Stephanie L. Schneider, PA Newsletter
Elder Law News Lawyers Can Use
Have You Checked Your Beneficiary Designations Since Your Divorce?
Effective July 1, 2012, a new Florida law takes affect concerning beneficiary designations on employee benefit plans. Under current law, when a divorced individual dies if their Last Will & Testament designates their former spouse as a beneficiary that provision is void. Even if a divorced individual dies without changing their Will the former spouse is treated as predeceasing the decedent. However, if a divorced individual did not change their beneficiary designation under an employee benefit plan the law did not affect that asset.
Now, if a beneficiary designation is made prior to the owner's death on an employee benefit plan the designation is void when the marriage is terminated. The new law also applies to:
1. life insurance policy, qualified annuity or similar tax deferred plan held within an employee benefit plan;
2. employee benefit plan;
3. individual retirement account;
5. security or other account registered in a transfer on death form;
6. life insurance policy, qualified annuity or similar contract not held within an employee benefit plan.
There are several exceptions to the new law most notably:
a. State administered retirement plans;
b. If the decedent remarries the individual whose interest would have been revoked;
c. If the designation of the former spouse is irrevocable under law or, not permitted by the written document; or
d. The assets is titled as co-owners where the death of one co-owner entitles the survivor to full ownership of the asset.
Because of these exceptions we recommend that all individuals who are divorced take affirmative action to review their estate plan and the titling of their assets with us and create a comprehensive, new estate plan.
"Proper Planning May Create Peace of Mind"
We are your and your clients' partner in the aging process. Let us help you and your clients navigate the elder law maze!
Our Firm's Success Stories: Tales & Tips
Tale: Our firm was hired by the Personal Representative of a decedent's estate to complete the probate. Simultaneously, we were engaged to represent the son of one of the beneficiaries under the Will who was incapacitated due to a mental health issue. That beneficiary had previously received SSI and Medicaid benefits which had been lost due to the beneficiary not responding to the agencies. Upon reviewing the Last Will & Testament we learned that a trust had been created for the incapacitated beneficiary however it directed the trustee to distribute principal and income directly to the beneficiary. If the trust was administered in this manner the beneficiary would never re-qualify for SSI and Medicaid and the inheritance would be spent very quickly.
Tip: We counseled the Personal Representative to file a petition seeking to reform the trust into a special needs trust. The Court agreed that a material purpose of the trust could no longer be fulfilled and granted the petition. Once the trust was reformed into a special needs trust and funded with the inheritance, the Guardian reapplied for SSI for that trust beneficiary. Legal counsel for the Social Security Administration agreed with the Court's ruling and honored the Court Order. The beneficiary is now receiving SSI and Medicaid.
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"Preserving the Personal Injury Settlement for the Aged and Disabled Client"
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|Representative Special Needs Trusts, Asset Protection Planning and Guardianship Clients|
Guardianship & Trust Professionals
Michael Carris, VP, Senior Trust Advisor
Regions Morgan Keegan Trust
Richard Conger, Sr. Trust Advisor
John Harris, Managing Director
Coral Gables Trust
Denise Lettau, V.P. Trust Advisor
Sun Trust Bank, N.A.
Earl Denney; Bill King; Jack Hill
Searcy Denney, et al
West Palm Beach
Ervin Gonzalez; Patrick Montoya
Colson, Hicks, Eidson
Clark Fountain La Vista Prather Keen & Kittky-Rubin
West Palm Beach
561-961-2300Gloretta Hall; Linnes Finney
Gary, Williams, et al
Leesfield & Partners
Levine & Glassman, LLC
Panter, Panter & Sampedro
Vaka Larson Johnson
Lon Worth Crow
Hinkle & Foran
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Estate & Incapacity
♦ Probate & Trust
♦ Last Will & Testament
♦ Revocable Trust
♦ Durable Power of Attorney
♦ Designation of Healthcare
♦ Quit Claim Deed
♦ Living Will
♦ Guardianships (adults &
♦ Long Term Care Facility
♦ Medicaid Applications &
♦ Veterans Benfits Planning
♦ Special Needs Trusts
♦ Representation of Trustees
♦ Protecting Lawsuit
Proceeds & Inheritances
while Preserving Medicaid &
♦ Exceptions to Medicaid
♦ Reduction of Third
Party Medicaid Liens
Stephanie L. Schneider has been selected as a
Top Lawyer in Elder Law in the 2011
South Florida Legal Guide
and Florida SuperLawyers 2012
Stephanie is accredited by the Veterans Administration
to counsel clients about veterans benefits planning.
Seminars & Events
Florida Bankers Association
Trust Officer Graduate School
Elder Mediaiton Seminar
Nova Southeastern Univ
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