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Modern Estate Plans Specify Wishes for Online Identity and Accounts

Most people think about what will happen to their bank accounts, 401Ks, home, and their wedding rings when they pass away.

Gone are the days of keeping mementos in scrapbooks, photo albums, and boxes full of handwritten letters. After all the hours spent creating a Facebook profile and posts or eBay store, have you even thought about what will happen to your online identity in the afterlife? In our internet-overload world, imagine what could happen to your Facebook, Gmail, PayPal, iTunes, and many other accounts. Without proper estate planning, these accounts and even an individual’s finances could be in jeopardy.

People with access or malicious hackers could tap into your accounts and abuse or drain the debit or credit cards associated with them. Many heirs might not even think of this facet of estate planning in the aftermath of a loved one’s death. By the time the perpetrator is discovered it could be too late.

Finding an experienced estate planning attorney in your local area is a big plus. As physical assets and online ones change or accumulate, a good attorney can help an individual prepare for the distribution of assets and who should access chosen websites. Attorneys stay up to date with online tools to assist with convenient password transfers that a loved one wants to leave to a spouse, child, friend, or colleague. This way, digital assets are as safeguarded as life insurance policies, safety deposit boxes, and wills.

Many people will want to be remembered in special ways, so taking the time to think how you want to leave your Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, or even a blog will benefit you and your family in the event of your death. And what if you had an active eBay, iTunes, YouTube, or PayPal linked site? Individuals would not want their monies, clientele, or reputation to be harmed. Proper planning for every facet of your online presence will ensure your legacy and financial security continues on with the right individual at the helm.

Death is hardly a fun subject to talk about, but in a recent New York Times article, it was estimated that 375,000 U.S. Facebook users die every year. Facebook touts 500 million people use the site worldwide, so this estimate is probably low, but it highlights the growing importance of how your digital assets are handled once you have died. Forward-thinking estate planning attorneys and online tools will have an individual name a digital executor that will receive all directions for what to do with online accounts. This even includes deleting certain accounts one might not want to linger after death.

Most websites, like Facebook and Gmail, will want a copy of a death certificate, proof of power of attorney, and will do their own verifications to ensure the account should be turned to memorial mode or all emails turned over to a designated individual. With so many social networking and online user-created sites, an individual’s identity and wishes for how it should be preserved in the digital age will be a key factor in estate planning for many years to come.

In Florida, for example, Tampa estate planning attorney Reginald Osenton helps clients with every facet of a modern estate plan to secure an individual and family’s health and happiness. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling clients at Olivero Laws regarding estate plans to make their wishes known and establish directives for their financial, personal, and health care decisions.

Shiobhan Olivero is the Owner and President of Olivero Law If you need a Brandon bankruptcy lawyer, Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, or Tampa bankruptcy attorney, call 813.654.5777 or visit Brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 5:01 pm under Bankruptcy.
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Act Within the Next Two Years to Gift Monies without Hefty Gift Taxes

Brandon, Fla. – Wealthy individuals and married couples will have two years – 2011 and 2012 – to give a minimum of $5 million to loved ones without having to pay gift tax. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 created this tax break right before the winter holidays. Before then, individuals could only give $1 million tax-free, and it will transfer back to this amount in 2013.

With this legislation, gift, estate and GST tax-free minimums are now unified. And tax rates for estate and gift taxes are at all-time lows of 35 percent. Otherwise, in 2013 the rate will jump back up to 55 percent.

“This means the wisest time to act is now,” said Reginald Osenton, Brandon estate planning attorney. “If you even have an inkling of gifting money in these amounts, we can help you with all the documents and big decisions.”

Some of the advantages of the new legislation include:

–          Individuals being able to get big amounts out of their estate and gain appreciation on property that is given between the date of the gift and the donor’s death.

–          A gift may be made outright or through a trust. A trust can even be made more effective as a “grantor trust” for income tax reasons.

–          Gifts can come from fixed assets like real property, limited partnership interests, and undivided interests.

“Gifts must be made in 2011 or 2012 and must be irrevocable and complete,” said Osenton, who has more than 20 years of experience in estate planning. “Donors should always be careful to gift assets that they would not need to support themselves later in life.”

Olivero Law assists with gift tax returns, preparing trusts and wills, and specialized estate planning to help individuals achieve their final wishes. Their goal is to make sure that an individual’s finances are handled appropriately and distributed in the most efficient, timely manner.

To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 4:59 pm under News and Press.
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Spring Break Should Not Bring Chaos to a Shared Parenting Plan

Brandon, Fla. – Spring Break is coming up and with it thousands of divorced parents are going over their time sharing and parenting plans. Since the Florida divorce courts now focus on equal time sharing and herald the value of children spending time with their birth father and mother, it is important to know how holidays and other popular breaks influence the parenting plan.

An experienced family law attorney can help parents negotiate and overcome the challenges of a shared parenting plan. An attorney will help create a plan that is workable, keeps the children as the top priority, and gets the approval of the courts. The plan will outline how time should be divided normally as well as during Spring Break, summer, Christmas, and other noteworthy vacations. It will also cover child support, custody, education, religious training, schooling, sports, medical care, and any other special concerns.

When a parenting agreement has been finalized, making it a part of the court record is paramount. In case a parent would ever need it to be enforced by the court, this is the way to make sure a parent and the child’s rights, are upheld. Any wrongful deviations or changes needed to an agreement should be discussed immediately with a family law attorney.

A reasonable parenting agreement typically reduces conflicts because expectations are known from the beginning on how each parent will interact with the other when it comes to parenting their children.

“Communication and cooperation is key to help a child’s sense of well being and security,” said Brandon family lawyer Laurel A. Tesmer, Esq. “When parents can share not only responsibilities but fun times like Spring Break, a child’s development will progress better.”

Tesmer is the lead family lawyer at Olivero Law and has assisted hundreds of parents in divorce proceedings. She is a member of the Marital and Family Law Sections of the Florida Bar and the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Their firm is known for their sensitive and competent legal counsel to help children and parents for their next chapter in life.

To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 4:58 pm under News and Press.
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Experienced Tampa Attorney Explains Benefits of Bankruptcy Versus Debt Settlement

Tampa, Fla. – Personal bankruptcies increased to nine percent in 2010, affecting more than 1.5 million people. With estimates showing that in 2011 families and individuals will still be battling with high debts, stagnant job and income growth, it is hard to know which way to go with bills piling up.

TV and newspaper ads hawk the benefits of debt settlement one minute and bankruptcy the next. Debt settlement agencies negotiate directly with creditors to try to reduce debts for unsecured debt like personal loans, credit cards and medical bills, but not secured debt. Costly up-front fees and requirements to make monthly deposits into a debt settlement savings accounts can tie up quite a bit of money. Some companies want to collect monthly fees until all of the debt is settled, so they can prolong the length of time in the program to get more of an individual’s money.

And beware of any company that instructs you to stop paying monthly bills – late fees, defaults, higher interest rates, and even harassing calls could start to be the norm. Some creditors will try to take an individual to court, garnish wages or put liens on property. Overall, many individuals are left in a worse financial position with a negative credit report than when they started the debt settlement program.

“It can be devastating to hear a client’s story about how much money and effort has been spent, only to be left with no resolution and oftentimes more debt,” said Reginald Osenton, Tampa bankruptcy attorney at Olivero Law

The quicker an individual or struggling family speaks to an experienced bankruptcy attorney, the earlier problems can be avoided and assets protected. Bankruptcy can give individuals a fresh start and help them on the path to rebuilding their finances and life. Creditors will be prohibited from making constant phone calls and collecting on debts.

With a competent bankruptcy attorney, individuals can determine which chapter bankruptcy is approved for their income and debt levels. Chapter 7 will give an individual a fresh start by wiping out debts. Chapter 13 is for clients who have larger assets, better wages and will be put into a monthly cycle to make payments to a trustee for their debt.

Olivero Law, has extensive experience representing individuals and businesses in bankruptcy for more than 20 years. They understand that each case is unique and requires tailored strategies that work for the client. Oftentimes, they hold info sessions and bankruptcy seminars where individuals can find out what their choices are for the steps ahead.

To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011 at 4:57 pm under News and Press.
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