estate planning

Wills & Estate Planning

Nobody wants to even think about the possibility of dying young, especially those with children. But what will happen to your kids if it happens? During life, everyone should make it clear by properly executing estate planning documents who should benefit upon their passing. Without proper planning with an Elder Law or Estate Planning attorney, assets may go to those named in an outdated Will or even default to descendants or heirs under Florida Statute. This could lead to people inheriting despite the person who passed not wanting that to happen. Without proper planning, those loved ones can suffer, especially those who would have inherited had the person who passed away planned better.

Estate planning is for everyone; not only reserved for the rich. Everyone should consider estate planning to avoid the potentially devastating consequences for their heirs in the long-run. Learn more here.

Estate planning has many benefits. You can use it to minimize the taxes on your assets. It can also make the property transition process seamless. You can also use it to name a guardian for your minor children.

Benefits of Estate Planning

Planning benefits the Principal and their family members or loved ones in a myriad of ways. Some of the most prominent advantages associated with estate planning include ensuring property passes according to the wishes of the person who passed, minimizing taxes, nominating guardians, and avoiding probate.


An appropriately drafted will eliminates uncertainties and complies with the Florida Statute. It consists of information of heirs, and their respective shares in the estate. You may even appoint a guardian for the minors through a Will, choose an executor, and name someone to manage the property.

Wills cannot be used for the following:

  • Stocks that are held in transfer-on-death form
  • IRA accounts and pension funds that are named under specific beneficiaries
  • All those assets that are held in joint tenancy
  • Bank accounts with payable-on-death beneficiaries
  • Life insurance proceeds with a named beneficiary

Tax Saving

The core objective behind drafting an estate plan lies in protecting loved ones from unwanted consequences and undesirable situations. Another critical part of estate lies in minimizing taxes, which ultimately saves your hard-earned money from going to the government in the form of state inheritance taxes.

When you leave assets over a certain threshold, the state is likely to charge a substantial amount of inheritance tax. Consulting an estate planning attorney can help you reduce the inheritance tax liability.


Suppose you want to design a plan during your lifetime, leaving something of value for your children or grandchildren but not handing those funds outright to your beneficiaries. Thus, instead of giving them the gifts or assets immediately, you might draft a trust. There are many types of trusts; you may discuss them with a qualified estate planning or trust attorney to choose the one that serves your interest the best.

In some cases, drafting a trust turns out to be a better option than drafting a Will. However, consulting a professional estate planning attorney is indispensable when choosing the option that favors you the best.

Estate Planning Summarized,

If you want your assets and loved ones to be protected in the long run, drafting an estate is inevitable.

It is recommended to consult professional estate planning attorneys to formulate a plan to protect your estate from falling into the wrong hands and to reduce taxes.

Attorney for Your Will is Essential

Why Hiring an Attorney for Your Will is Essential?

In every sphere of life, you need an attorney to ensure your plans and processes are legal and ethical. The law is a part of your daily life, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. Sometimes, teeny-tiny negligence translates into a significant catastrophe for you and your loved ones. Hence, it is better to hire or consult with a qualified attorney. This can save your personal and business assets, and protect your family`s wellbeing.

An attorney can help you with your day-to-day personal and professional endeavors and problems by providing a piece of advice that adheres to state and federal laws. Some of these endeavors may include buying a home, writing a will, selling your business, drafting a trust, or nominating a guardian for your minor children in the event of your untimely passing.

All these measures, irrespective of their apparent simplicity or complexity, require you to follow the established and implemented rules and regulations to avoid the potential catastrophic long-term legal and financial consequences.

Having no Will or having a poorly drafted one is a BIG PROBLEM.

Benefits of Hiring an Attorney

There are several benefits of hiring a qualified attorney for your Will; some of them may include;

Your Wishes Will Remain Protected

By hiring an attorney, you gain access to their years of experience and knowledge. They can provide you the best advice regarding the attainment of your goals legally and ethically, especially when you have challenging family dynamics.

Another advantage of hiring an attorney is they act as a neutral third-party. Down the road, if someone contests your Will, the well-documented file will help you protect your wishes, and help to ensure your estate gets distributed to the heirs you intended.

Low Average Cost

The lack of a Will causes many issues for the loved ones, including financial and psychological problems. An absence of a well-drafted will can lead to severe financial and psychological consequence. Hence, it is cost-effective to draft a will with an attorney.

Help You Update Your Will

Life is a blend of uncertainties and changes. Thus, you never know when the need would arise for you to change the Will. This is when your attorney will come to the rescue, he or she will review and update the Will as per your latest intentions. Moreover, he or she is adept at using specific verbiage and clauses that will serve your interest the best.

Ensure the Estate Distribution to the Right Individual

The ultimate objective of drafting a Will is to ensure the estate’s distribution goes to the right person or people. With a well-versed attorney, you can transfer the estate to the beneficiaries seamlessly. The attorney will help you reduce the risk of a Will contest.

Key Take-Aways

It can be quite daunting for an ordinary person to understand the complications associated with Wills, Probate Laws, Trusts, Tax Planning, and Estate Planning. Talk to our qualified attorney at Kania Elder Law who can help you with all your concerns and queries and draft you a Will per your wishes.

guardianship attorney

Things You Need to Know About Guardianship

A court appoints a legal guardian for those who cannot care for their well-being due to any reason, be it infancy, incapability, or disability. Therefore, a “Ward” is someone who requires special protection.

The legal guardian has the authority to make financial and personal decisions in the ward’s best interest. Guardianship is the legal process of naming someone accountable for an individual`s personal affairs. The court will oversee the guardian’s actions to avoid the chances of any mishandling of funds.

In this article, we will discuss the two most common types of guardianship. Also, the article discusses the differences between full guardianship and limited guardianship.

Types of Guardianship

There are two types of guardianships. Let’s explore a bit more about them:

Full Guardianship (Plenary)

Full guardianship gives the guardian the complete authority to take decisions regarding the affairs of the ward. This includes:

  • Deciding where you live
  • Authorizing medical treatment
  • Handling legal matters
  • Managing the financial matters

Limited Guardianship

Under limited guardianship, the guardian can only perform the duties that the ward cannot do by himself. This includes four situations:

  • Due to old age, guardianship for an incapacitated senior
  • For minors
  • Guardianship for disabled adults
  • And Guardianship for incompetent adults

Guardianship laws do vary from state to state. Thus, the best approach is to consult with a guardianship attorney to understand the legislative proceedings of your state.

Emergency Guardianship

Emergency guardianship is a form of temporary guardianship. It usually arises due to an emergency. However, an emergency guardian is generally appointed by the court to serve the ward in times of crisis.

In general cases, the ward is either disabled or incapacitated. The court decides that whether or not the individual can handle the situation himself or cannot due to mental disability, addition, or deliberating disease.

The period for an emergency guardianship lasts for a limited time. In most states, it is 90 days; however, it can be extended by the court’s approval if the need arises.

Once the emergency has ended, the appointed temporary guardian must file a report at court. Therefore, this involves providing all the details regarding the services that he/she provided during the tenure.

Who Cannot Be a Guardian?

A court can appoint anyone who is found suitable to serve as a guardian. However, a person cannot be appointed as a guardian if he is:

  • Incompetent
  • Minor
  • Convicted of a felony

Over to You

Full guardianship and limited guardianship can be confusing. Seeking a full or plenary guardianship when a lesser restrictive option is available is a mistake. So is only pursuing a limited guardianship when someone needs help with everything. The stakes are too high to make these mistakes. However, to eliminate the risk, you may speak with a qualified guardianship attorney.

Do you want to learn more about the guardianship laws of your state? Please let us know in the below comment section.

Veterans Affairs Benefits

V.A. Benefits

Those who serve in the United States Armed Forces have many benefits claims and support for the enormous sacrifices they make for their nation. These benefits include health care, life insurance, and schooling or training coverage. For instance, being a survivor of a veteran, you can even qualify for additional benefits, including the burial cost and survivor compensation. Therefore, if you are a veteran or caring for one, it’s best to learn about all the benefits the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) offers to veterans, spouses, and dependent children. Veterans Affairs Benefits enable’ family members to buy a home, complete their studies and earn degrees, start their careers, and much more. Thus, if you are currently serving in the United States, you may be eligible for V.A. medical benefits during your service tenure and after retirement.

This article will walk you through some of the V.A. benefits that you can obtain as a spouse or dependent child of the veteran.

Various V.A. Benefits That You Can Avail

Veterans Affairs Education & Training Benefits

VA education benefits are help veteran family members pursue their education without worrying about the college tuition fee. Educational counseling and training programs are also conducted under the banner of the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program.

V.A Medical Benefits

V.A. health care benefits allow the immediate family members of a veteran to get regular checkups by their primary care provider. Moreover, it covers appointments with specialists such as cardiologists, gynecologists, and mental health providers.

If you have health coverage plans like Medicare, Medicaid, or another private insurance plan, you can still avail the V.A. medical benefits along with these plans.

If you meet the V.A. medical benefits eligibility criteria, you can also avail of long-term care. This can entail nursing and medical care, physical therapy, and comfort care. Additionally, the care can also assist with day-to-day tasks such as bathing, dressing, and administering medicines.

Mortgage Benefits

Through the Department of Veteran Affairs, you may get repayment assistance if you cannot keep up with the mortgage payment. This repayment assistance plan includes various options, including special repayment plans, loan forbearance, and loan modification programs.

Moreover, some other benefits include the V.A. loans for homeless family members of veterans.

Eligibility Criteria

The individual applying for V.A. education and training benefits must be a daughter, son, or spouse of;

  • A veteran who lost his life on a battlefield or is permanently disabled
  • A service member who is missing or captured by hostile forces
  • A service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment

Need Help?

If you find it a cumbersome process to claim the V.A. benefits or if there is any other reason that is prone to affect your claims, such as;

  • You are being denied the benefits
  • The ratings are lower than your disability warrants
  • Unable to work but not approved for unemployability benefits
  • The effective date of your claim is incorrect, which is reducing down the backpay

Please let us know your situation. Attorneys will help you attain what you deserve. Our mission is to provide an extraordinary experience to veterans and their family members.

We also offer free consultations, and that won’t cost you a single dime.

Did you know, as a veteran, you may be entitled to a myriad of health, education, mortgage, and insurance benefits? Let us know in the below comment section.

Special Needs Trust

Why Are Special Needs Trusts Vital?

In today’s fast-paced environment, it is paramount to be prudent and make plans in advance. Everything around us is evolving, and time never remains constant for anyone. One can never predict how things will turn out tomorrow. As parents, we plan out everything for our children from present to future. Through using a special needs trust, you may ensure the protection of property and funds of children with disability.

Special Needs Trusts are for people with specific physical and psychological disabilities. They are also for people having chronic illness. Disabled children require special attention, care, and planning by parents and loved ones.

Things to Know Regarding Special Needs Trust

A Special Needs Trust, also known as supplemental needs trust, is a legal arrangement. It allows people with physical or mental ailments to receive income without narrowing down their eligibility for the public assistance disability benefits. These benefits are generally provided by Supplemental Security Income, Social Security, and Medicaid.

There are certain needs which the public assistance disability benefits do not cover. Special Needs Trusts cover this percentage of a person`s financial needs. The proceeds from Special Needs Trusts cover medical expenses, transportation costs, payment for caretakers, and other permitted overhead expenses.

Benefits of Special Needs Trusts

  • It benefits both the parties, i.e., the beneficiary and the one who creates the trust
  • A beneficiary can receive financial support without jeopardizing the public assistance disability benefits
  • The executor has some reassurance that the proceeds will go as per his/her stipulations
  • It can be more difficult for the creditors or the winner of a lawsuit to seize the assets held by the Special Needs Trust

Types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs)

There are two types of SNTs, generally known as first-party SNTs and third-party SNTs. It is necessary to determine which one you need to have or already exists.

  • First-Party SNT: The party funding the SNT originates with the beneficiary
  • Third-Party SNT: The property funding SNT belongs to someone other than the SNT beneficiary

A person planning in advance for their loved ones with special needs generally use third-party SNTs. However, first-party SNTs are typically employed when a person with a disability inherits money or property outright.

It’s tempting to assume that a disabled child will grow out of the condition or the medications will fix the issues. Nevertheless, it’s essential to consult a health technician and develop realistic expectations about the child’s long-term capabilities and estimate his likelihood of living or thriving independently.

As a parent, we know that you won’t be around every time or for good to take care of your child. Thus, it becomes crucial to consult a Special Needs Trust attorney and consider the helpful strategies for your loved ones well-being. Visit the Kania Elder Law website today and let the professional attorneys know about your situation to get valuable feedback and suggestions.

Real Estate

How to Protect Your Real Estate Assets?

Asset protection needs to be your top-most priority if you own any real estate!

It is advised to have an asset protection plan as a contingency. It can prevent losses, minimize future risks, and even protect you from a lawsuit. The planning for asset protection varies from property to property as the client’s business and its goals vary.

To devise an accurate and relevant plan, you will have to work with a real estate planning attorney who can understand what it takes to make your business successful or protect your assets.

This article will share some of the most common and pragmatic tactics involved in Real Estate protection. Following these strategies will help you keep the risks at bay and increase your asset’s value manifold.

Real Estate Insurance

Getting your property insured is critical regardless of it being a residential apartment, commercial building, shopping center, or an underdeveloped piece of land. Insurance is the cornerstone for protecting property; it can save you against a myriad of catastrophic events.

Make sure to discuss the cost and the feature of chosen coverage with a real estate planning attorney before settling on an insurance company.

Privacy of Ownership

Privacy of ownership is considered to be one of the most vital parts of the asset protection strategy. One strategy begins with establishing a land trust, followed by choosing the beneficiary of the trust. All in all, it gives you privacy since the property is titled to some trust, not you. Your name won’t immediately pop up if any someone runs an asset check.

Limited Liability

Another strategy is buying a property with an LLC and renting it out to yourself is likely to minimize the financial risks. With this strategy, you may narrow down the probability of real estate asset seizure.

By keeping the real estate investments under an LLC, you may avoid the adverse effects if or when you are subject to a lawsuit. As an example, debtors won’t come to your personal property to compensate for the issues arising in your business.

Qualified Income Trust

Qualified Income Trusts QITs

You cannot qualify for the Medicaid long-term care benefits if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria. To be qualified, your income must not exceed the allowable limits, your application will be turned down otherwise.

Understanding Qualified Income Trusts – QITs

A Qualified Income Trust is designed for those individuals whose monthly/yearly income is more than the allowable limits. This is also known as a Miller`s Trust. However, still, income is still not enough to afford long-term medical care. This ultimately creates a catch-22 situation for them; neither can they afford the medical expenses nor avail themselves of the Medicaid benefits.

A Qualified Income Trust provides a way to individuals having excess income to qualify for Medicaid benefits. Individuals hoping to gain Medicaid benefits eligibility contribute at least their surplus income into trust each month.

Most people confuse QIT with some other types of trusts, such as living trusts, pooled trusts, special needs trusts, etc. The primary objective of QIT is to create a legal pathway to Medicaid benefits for applicants who find it hard to be eligible due to their high income.

QIT Acceptance Criteria

Qualified Income Trusts must satisfy the following:

  • It must be irrevocable
  • Must include a reversion clause stating that upon the death of the trust beneficiary, the trustee is to transfer the funds into the states account up to the full amount of Medicaid assistance that was provided
  • Should require the trustee to pay a monthly personal needs allowance. Along with spousal minimum monthly need allowance, and cost of medical assistance to the beneficiary. (The figure varies in different states)

Upon fulfilling all the QIT requirements , the trust account must be opened by the Qualified Income Trust Trustee. Next, the trustee is to ensure regular administration of the trust to conform with the terms and conditions. Failure to do so will make the beneficiary ineligible for the Medicaid benefits.

Cost of Creating QIT

The cost of creating a Qualified Income Trust (QIT) is not high. It ranges depending on the attorney and state of the resident. Contacting a qualified attorney is indispensable to create a seamless QIT.

States That Allow QIT

  • Florida allows the use of QITs in order to meet Medicaid qualifications

Key Take-Aways

Professional assistance is necessary to draft a QIT that meets all the requirements. Failure to do so, may lead you to Medicaid ineligibility.

Our professional QIT attorney at Kania Elder Law will help you establish a QIT that may enable you to attain the Medicaid benefits.

probate attorney


Probate attorney is a legal process where the statute follows the will of the deceased person to distribute assets. The asset distribution takes place amongst the heirs of the departed person, as per his/her final will. Similarly, the probate process involves taking care of the debts associated with the deceased person.

After someone’s death, the court appoints a person nominated in the person’s will, or someone as per the state’s law. This is the case if there is no will to administer the probate process. The process entails collecting the assets, identifying any debts under the deceased person’s name; which are then distributed among the beneficiaries. Thus, the probate process’ essence lies in transferring the estate ownership from the decedent to the beneficiaries.

This article will share with you some of the essential processes and players associated with the probate.

How Does Probate Work?

Gathering the Documents

First and foremost, the process begins with collecting the documents such as the deceased person’s will and death certificate. Later on, the probate court accepts these legal documents down the road. Moreover, the executor or personal representative nominated in the Will or an interested person for someone who dies without a will, may hire a probate lawyers to help him with the probate processes.

Gathering the Assets

Gathering of the assets takes place to determine the value associated with each item. Assets may include property, investment accounts, retirement assets, bonds, cash, bank balances, and other valuable items.

Informing Creditors

Informing creditors takes place after the inception of formal probate proceedings. Creditors include contractors, mortgage companies, credit card companies, individual parties, etc who are notified about the proceeding. Generally, the creditors are alerted via a news published in the local newspaper.

Distribution of the Assets

The assets are distributed among the heirs once all the documents are reviewed, assets are gathered and valued, and creditors are paid off or objected to. However, it is essential to consider that each state has its specific laws concerning probate.

Main Players

The leading players during the probate process include;

  • The Executor or Personal Representative
  • Estate or Probate Attorney
  • The Beneficiaries
  • Creditors
  • A judge

Costs Associated with Probate

The total cost concerning probate proceedings varies due to a number of factors, but the two significant factors include the state’s laws and estate value. In general, the costs are approximately 3% to 7% of the estate value. However, Avoiding the whole process can help preserve more of the estate for the heirs. Mandatory fees comprises of:

  • The Attorney Fees
  • Executor or Personal Representative Compensation
  • Court Fees
  • Other Fees may include tax preparation, selling property, and fees for litigation

Wrapping Up

If you are looking for probate attorneys, visit our website Kania Elder Law, get yourself connected with our probate lawyers and let us know about your situation.

Are you looking for professionals that can help you with your probate proceedings? Schedule an appointment with us today, so that we may help you in your troubling times tomorrow.

power of attorney

The Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives another person the right to act on behalf of the principal. With POA, the other person (agent) receives all the rights to take legal decisions in the principal’s best interests regarding finances and property. When the principal can’t show up to sign on the legal documents due to illness, disability, or any other reason.

Several issues can put, such as the principal’s death or if the principal himself revokes it. Another factor could be the invalidation from a court or when the agent cannot execute the outlined responsibilities as per the principal’s expectations or requirements.

This article will share with you the various types of POAs and how each POA works.

Types of Power of Attorneys

There are various types of POAs that fall under either the general power of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

Under a general POA, an agent can perform more than one job on behalf of the principal, including overseeing and handling bank accounts, selling property and assets like stocks, signing checks, and filing taxes. All the actions performed by the agent are supposed to bind the principal as if he conducted these actions.

Trust is the critical factor that plays a vital role when choosing a power of attorney.

Limited Power of Attorney

Unlike the GPOA, an agent can perform specific functions under a limited as described in the agreement. It restricts the agent’s authority to a particular sphere, and he cannot perform any action other than the clearly stated functionalities.

Limited Power of Attorney

Almost everyone finds the necessity of having a power of attorney at some point in their lives.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

DPOA can carry out specific legal and financial matters in case the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. The range of under a durable power of is huge. This document can authorize the agent to do very powerful things, these should be discussed with your estate planning or elder law attorney.

Did you Know?

Some of the key powers that cannot be delegated via a POA entail;

  • Contract a marriage
  • Cast a vote

Key Take-Aways

Signing a power of attorney is similar to signing a blank check. So, make sure to choose the agent wisely and understand the process and law to avoid unwanted consequences. A little mistake regarding the Power can translate into a catastrophe later. Failing to include necessary provisions is also a catastrophe waiting to happen.

If you are looking for a seasoned attorney for will and power of attorney, visit our website Kania Elder Law and get yourself connected with our attorney. Our attorney can assist you with all your queries and concerns and help you execute the whole process safely and wisely.

Pooled Trusts

Pooled Trusts

Everyone wants to be financially healthy, but this financial soundness comes with certain drawbacks such as increased taxes and disqualification from certain SSI and Medicaid benefits. A pooled trust can be the answer.

Not everyone who is financially sound can afford long-term medical care, given that it costs an arm and a leg to bear the hospital and facility expenses. Pooled trusts come to the rescue when you want to save your hard-earned money legally while making the most of public assistance benefits.

Understanding Pooled Trusts

It is a special kind of trust that enables people to become financially eligible for public assistance benefits while insulating their resources in a Pooled for special needs.

Usage of a Pooled Trust

Pooled Trusts can be used for several items, such as;

  • Attorney/Guardian Fee
  • Travel Expenses
  • Medical Care (Not provided by the government)
  • Nursing Care
  • Housing Cost
  • Real Estate Expenses (including taxes)
  • Living Expenses (food, cloth, shelter, etc.)

Who Can Benefit?

Individuals who can benefit from joining a Pooled Trusts include:

  • People with special needs
  • Applicants/Recipients of various government benefit programs
  • Older people who live at home

Eligibility for Joining A Pooled Trust

  • Pooled Trust must meet legal requirements
  • The beneficiary should be disabled as defined by law
  • The trust must be created only for the benefit of the individual beneficiary

Consulting professionals who can help you through the planning options is always the recommended alternative.

Pooled Trust Key Take-Aways

The best way to learn is to speak with a qualified attorney. Our attorney can help you understand the nature of a Trust. Moreover, we also inform our clients to help them make better decisions.

Our attorney intends to keep helping the people who deserve to obtain public assistance benefits. Visit our website Kania Elder Law and share with us your state of affairs today. Free evaluation.