The Green Way to Eternal Rest

Funeral homes are getting in on the “green” movement. They now offer different types of “green” burials. Chemicals are not used in these types of burials and you can opt for a biodegradable casket, or a “natural” burial where no embalming fluid is used and the body is wrapped in a biodegradable material, buried in the ground and allowed to decompose naturally. Natural burials take place at specially preserved “conservation cemeteries” monitored by the Green Burial Council or GBC. The GBC has strict rules that restrict how the grave site is dug, the types of markers that may be used, how soil is removed and replaced, and restricting the use of vaults or cement grave liners. Only biodegradable material is allowed to be buried with the body. (more…)

The Reading of the Will – Fact or Fiction?

Inevitably, after a client has passed away, a family member will call and ask, “Will there be a reading of the Last Will?”  The answer is:  only if the family wants it.  The “reading of the will” is generally something you only see in the movies.  It adds to the movie drama (cue the music), when the son finds out in front of the family he has been disinherited. (more…)

Cryopreservation – Not just for the rich anymore

Have you ever wished you could see into the future? Not just 5 or 10 years ahead, but 100 or 200 years ahead? It may now be possible. The field of cryogenics – the study of what happens to things at really low temperatures – has spawned the process of cryonics.  Cryonics is the process used to store human bodies at really low temperatures in the hope of reviving them at a date in the future. (more…)

A Tale of Forty Heirs

Do you have an estate plan?  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: If you don’t have an estate plan, the State of Florida has one for you and it may not be the one you want.  The majority of Americans likely do not have a relevant and proper estate plan.

Not having a proper estate plan could require an unintended probate for those you leave behind.  Probate is not necessarily a bad thing and is very appropriate in many circumstances.  But let’s consider a case where a lack of planning resulted in unintended consequences for one family. (more…)

Divorce Your Spouse Not Your Money

No one likes to contemplate divorce. Unfortunately, the reality is that 40% to 50% of marriages will end in divorce. This raises issues that should be addressed by couples considering dissolving their union. Jeff, and his wife, Sue, were in the process of divorcing when Jeff unexpectedly passed away. The divorce was contentious, to say the least, and had not yet been finalized. Jeff’s siblings wanted an autopsy done to confirm his cause of death. Sue, still legally his wife, had all the control and opted to have Jeff cremated immediately. As a result, there was no closure for the family and all of Jeff’s assets passed to Sue since there was no estate plan in place. (more…)

Estate Planning for Your Business

When you own and operate a business, your Buy-Sell Agreement is probably the last thing on your mind.  It’s something your business attorney drafted years ago and most likely you have not thought about it since.  Or, maybe you don’t have one at all!  Just like your personal estate planning, having an estate plan for your business is very important.  Without a buy-sell agreement, a closely held or family business faces the possibility of financial and tax problems on an owner’s death, disability, divorce, bankruptcy, sale or retirement. The benefits of having a buy-sell agreement in place far outweighs the cost of creating and maintaining the agreement.  A buy-sell agreement can ward off infighting by family members, co-owners and spouses.  The buy-sell agreement can also help keep the business afloat in the event of one of these major life events. (more…)