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Kari L. MacDonald, P.A.


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10 Estate Planning Myths


Myth #1

If I do nothing, everything will work out fine.  When you don’t plan, Florida law determines how your property will be distributed and it may result in scenarios that you did not intend, including hurt feelings and destroyed relationships.   


Myth #2 

Using an online service or a form kit will address all your needs.  Most people are in unique situations and a cookie-cutter approach can leave you and your family vulnerable.  Some of these kits do not even comply with the Statutes in Florida, which require specific signature and witness provisions.  


Myth #3 

That it is expensive to hire an attorney.  Because we tailor your Estate Plan to your specific needs, our legal fees are very affordable.  Generally, our fee for preparing an Estate Plan that includes a Trust, a Pourover Will, a Living Will, and a Durable Power of Attorney will cost less than a simple Probate matter. 

Myth #4

Thinking that a will allows you to avoid probate. Make no doubt about it-it is much better to have a will than to not have one; however, if you own any assets and have more than a few hundred dollars to your name, you really need a trust. 

Myth #5

Thinking that owning your property as joint tenants protects you. While you probably have your bank accounts and property jointly held with your spouse, joint tenancy with anyone else can lead to a horrible outcome, such as an adult child trying to evict his own mother from her home. (If the family had not stepped in, he would have been successful!)   


Myth #6

Thinking that you won’t need a living will and failing to appoint another person to make your medical decisions for you.  If you procrastinate and fail to appoint a health care surrogate, your family may be forced to petition the court for guardianship.  Guardianship is a court-supervised method of dealing with a person's incapacity and is expensive and time-consuming.  By setting up a living will and appointing a health care surrogate, you avoid the need for a guardianship.

Myth #7

Assuming you can avoid probate because your estate is small. In Florida, Summary Administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate is below $75,000.00 or when the decedent has been dead for more than two years.  Most estates simply do not qualify for Summary Administration.

Myth #8

The people who have borrowed money from you will do the right thing when you die and pay back your estate or forgo their inheritance.  It is very important to prepare a loan document, such as a Promissory Note, when you loan money to someone and expect to get repaid.  Failure to do so can destroy relationships of your children, and other heirs and beneficiaries.  Never ever trust someone to pay back your estate.  This is one of the most highly contested areas of estate litigation


Myth #9 

No one will be interested in your death.  When probate is opened, your financial business is open to the world.  Creditors will come out of the woodwork; family members will show up wanting to know why they were left out, and many times, nefarious individuals will contact the personal representative looking to sell him or her unnecessary goods and services. 

Myth #10 

Once a trust is formed, you lose control over your assets and you can’t make changes.  You can change and revoke a Revocable Trust at any time.  You are almost always one of the “trustees”.  

The Law Office of Kari L. MacDonald


Tel:  813.655.1075
Fax:  813.681.9589

634 E Bloomingdale Ave
Brandon, FL 33511

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