Kulas Law Group - Port St. Lucie, Florida 34952

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2100 Southeast Hillmoor Drive #105 , Port St. Lucie , Florida 34952

(772) 398-0720








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 Information About Kulas Law Group »

Helpling Families Preserve Their Wealth

Enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney in Port St. Lucie and Vero Beach, Florida. Probate, wills, and asset protection planning from our qualified elder law and estate planning firm.

Our law firm serves clients in the Port St. Lucie, FL area and provides assistance in estate planning, elder law, Medicaid, trust administration and probate.

Our firm is dedicated to providing you with quality estate planning resources, so you can become familiar with all of the existing options. When you visit or call our office, we want you to feel comfortable discussing such an important issue concerning both you and your family. We want to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your family's future.

If you have a well-drafted estate plan in place, you'll ensure that your estate passes to whom you want, when you want, and is carried out in the manner you've chosen. You can rest assured that your family won't have to endure the public process and costly matter of probate. The government won't be able to take what you've spent a lifetime building. But you need to be aware of the many options that exist in estate planning—and you must choose your attorney wisely.

That is why Robert J. Kulas, P.A. offers this wealth of free information and free seminars. Read our Estate Planning articles, and if you're in the area, join us at an Estate Planning seminar. We want you to feel confident about the choices you make—let us be your guide on the path toward preserving your family's future.

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Kulas Law Group is located in the Port St. Lucie area of Florida. There are at least 20 other listings in the 34952 postcode area.

Lawyers in Florida 34952

Number of Employees: 2-10

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Blog Author: Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), Director of Education, American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc. This is another in a series of blogs on the basics of estate planning. Often, one of the most difficult choices for a client to make is the selection of people to make decisions for them. These fiduciaries may have great control over the client’s affairs, typically at times when the client would be most vulnerable or already gone. Let’s take a look at the various fiduciaries a client might name: Successor Trustee. This person manages assets in the trust. The Trustee might manage the assets during the client’s incapacity and after the client has died. A Trustee might also manage assets being left for a child, whether a minor or even an adult child. Agent under Financial Power of Attorney. A Financial Power of Attorney allows the Agent to make decisions and actions for the client, who is the Principal. The power may be “immediate,” which would allow the Agent to act for the Principal even when the Principal is well. Conversely, the power may be “springing,” or only effective upon the incapacity of the Principal. Successor Owner. A 529 plan might have a Successor Owner in addition to a Beneficiary. The Successor Owner could take the funds and use them however they want and does not have to use them for the benefit of the Beneficiary. A Trust could be the Owner of the 529 plan, in which case the Trustee would have an obligation to use the plan for the Beneficiary. Personal Representative. A client may have assets outside of a Trust which may need to be managed after their death. The person who would manage these assets prior to distribution under the Will is the Personal Representative. Agent under a Health Care Power of Attorney. A Health Care Power of Attorney allows the Agent to make health decisions for the Principal when the Principal is unable to make them. Guardian. If the client has young children or others for whom they have caregiving responsibility, their Will can nominate a person to become the new Guardian. Clients should be advised to take care in choosing people for these roles who are appropriate and up to the task. For example, the financial management roles, such as the Trustee, Personal Representative, Agent under the financial power of attorney, etc., ideally should be organized and able to manage complicated tasks. On the other hand, the Agent under the Health Care Power of Attorney and the Guardian have different primary duties. Their personal caretaking ability may be more important than their financial ability. There are many instances in which these decision-makers may have to work together. For example, the Guardian of a minor child will have to work with the Trustee of a Trust for the child’s benefit. The choice of any fiduciary is of utmost importance and, perhaps most importantly, the client should trust the person and their judgement. In upcoming blogs, I’ll discuss more on the basics of estate planning....Read more...
10/9/2017 10:52:17 AM

The Difference Between a Guardian and a Guardian ad Litem A guardianship proceeding is the legal process in which a Florida court will determine who the guardian for an incapacitated person should be. Learn more here: https://www.kulaslaw.com/difference-guardian-guardian-ad-litem/
9/27/2017 1:00:00 PM

Happy 1st Day of Fall!
9/22/2017 3:05:24 PM

The Difference Between a Guardian and a Guardian ad Litem While guardians and guardians ad litem serve similar purposes, they also have very different roles in the law. To help clarify and prevent any potential confusion, today we’re going to take a closer look at the difference between a guardian and a guardian ad litem. Learn more: https://www.kulaslaw.com/difference-guardian-guardian-ad-litem/
9/20/2017 1:00:01 PM

A comprehensive estate plan will include a wide range of inter-related estate planning goals and objectives. Collectively, these goals and objectives will do much more than simply decide how your estate assets are distributed after you are gone. They will also protect those assets and help them grow over the course of your lifetime as well as protect you and your loved ones. One of the most common of those goals is Medicaid planning. If you are unfamiliar with the need for Medicaid planning, you may wonder why Vero Beach Medicaid planning is important. The answer can be found in the likelihood that you (or a spouse) will need long-term care at some point down the road and in the high cost of that care. Will You Need Long-Term Care? No one knows, with any certainty, who among us will end up in long-term care (LTC) down the road. What we do know, however, is that when we all reach retirement age (65), everyone stands about a 50 percent chance of eventually needing LTC at some point after that. We also know that the odds of needing LTC increase with each passing year. By age 85, you will have about a 75 percent chance of ending up in a LTC facility prior to your death. Keep in mind that if you are married, your spouse has the same odds of needing LTC as you do. Considering the odds of eventually needing LTC, it only makes sense to plan as if you will need LTC to ensure that you are prepared to pay the high cost of that care. Nationwide, the average monthly cost of LTC runs about $6,500, or just over $80,000 per year as of 2016. In the State of New Jersey, however, you can expect to pay a bit more than the national average with an average monthly cost of $8,300 and an average yearly cost of right at $100,000 in 2016. Given that the average length of stay is 2.5 years, you could easily be facing a LTC bill of well over $250,000 were you to need that care today. Keep in mind as well that the cost of LTC is only going to increase in the future, thereby increasing the costs you may face for that care down the road. How Will You Pay for LTC? The real issue with the issue of LTC is how you will pay for it if you do need it. Like most seniors, you will probably rely on Medicare to cover the majority of your healthcare expenses. Unfortunately, however, Medicare only covers LTC expenses under very limited circumstances, and even then, only for a very limited period of time. Furthermore, most basic health insurance plans also exclude LTC expenses. Therefore, unless you purchased a standalone long-term care insurance policy prior to the need for coverage, you will be faced with the prospect of covering your LTC expenses out of pocket. The good news for many seniors in need of LTC is that Medicaid does help with LTC costs. The bad news is that qualifying for Medicaid can be problematic, particularly for an applicant who failed to plan ahead by including Medicaid planning in his/her comprehensive estate plan. Because Medicaid is a needs based program, eligibility is based, in part, on an applicant’s income and the value of the applicant’s “countable resources.” If you have income and/or resources that exceed the program limits you could face problems getting approved. The way to avoid that outcome is to include Medicaid planning in your overall estate plan long before the need for assistance covering your LTC bill arises. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your assets are protected and that you will qualify for Medicaid if the time comes that you need help with LTC expenses. Contact Vero Beach Medicaid Planning Lawyers For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about the need for Vero Beach Medicaid planning, or you wish to get started on your Medicaid planning component, contact the experienced Vero Beach Medicaid planning lawyers at Kulas Law Group by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment....Read more...
9/14/2017 10:53:43 AM

We hope everyone is safe after Hurricane Irma! Thankfully our office did not suffer any damage or flooding as other parts of the county did. Our hearts go out to all who were affected by this storm. We would also like to send a huge THANK YOU to all of our out of state friends, family, and colleagues who kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We are grateful to be back in the office!
9/12/2017 1:38:32 PM

When you think about important decisions you will need to make when creating your estate plan, you likely focus on decisions related to the distribution of your estate assets. While there is no doubt that deciding who will receive your assets, and how much each beneficiary will receive are important decisions, there are other equally important decisions you may not be contemplating – but you should. Throughout your estate plan, you will need to appoint fiduciaries. These people can lead to the success, or failure, of your estate planning goals. Despite this, many people give them very little thought. So that you do not make that mistake, the Vero Beach estate planning lawyers at Kulas Law Group help you choose your fiduciaries. What Is a Fiduciary and How Do I Decide Who to Appoint? A fiduciary is someone who holds a position of power and/or trust. In the context of estate planning, a fiduciary often controls estate assets and/or makes important decisions relating to those assets and to the beneficiaries for whom those assets are eventually intended. Every estate plan is unique; however, there are some common fiduciaries found within the common estate plan, such as the Executor of your estate. Unfortunately, people often name someone to a fiduciary position based solely on the relationship they have with that individual instead of based on the individual’s experience, skill, or general abilities related to the position. To help you avoid this mistake, consider the following guidelines when appointing your fiduciaries: Executor – when you execute your Last Will and Testament you will name an Executor within that document. Your Executor is the individual that will oversee the probate process that occurs after your death. The duties and responsibilities of an Executor are numerous and varied and include things such as identifying and securing your estate assets, notifying creditors and evaluating claims made against the estate, and defending your Will if someone files a Will contest. While it is tempting to name a spouse, keep in mind that your spouse will be grieving your loss and may not have the emotional fortitude to serve as Executor. Instead, appoint someone who you believe will have the time and energy to serve as well as who has some basic legal and financial skills and/or experience. Trustee – a Trustee is appointed by the Settlor (creator) of a trust and is responsible for managing and protecting trust assets as well as administering the trust according to the trust terms created by the Settlor. Once again, avoid the urge to appoint a spouse or close family member unless he/she is truly qualified. Your Trustee will need to have legal and financial skills and preferable experience in order to understand the trust terms and the laws relating to the administration of a trust. You also need to appoint someone who will not have a conflict of interest with the trust itself or the beneficiaries and who is capable of making trust decisions based on the trust purpose you stated without interjecting his/her own opinion. Finally, your Trustee should be good at conflict management and have the time to dedicate to the job of Trustee. Agent – you might appoint an Agent in a Power of Attorney or in an advance directive. In a POA your Agent may be given the legal authority to act on your behalf in specific situations or in general. This individual may have considerable power over your assets so be extremely careful who you appoint and in the extent of the authority to grant. You may also execute an advance directive that appoints an Agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you cannot make them yourself some day because of incapacity. Since these decisions will literally be life and death decisions, choose someone you trust implicitly and who knows you and your beliefs and wishes with regard to end of life treatment. This is where you will likely want to appoint a spouse to a fiduciary position. Contact Vero Beach Estate Planning Lawyers For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding who to appoint to fiduciary positions within your estate plan, contact the experienced Vero Beach estate planning lawyers at Kulas Law Group by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment....Read more...
9/11/2017 10:54:26 AM

Unlike a Will, which has to be filed with the court at the start of the probate process, a Revocable Living Trust generally does not have to be filed or recorded anywhere. Learn more here: https://www.kulaslaw.com/trust-filed-court/
9/8/2017 1:40:00 PM

Due to Hurricane Irma, our office will be closed beginning Friday, 9/8. We will reopen once it is determined safe to return. Thank you for understanding as we prepare for the safety of our families. We hope everyone stays safe and we urge you to take all precautions necessary if you have not done so already. As Gov. Rick Scott stated: "We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best"
9/7/2017 5:35:03 PM

For most people, the primary motivation for creating an estate plan is to ensure that their estate assets are distributed according to their wishes after they are gone. A comprehensive estate plan, however, can accomplish a great deal more than just providing a road map for the distribution of assets. In fact, a well drafted estate plan can also help to protect and grow those assets while you are alive as well as ensure that they help provide for loved ones after you are gone. The additional components you choose to include in your estate plan will depend on your unique estate planning goals and objectives; however, a common estate planning goal is probate avoidance. With that in mind, the Port St. Lucie probate attorneys at Kulas Law Group explain why probate avoidance is a common goal and offer tips that will help your estate avoid probate. What Is Probate? Probate is the legal process that is typically required following the death of an individual. Probate serves a number of different functions, including: Authentication of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament (if one was left behind) Identifying, valuing and eventually distributing estate assets Notifying creditors of the estate and allowing them to file claims against the estate Ensuring that state and federal taxes owed by the estate are paid Providing a legal forum for challenging the decedent’s Will Why Is Probate Avoidance Desirable? Probate avoidance is a very popular estate planning goal for several reasons. First, the probate process can be very long. Unless an estate qualifies for a small estate alternative to formal probate, it will typically take a minimum of four to six months to probate even a relatively modest estate. In the State of Florida, creditors have 90 days after the Notice to Creditors is published to file a claim against the estate, meaning the probate process must remain open for at least three months after the notice is published. For more complex estates, it is not unusual for it to take longer than a year to complete the probate of the estate. In the meantime, estate assets remain inaccessible to the intended beneficiaries of the estate. The other reason people often go to great lengths to avoid probate is the expense. There are a number of expenses that go along with the probate of an estate – and the longer it takes to get through probate, the higher those expenses as a general rule. Everyone involved in the probate process is entitled to a fee, including the Executor, estate planning attorney, appraisers, and accountants. It can also be costly to maintain estate assets during the probate of the estate. All of these expenses are paid out of the estate assets, thereby diminishing the value of the estate and providing a strong incentive to avoid probate when possible. Tips for Avoiding Probate The good news is that there are a number of probate avoidance strategies you can include in your overall estate plan to help your estate avoid probate. The key to avoiding probate, when possible, is to limit the number of probate assets you own at the time of your death. Not all assets are required to go through the probate process. Non-probate assets bypass probate altogether and can, therefore, be distributed to the intended beneficiary right away. The following tips may help you reduce your probate assets: Create a trust. Assets held in a trust bypass probate. By creating a trust, you can transfer most probate assets into the trust and effectively turn them into non-probate assets. Title property jointly with rights of survivorship. Your interest in your house, for example, could transfer directly to a spouse or adult child after your death if titled properly. Change account designations to “payable on death (POD)” or “transfer on death (TOD).” Assets held in a financial account, when designated as POD, will automatically become the property of the designated beneficiary upon your death; however, the beneficiary has no legal rights to the assets while you are alive. Use life insurance proceeds creatively. Life insurance proceeds are paid out directly to the beneficiary after your death. One creative way to use these proceeds is to create a funeral trust and fund it with the proceeds of a life insurance policy. The policy then pays for your funeral and the terms of the trust ensure that your wishes are honored. Contact Port St. Lucie Probate Attorneys For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding probate avoidance, contact the experienced Port St. Lucie probate attorneys at Kulas Law Group by calling (772) 398-0720 to schedule an appointment....Read more...
9/7/2017 10:54:31 AM

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