Law Office of Katherine L. Floyd, PLLC

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Katie Floyd Gives “Tech You Can Use” Presentation to the Family Law Section
Katie Floyd, Kyle Lewis and Rick Knellinger

Katie Floyd, Kyle Lewis and Rick Knellinger

Attorney Katie Floyd partnered up with Attorney Richard Knellinger and Kyle Lewis of Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates to give a presentation to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Family Law Section on “Tech You Can Use.”

The presentation focused primarily on technology that can be utilized by the solo and small firm practitioner to enhance productivity. Topics that were covered included mobile scanning apps, PDF converters, virtual receptionists, scheduling tools, conference calling services, text expansion and more. A copy of the presentation is available on Slideshare for viewing.

Katie Floyd is a nationally-recognized speaker on various technology issues and is a frequent lecturer on the use of technology and the practice of law. If you would like Ms. Floyd to consider speaking at your event, you can contact our office for more information.

Katie Floyd
What Should You Do With Your Estate Planning Documents?

So you’ve prepared an estate plan, that’s great news. You’re already ahead of 50% of Americans who have no formal estate plan. Now, what should you do with these documents?

Clients often ask us for advice on what to do with these documents. Where should they keep them and who should they share the documents with.  The answer really depends on your comfort level, but we can offer a few guidelines.

Hang on to those originals!

Your original documents are very important as they are the best evidence of your estate plan. In fact, Florida law requires that your original Will be deposited with the clerk of the court after your death. It’s very important that you keep your original documents in a safe, but accessible place so your heirs and family will be able to access them when needed.

Not in a Safe Deposit Box

Contrary to popular belief, your safe deposit box is generally not a good place to store your estate planning documents. Florida requires a court order to open the safe deposit box of the deceased. This means your family can end up spending thousands of dollars on a probate that may be unnecessary just to open your safe deposit box.

If you insist on storing your original documents in a safe deposit box, and we don’t recommend it, consider adding a joint owner to the box and confirming with the institution that person can access the box without you.

Store Your Documents In A Safe, But Accessible Place

For most clients, we recommend they store their estate planning documents in their home or office with other important papers. It’s important that these documents be protected from fire and flood. Therefore you may want to consider a fireproof and waterproof safe. Of course, make sure that someone knows how to access the safe should something happen to you.

While your documents should be put in a safe place and protected from “prying eyes” you should not hide your documents. Your fiduciaries and family will need them should something happen to you. If your documents cannot be found, you will be presumed to have died without a will.

Depending on your personal and family circumstances I suggest that you let your fiduciaries know where your estate planning documents are in the event they need to access them, yet still keep the document put away and protected.

Consider Who To Share Copies of Your Documents With

For most clients, the decision of whether not to share copies of their estate planning documents is a very personal decision and depends on their comfort level and family circumstances.

You may want to consider providing your medical providers with copies of your healthcare related documents for their files. This would include the HIPAA authorization, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate, Designation of Healthcare Surrogate for Minors and Living Wills.

However, keep in mind that sometimes sharing your documents can invite unwanted comments, suggestions, or hurt feelings. You may want to have a more in-depth discussion about this with your attorney at the time you draft your documents.

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Katie Floyd
Katie Floyd Named Paul Harris Fellow

Last week,  Sunrise Rotary Gainesville celebrated the club’s 35th anniversary. At this milestone occasion, the club exceeded their goal of naming 35 new Paul Harris Fellows and were joined by District Governor Marshall Butler, District Foundation Chair Cynde Covington and Past District Governor John Brunner.

Attorney Katie Floyd was among the Rotarians named a Paul Harris Fellow at the celebration.

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Sunrise Rotary Gainesville is an active club of about 60 members who take pride in their community service projects. The club is committed to achieving remarkable goals through service to people and organizations. The club meets weekly on Thursday mornings at 7:00 a.m. at the Hilton at the University of Florida you can learn more about the club through their website or Facebook.

Firm NewsKatie Floyd
Don't Wait To Plan Your Estate

When times are good, estate planning is probably one of the last things on your mind. We understand you’re busy and you have other things to do with your time and money. It’s hard for many clients to justify the time and expense associated with creating a comprehensive estate plan when there are so many other things competing for your time and attention.

The truth is, “the good times” are the best times to prepare an estate plan. This is the time when we have the most options open and available to us to plan for the future and to protect assets.

The reality is, most people wait for something bad to happen before they think about estate planning. Often clients come to our office after they’ve just been through a difficult probate with a loved one and want to spare their family the same process. Sometimes clients come to me after they’ve been diagnosed with an illness and need to put their affairs in order. Often we receive calls after tragedy strikes.

One of the most frequent calls we receive is from adult children of aging parents who are looking for ways to help a parent who can no longer live independently. The writing has been on the wall for years, but no one wanted to talk about it until it reached a crisis point. Unfortunately, by the time we reach this point our options are severely limited.

The consequences of waiting to prepare a comprehensive state plan are numerous. They can include:

  • Added Stress: One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is a well-planned estate. In the midst of a crisis, a comprehensive estate plan offers guidance and support. If you’re in the midst of crisis the last thing you want to be doing is trying to coordinate emergency estate planning
  • Additional Costs: Emergency estate planning is possible, but comes at an additional cost. To handle a crisis estate planning case we have to turn down other work, make visits to the hospital, rush documents or arrange out of office witnesses. This all comes at an additional price.
  • Reduced Options: Emergency planning will typically reduce the options available to a client. This can be due to time constraints, the circumstances and a number of other factors. Additionally, a client must have a certain mental capacity to execute an estate plan. Sometimes it may not be possible for the client to execute documents and the family may be faced with much more expensive guardianship proceedings.

Estate planning isn’t just something that you should put on the back burner and wait for it to boil over. Proactive planning will provide you with the most benefit, save money and give your loved ones peace of mind in a crisis.

A well-planned estate is one of the best gifts you can give your family. Click here to learn more and setup a free consultation to get started.

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The Importance of Reviewing Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is one of those things we all know we should do, but don’t necessarily enjoy. That’s probably why fewer than 50% of Americans have a formal estate plan. Of those who do, most only create an estate plan once and never look at it again. Having an outdated estate plan can be worse than no estate plan at all.

Life happens, circumstances change. Perhaps one of the fiduciaries you’ve named in your documents is no longer able to serve. Perhaps a spouse or significant other has died. Maybe you’ve gotten divorced or become estranged from your partner and no longer want them making decisions for you. Maybe your kids have grown up and no longer need funds held in trust. Or, maybe one of your kids has gotten a little lost and a plan needs to be put in place to protect assets until they’ve found their way.

We typically recommend that clients review their estate plan every three to five years, or any time there is a major life event. Here are just a few of the circumstances when you should think about changing or updating your estate plan:

  • One of your fiduciaries (Personal Representative, Healthcare surrogate, etc.) has died or become disabled or otherwise is no longer the best person to serve
  • Your family has grown through birth, adoption or marriage
  • There has been a death or divorce in the family
  • There has been a significant change in medical status for a member of your immediate family
  • Your children have reached eighteen or another major milestone such as graduating from college.
  • You have inherited money from a relative
  • There has been a significant change in your financial status
  • You’ve bought or sold an asset that was a significant part of your estate plan

Even if none of the above apply, we recommend you review your plan with an attorney every three to five years even if there hasn’t been a major change in your life because sometimes there are changes to the law that will impact your estate.

For example, did you know that there were significant changes in Florida to the laws regarding Power of Attorneys in 2011? Additionally, the Healthcare Surrogate laws were updated in 2015. If you are using older documents, it’s probably time for an update.

If it’s been more than a few years since you last reviewed your estate plan, we’re happy to help. Learn more about the estate planning process and schedule your free consultation today.

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