Be Careful Lending Your Car – The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Can Make You Liable Even if You’re Not There

By | Legal info

Your car is probably the most dangerous item you own. We think of our vehicles as useful tools, but they are also a source of tremendous potential liability. While we all know we can be held liable for any accidents that result from our driving mistakes, many people in Florida do not realize that they can also be held liable if someone else is driving their car and causes an accident. That’s a frightening thought. You need to be aware of the risks and what you can do to minimize them. The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Under the law, anything that is inherently dangerous or that can cause harm if used carelessly is considered a “dangerous instrumentality.” Explosives would be a classic example. The owner of a dangerous instrumentality is held strictly liable for harm caused by that dangerous article, even if they weren’t negligent in using it or weren’t even…

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Everyone Needs an Estate Plan—And Here’s What Happens if You Don’t Have One

By | Estate Planning

Essentially every adult leaves an estate when they pass away. An estate is just a legal term describing the financial affairs you leave behind. Someone will need to pay your final bills, and someone will receive any assets left over. That may not mean much to you. But it is important to realize that having a proper estate plan can not only reduce waste and ensure your wishes are honored after your death, but your plan can also protect you during your lifetime. To see why you need an estate plan, let’s take a look at what happens when you don’t have one. If You Become Incapacitated, No One Can Help A thorough estate plan can provide for your medical and financial needs if you are in an accident or get sick and are unconscious and unable to communicate. Without the right estate planning documents, no one can access your…

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Can’t I Just Give My House to My Kids So I Can Qualify for Medicaid?

By | Medicaid

To qualify for long-term Florida Medicaid benefits to cover nursing homes, in-home care, or care in some assisted living facilities, your assets must be less than the resource cap established by Medicaid. The simple solution would be to give everything to your kids, so you’d have no assets and you’d qualify for benefits. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. Rules penalize many property transfers made too close to the time someone wants to apply for Florida Medicaid. However, Medicaid planning attorneys know strategies to make the most of the opportunities allowed by the rules to help you conserve assets while establishing Medicaid eligibility. The key is to plan as much as possible. Look-Back Period To meet the asset limit for Florida Medicaid, you must have no more than $2,000 in “countable” assets. Your spouse is also limited in what they may own, even if they do not need care….

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The Digital World Adds a Whole New Dimension to Estate Planning

By | Estate Planning

When you think about estate planning, chances are that your phone is not one of the first things that spring to mind. But you have digital assets stored on your phone, as well as your laptop, tablet, and online accounts, and you need to include management of digital assets as part of your estate plan. Unlike traditional assets with a physical presence or paper trail, digital assets can be effectively lost in cyberspace if you do not take the right steps to prepare. Estate planning to protect digital assets involves many tasks you can do on your own. However, there are a few situations where you may want to consult your estate planning attorney for assistance or advice. Inventory Your Digital Assets A digital asset is anything that is stored, owned, and accessed completely online or in a digital format. When taking inventory of your digital assets, you need to…

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Estate Planning for College Students and Young Adults

By | Estate Planning

People often assume that estate planning is something you don’t have to worry about until you’re at a stage of life where you have children to protect or are preparing for your final years. However, many of the critical components of an estate plan are just as essential for young adults as for older ones. Here are some important documents to consider as your children head off to college or embark on life as independent adults. Health Care Surrogate Designation Illness or injury can strike anyone regardless of age. If a young adult is unconscious or incapacitated, a health care surrogate designation would allow someone they trust to make health care decisions and authorize medical treatment on their behalf. Financial Power of Attorney While a health care surrogate designation allows an agent to make health care choices for someone who is incapacitated, a financial power of attorney enables an agent…

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Do I Have to Spend All My Money on a Nursing Home Before I Can Qualify for Medicaid?

By | Medicaid

Florida Medicaid can provide funding to help cover the costs of long-term care, but the requirements make it seem like you have to use up all the money you have on care costs before Medicaid will be willing to pay any of your nursing home costs. Many people do just that. But they don’t have to. There are strategies to preserve assets while still establishing eligibility for long-term care benefits through Florida Medicaid. Overview of Medicaid Nursing Home Requirements Sometimes referred to as the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, Florida Medicaid offers a number of different long-term care programs to assist with long-term care for seniors. The benefits and eligibility requirements vary according to the program and factors such as marital status. However, one general rule to qualify for Medicaid assistance is the need to demonstrate a low level of income and a very limited number of assets. If you…

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