring? How about the nice China? Will the siblings with children get more than the kids who decided to stay single and play live music at tiki bars for the rest of their lives? In estate planning, it’s really important that everything is equal for children or grandchildren left in the will. You don’t want to leave a wake of resentment, bickering, anger, and emotions when it comes time for your actual wake–know what I mean? Make sure you have your estate planning papers in order, but also make sure they will be perceived as fair by all your loved ones involved. 

2. Consider giving those “gifts” in your lifetime, rather than waiting until you’re gone.

A lot of people make estate planning all about death when in fact they could be making good use of their estate in this lifetime. College is expensive – instead of leaving your children or grandchildren thousands of dollars when they’re likely middle-aged or older (with their own money and their own children and estates to look after [or plan]), invest in their future and wellbeing with gifts like tuition funds and money for their deep passions or productive recreational activities. Hey, you know what? How about planning a family vacation if you have a big trust fund or personal nest egg just sitting there until death does you part. Make memories with your family now. Enjoy your money that you’ve worked hard for and take your family along to do the same. That’s much more meaningful then letting them enjoy your money after your death. And I’m sure they’d much rather have time with you and special memories (and a free vacation) then a bigger check when you pass away. 

 3. Don’t forget about long-term care.

You’re going to need help in your golden years. Therefore you’re going to need plenty of money in your golden years. It’s great to make gifts in this lifetime, but don’t forget the importance of caring for yourself and your own future as well. Medical care is expensive, and you want to be comfortable and secure when you’re older. It’s really important that no matter how healthy or young you are, no matter how much money you have (within reason), you should set a good chunk aside to prepare for the worst – or at least the inevitable. Nursing homes, physical therapy, assisted living, and hospice care should be part of your estate planning mindset. Your health and peace of mind is crucial as you encounter the many limitations and medical upsets that go along with being a senior citizen.

So, those are three basic things I would encourage all of my estate planning clients to consider and prepare for when writing out their will. Keep these things in mind and don’t forget to reexamine your last will and testament every few years to ensure that everything is set up to prevent family squabbles and the financial ills of not preparing for long-term care. 

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law: Heidi Webb is an estate planning and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, Florida. See what clients are saying about Heidi, follow her on Facebook, and connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn. Heidi’s AVVO profile is also available online, as well as many other lawyer referral sites.

Situations That Will Require You to Change Your Last Will & Testament

As an estate planning and elder law attorney, of course I’m going to recommend you make it a point to always reexamine and update your will; however, there are certain instances when you should definitely consult your lawyer and make a change to your last will and testament. I’ve listed these situations below: 

1. You Have a Kid – Or You Get Some Grandchildren.

Obviously when you take steps to have children–or add to your current clan of kids–you’ll want to reexamine your will and make changes to reflect that. However, some forget to make changes to their will in old age, you should always reexamine your estate planning when you’re in your golden years, especially if grandchildren are a big part of your life and/or will

2. You Have New Stuff, or You Got Rid of Old Stuff.

When you make a big purchase (a new car, vacation home, piece of jewelry, etc.) you should consider altering your will to include it. You can name a beneficiary or include it in part of the assets allotted to a current beneficiary. Perhaps you inherit property, this may require altering your current last will and testament.

3. You Get Married or You Divorce.

Any change in your marital status should prompt a review and alteration of your will. Consult your attorney to set the best course for a change in any instance. What’s kosher in one state or jurisdiction may be different in another. 

4. You Change Your Mind About Something or Someone. 

God forbid you have a falling out with a relative, friend or beneficiary. However, if you do it’s likely you want to change your will – do this with your lawyer so that you can make sure there are no loopholes. Also remember that you must be of sound judgment when you change your will. So in other words, wait until the whiskey wears off.

5. You Have a New Partner (or Maybe Even Some Stepchildren You’re Close To).

If you’re not in a state where gay marriage is legal, you’ll (again) best to seek the counsel of an elder law or estate planning attorney. Also, if you get remarried and decide you’d like to include your stepchildren in your will, you should arrange it as soon as you make up your mind that’s what you want.

6. Someone Named in Your Will Dies.

If a death in the family or a death among one of your beneficiaries occurs, it’s time to change your will. It’s not the first thing you’ll think of after a devastating loss, however it’s important you address it in due time.

Ways to Change Your Will

Consult an attorney before you make a change to your will. That’s a surefire way to ensure that your wishes are carried out as you please. Creating a last will and testament can save your family a lot of heartache, stress and trouble after your passing. They’re going to go through enough, so stay on top of your will and keep it updated to avoid any family tension or ambiguity in the future. Remember that in some states it’s imperative that when you change your will you also revoke the old will.

Execution of Codicils

You might want to make a minor change to a will without rewriting the whole document.  Such changes, amendments, or clarifications are called “codicils”.  Florida will recognize these changes to your will, but only if a codicil meets the formal requirements for the original will’s execution. This is why it’s best to check with your attorney before changing your will. 

Heidi S. Webb Attorney at office

 

About Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law – Heidi is an estate planning, elder law and small business attorney located in Daytona Beach, FL. She serves clients in Daytona, Ormond, Port Orange, and surrounding areas. Her office is located in the historic Kress building on Beach Street in Daytona. 

What Makes $14,000 a Magic Number in Estate Planning?

Estate Planning and Gift Tax Returns – Knowing Your Numbers… 

Why is $14,000 a magic number in estate planning? Well, this is the amount of the current (2014-2015) tax exclusion, which means that anyone that gives away (or gifts) $14,000 or less to any one individual does not have to report the gift to the IRS. For those lucky people with an excess of funds, this can be a great way to ensure that your family and heirs get more of what might otherwise be their inheritance when you kick the bucket (hence, the IRS doesn’t take such a large percentage of your estate when you go).

This means someone with a decent amount of money could choose to gift $14,000 a year to one or more grandchildren. That way they–or their grandchildren–can avoid at least some of the hefty taxes that come along with the exchange of a rather large estate. These smaller gifts are made in their lifetime. 

If you gift more than $14,000 to any one person (other than your husband or wife) you will have to file a gift tax return (…in some cases this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll pay a gift tax: You only have to pay a tax if your reportable gifts total more than $5.43 million [figure from 2015] during your lifetime). 

If you have this kind of money to give, you can give this amount to as many people as you like. However, even if you’re wealthy, you need to be cautious about a few things before taking advantage of this magic number.

What You Need to Know:

If you think there is a chance that you will ever need to apply for Medicaid long-term care coverage, you should definitely consult a knowledgable elder law attorney before setting up any sort of gifting plan. Otherwise you may find that a gift you made to a child or grandchild could hurt your chances of getting Medicaid coverage for long-term care costs.

The IRS may not tax you if you stay mindful of the magic gifting number; however, IRS rules and Medicaid asset transfer rules are two separate entities: If you apply for Medicaid long term care coverage within 5 years of gifting, you may face stipulations or consequences when it comes to securing long term care in a nursing home. 

When Gifting: Plan Ahead, but Expect the Unexpected

You never know what life will bring. It’s important to make sure that you’re taken care of before you distribute your assets to loved ones. Make sure that you seek out an attorney that can help you navigate the multiple avenues of estate planning so that you can live with peace of mind and security. 

 

Heidi S. Webb Attorney at office

Heidi S. Webb Attorney at Law is an estate planning and small business attorney serving clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and surrounding areas. Contact Heidi today for a free consultation: (386) 257-3332.

Law office located on the 3rd floor of the historic Kress building on Beach Street in Daytona (handicap accessible). 

Can I Write My Will On A Napkin? Burning Questions About Estate Planning

napkin

Estate planning can be a complex process, and it is never pleasant to predict the end of yours or a loved one’s life. However, a carefully-planned estate can help your family avoid the headache of dividing an inheritance, a problem that has strained many relatives’ relationships in the past. You can write your will yourself; and yes, I suppose you could essentially write it on a napkin––but without an attorney’s help your decisions can easily be contested by the state, your heirs, and other parties you may not want to mess with your property, your rights or your decisions.  

There are four documents that every person, no matter his or her age, should have in the event of an untimely tragedy:

  • Last Will & Testament
  • Living Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Surrogate

What is Power of Attorney, and Who Has It?

Power of Attorney designates who makes legal decisions concerning your estate if you have reached an end-stage condition or passed away. You can name anyone you like, from a trusted family member to an attorney you already have on retainer. Just remember: they will be signing on the dotted line for all of your legal matters.

Perhaps the person possessing power of attorney is also your Health Care Surrogate and can execute both living wills and last wills & testaments (decisions about your healthcare vs. decisions about your property/finances).

How Old Do I Have to Be To Write a Binding Last Will and Testament?

In most cases, you must be a legal adult (18 years of age or older) to write a Last Will & Testament. It must be written in sound judgment and mental capacity, and you must name an executor to carry out your wishes after your death. In many cases, the executor also holds durable power of attorney. An executor is responsible for the following:

  • Taking inventory of property
  • Appraising and distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Paying taxes to Federal and State Governments
  • Settling debts owed by the deceased

How Often Should I Update My Will?

A Last Will & Testament can be updated at any time by the person whose estate it concerns. There are a few key lifestyle changes that can signal when it might be time for a revision:

  • Has the value of your assets changed?
  • Are you recently married, divorced or remarried?
  • Have you recently had a child?
  • Have you moved to a different state?
  • Has your executor become incapacitated, or has your relationship changed in a substantial way?

Generally, an Estate Planning Attorney is an excellent option for making sure that you have at least a basic will and that your will is up-to-date and reflects both your current lifestyle, assets and relationships—and they are trained to keep an eye out for changes that might affect the disbursement of your estate.

So the answer is yes, you can write your will on a napkin—it probably just won’t be distributed the way you truly want it to. To ensure that your Last Will & Testament is carried out to the letter, it’s best to enlist the help of a qualified Elder Law attorney in your area. That way, you can save your family the sometimes bitter fighting that comes with dividing up a deceased loved one’s belongings.

Attorney Heidi S. Webb specializes in Estate Planning and Small Business Law. Her office is located in Daytona Beach, FL, but she serves clients throughout Ormond Beach, Port Orange, and surrounding areas. Contact (386) 257-3332 to set up a free consultation. 

 

Pet Trusts: Will You or Won’t You? Unusual Story of Estate Inheritance Leaves Dogs With 14 Million

When Eleanor E. Ritchey passed away in 1968, she left a lasting gift of her multi-million dollar estate to… her dogs? Mrs. Ritchey had 150 of them, according to court documents, and she left the entirety of her Quaker State Refining Corporation fortune to them when she died. Her will, which stated her wishes, was contested by her family.

The pups eventually received $9 million dollars in a settlement (must’ve had some lawyer), and the figure jumped to $14 million by the time it was disbursed.

When the last of Eleanor’s beloved pets died in 1984, the remainder of the balance was transferred to Auburn University, where it went to a research foundation dedicated to animal diseases. It just goes to show that a solid, well-written will is one of the most binding legal documents you can have, should something unfortunate happen to you or a loved one.

Each pup was tattooed to prove their membership in the original 150. The pets lived out their final days at a sprawling ranch in Florida.

Each pup was tattooed to prove their membership in the original 150. The pets lived out their final days at a sprawling ranch in Florida.

Every Estate is Different, So Why Should Wills Be The Same?

Mrs. Ritchey’s case is not the only time a will has surprised its intended beneficiaries. Each individual and their estate is different, and the services of a dedicated legal advisor can help make sure there are no unpleasant findings when it comes time to disburse the material belongings a loved one has left behind.

In Pets We Trust: Looking After Your Companion in the Afterlife

Most states do not allow for pets to be named as direct beneficiaries in a will or last testament. Instead, it is advisable to set up what is call a “Pet Trust:” simply name a (human) beneficiary who you would want to take care of your furry friend, and establish a monetary trust with them as the beneficiary.

The caretaker of your pet (chosen by you) will then be supervised by a trustee, someone who is responsible for ensuring that Lassie is getting the care provided for her in your will. In most cases, it is wise to choose both a primary and secondary caretaker and trustee, in the case that your first choice is either unwilling or unable to perform their duties.

(Tip: Be sure to list the pet’s name, age, breed, genetic characteristics and defining physical traits in the legal document establishing their trust. This can help to prevent fraud.)

This type of “trust” legal structure allows for your pets needs to be met, and also eliminates any potential legal wrangling that may result from naming your cat or dog as a recipient of your estate.

Heidi Webb is a fully-qualified Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney. She practices primarily in Volusia and Flagler Counties, and is also well-versed in small business law. Heidi’s purpose as a lawyer is to make her clients lives just that much easier during what can be a very trying time, guiding them through a legal process that can seem overwhelming at times. If you live in Port Orange, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, or the surrounding areas, Contact Attorney Heidi S. Webb at (386) 257-3332 for a free consultation, and get the affordable, dedicated and compassionate legal counsel you need.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

If you die without a will in Florida, you have no say over who will get your assets. Instead, the state decides who gets what. Assets will be divided among your closest relatives under the direction of “intestate succession” laws.

If your estate must be settled through probate, a significant amount of your assets may go toward legal fees and court costs. The expenses of the probate process must be covered while they are working to settle your estate, so your assets will be used to cover those expenses. If you plan ahead, a lot of that can be avoided.

Basically, to sum it up, your hard earned assets will go toward expenses rather than to your loved ones. Basic estate planning enables you to distribute assets as you see fit, and if you choose to do so, provisions can be set up so the probate process can be avoided all together.

With proper planning and guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your beneficiaries get more of your assets. Proper planning can also result in much less tax liability and avoid the legal expenses that result from the probate process.

Now is the Time to Take Action

When it comes to estate planning in Daytona Beach and surrounding areas, you can call Heidi S. Webb Attorney at Law for a free consultation. She will work with you and carefully scrutinize your individual situation in order to make the best recommendations for your needs. As an experienced attorney skilled in all aspects of estate planning––including preparation of last will and testaments, durable power of attorney, various kinds of trusts, healthcare directives, and more––Heidi Webb is a lawyer you can trust to handle all matters regarding the proper planning of your estate.

 

Heidi Webb Daytona Beach Attorney

Don’t put off planning for your future and for your loved ones. You have worked hard for what you own, and you want to have the final say in who gets what. Take action now and proceed with estate planning. Whether your needs are complicated and detailed or you just need a basic estate planning package, we can promptly and adequately address your wishes. Contact Heidi today to get started. 

Estate Planning Basics – 4 Pieces of Paper Everyone Should Have

Estate planning advice can get flowery and complex, and I’m here to clear the air and give you some free advice – straight from an attorney who knows firsthand the importance of planning your estate properly. It’s not as big a hurdle as you may think, read on!

When it comes to estate planning and will preparation, it’s important to understand that these are not serious, “end-of-life” decisions – but really just basic financial and medical designations that you should have into place as a semi-responsible adult. You can be healthy, unmarried, and free of kids – and the fact is you should still be ironing out your estate planning groundwork.

Fear Not. The process of gaining peace of mind should never take away peace of mind. So here’s an easy breakdown of the 4 documents you need to consider to set up a basic Estate Plan:

1. Last Will and Testament – If you don’t want “the man” deciding what to do with your property and assets in your absence, then simply draft up a basic will and testament. This will accomplish a few important but straightforward things…

  • It’ll set into place what you have and how and where it will be parceled out.
  • It will also name someone you trust to oversee the process: the personal representative of your estate.
  • If you do have kids (and they’re minors) this document will designate a legal guardian. Pet clause, anyone?
You don't have to have grown children to get your affairs in order! But be warned that "Bad things happen to good people's families when you don't have an estate plan."

You don’t have to have grown children to get your affairs in order! But be warned that, “Bad things happen to good people and their families when you don’t have an estate plan.”

2. Living Will – You’re taking care of both yourself and your loved ones when you “get-to-getting” on the whole living will thing: This document states your wishes should you end up on life support or in an “end stage” condition. If you wish not to be kept artificially alive, then you need this document to protect your rights. If you don’t want your family members to live with the stress, guilt and worry associated with this decision––simply make it now.

3. Durable Power of Attorney – Who takes charge of all those everyday things in your stead? Opening your mail, paying your bills, deciding how to proceed with business and any other non-medical decisions. This document will name an individual responsible for maintaining and managing financial, legal, and general life decisions in your absence. 

4. Health Care Surrogate – The designation of a health care surrogate is similar to power of attorney, but it has to do with your medical decisions. If you should become incapacitated the person named in this document will make your medical decisions for you. This could deal with doctors, procedures, medication, decisions on operations, and more. It’s important to have a health care surrogate in place; if not, you may be issued a court-appointed guardian should your health or mental state decline.

Relax. You don’t have to throw yourself into a tailspin to get prepared and settled with your estate plans. And it won’t be a long and painstaking process either. In fact, it’s quite easy with the right attorney to help you along.

Contact Daytona Beach Attorney Heidi S. Webb to receive a free consultation on your estate planning needs, it’s never too early (or to late!) to get prepared. 

Heidi S. Webb is not your typical attorney, if you’re looking for an affordable, no-nonsense lawyer with compassion, integrity, and a quick turnaround when it comes to your needs for legal guidance, look to Attorney Heidi S. Webb for help with Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate, and Small Business Law. Located at 140 Beach Street, Suite 310 in Daytona Beach, FL, Attorney Webb also serves clients in Ormond Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Port Orange, and beyond. Call 386-257-3332 to speak with Heidi today. 

Living Wills – You Don’t Have to Like Them, but You Shouldn’t Ignore Them Either  

There is nothing more certain in life than the simple fact that we were born and we will one day die. Yet, while birth is celebrated as much as any occasion in life, death is viewed as something you should never talk about and many people absolutely refuse to plan for it.  This is especially true for today’s aging population who were taught to ignore death when they were growing up.  As a result of this, often times it leaves some extremely stressful and agonizing choices for the dying person’s loved ones, who are already suffering having to watch their loved one slip away.  A couple hours of deep thought and a trip to see your lawyer about a Living Will would not only make it easier on the ones you are leaving behind, but also let you be the one who decides how your last few days will play out.

Alexandria National Cemetery, VA

Alexandria National Cemetery, VA

I just recently read the story of a dying World War II veteran who was alive after surviving three strokes, vegetative but still technically alive. They were asking his wife to make a choice and none of the options were great. In an already difficult time they were now asking her basically which way her husband should die, because no matter what they did death was inevitable. She made the most difficult choice and chose to comfort him as much as possible but to stop any other treatment, but it was a choice for her that no doubt will leave her wondering if she had done the right thing and possibly feeling guilty because of that. A Living Will would have taken that ultra-tough decision out of her hands and put it in her husband’s, where it belonged. Guilt is nothing anyone should ever have to carry around, especially when a signature on a carefully thought out legal document would prevent it from ever happening. Simple, yet so few do it.

Death is coming for us all, we don’t have a choice in that matter; but we do have a choice in how it all ends and that choice will save your loved ones from an even heavier burden in an already difficult time. The next time you take that long hot shower to relax or sit down in one of your favorite places, take some time to think about a Living Will seriously.  After that go see your lawyer and get it done legally on paper. You will not only feel better about having that unpleasant chore out of the way, but you will also have the peace of mind that sometime down the road you will have done a truly wonderful thing for your family.

Heidi Webb is an Attorney practicing in the Daytona Beach area.  She serves clients from all of Volusia & Flagler Counties, as well as across the State of Florida.  She focuses her practice on Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate & Small Business matters.  Contact her today for a free consultation.