The Law Office of Herman and Herman is available to serve your legal needs in office, by Internet and phone conferences and mail and email transmission of documents. Our in-office services comply with CDC protocols. Regrettably, the often unexpected and sometimes tragic consequences of Covid-19’s infection have illustrated why it is essential that everyone have a Health Care Surrogate (HCS) executed and on file with your primary physician, with copies to the relatives named in your (HSC) who may be called upon, if you are unable to communicate with your health care providers during your care. (The HSC provides for assistance while living, but unable to communicate your wishes, as contrasted with a Living Will that states your wishes if you are in a terminable condition.)
This is also the time to review your will and any other estate planning documents (such as the designation on accounts of whom a bank or similar account will pass to, if you are not living) , or to prepare a will if you do not have one. While attorneys can proceed with an estate through the courts if there is no will, a will simplifies the process of any probate matters that may be required, lessens the time involved and makes any expense involved substantially lower than when there is no will.
As a service to our community at this time, Harley Herman created a program with other local attorneys to prepare wills and health care directives for first responders and health care providers. The program has been in operation since May of 2020 and has assisted many of our essential workers since then.
Stay safe and be reassured, we will survive this time and prosper when all of this ends. In the early days of my 42 years of practicing law, I met with and provided services to many retirees who had lived through and survived the Great Depression. They were some of greatest and wisest clients I had the privilege to serve. We are their descendants and we will make them proud!
Harley Herman, Attorney at Law
Rarely do parents with minor children provide for their children with even a simple will or trust. While our practice has involved the preparation of thousands of wills, only a few hundred in over 35 years of will and trust preparation have involved wills or trusts prepared for parents of minor children. This isn’t because we don’t offer these wills. It’s because few parents of minor children think of the need to have these essential care-planning documents prepared. While senior citizen wills and trust are an important part of planning for our final years, their ability to simplify and reduce the cost of distributing estates, pales in comparison to the needs of minor children if unexpected illness or accident occurs while their children are minors. A very primary issue even if the parent has few assets is who the child will live with and who will make his or her life decisions if the child’s parents are no longer here. What could have been a simple decision can turn into a long and expensive court battle that didn’t need to occur and could even result in the child or children being removed from the relatives they have known all their lives.
For parents with assets, or for the child who receives a substantial settlement when a parent’s death is caused by the negligence of a driver or business, the lack of a will with trust provisions or a trust can deprive a child of support when it is really needed. Few parties are prepared to set up a financial plan that provides for a child during his or her dependent years. Additionally without trust provisions in a will (even at a time when the parent does not have many assets), a minor child in Florida is entitled to all of his or her funds when the child turns 18 years of age, even though sound planning would spread the inheritance over the child’s college years and a bit beyond, if possible. Few children have the maturity to retain an inheritance when they just reach the minimum age of adulthood. Even the few who begin responsibly, will soon find a crowd of “friends” who are far too eager to spend a child’s inheritance. The classic lines from the old Billie Holiday song “God Bless the Child” still apply:
“When you’ve got money, you’ve got lots of friends, coming round your door.
But when the money’s gone and all their friending ends . . . They won’t be around any more”
A fairly simple and relatively inexpensive will with trust and guardianship provisions can prevent this disaster. It may not be flashy, or score many Internet hits and it won’t be found on a U-tube video, but the gift of a will or trust that protects your children or allows your children to protect your grandchildren may be one of the greatest legal gifts you can provide to your loved ones