A gift for you on Mother’s Day!

Five years and five months ago I was blessed with the biggest, most wonderful gift of all: motherhood.  My daughter was born December of 2012 and as I always say, it is the most demanding but most rewarding job of all.

Is it really a job? If you think about it the answer is no. You do not get paid for working at this “job” and you cannot just leave sick and not come back for two days. You will not be fired and you cannot quit. Employment laws don’t cover you even though you are required to work 24-hour shifts, every day.  Even when your children start school, your mind cannot disconnect. You are always thinking of them.

So, for this hard job we moms do and we do with so much pleasure and pride, I wanted to treat Moms this month to a special gift.  Well, two gifts:

          Gift #1: If you would like to learn how you can make sure your children are cared the way you want by the people you want under any and all circumstances, if you want to protect your children from creditors and predators, and if you want to enjoy a bit of peace of mind, I invite you to come speak to me.  If you come in for a Life Planning & Beyond Session (FREE) with me this month, I will waive the session fee (a value of $250).

         Gift #2:  As a way of appreciation for your hard work, I want to know you get some pampering and time for yourself because you deserve it! The first Seven Moms that schedule a Life Planning & Beyond Session with me this month will receive a Mani/Pedi Gift Certificate (a value of $30).

So give us a call at 305-456-7158 and take advantage of our gifts to you . . . because we moms deserve it!

May you have a blessed and wonderful Mother’s Day surrounded by your children, your mom, your family, and friends!

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez, JD
Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158

DAISY - Happy mothers day text

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This is the worst thing I have heard in a while . . .

Do you have a child with special needs? If yes, then you must read this!

I was with a client a few days ago (signing her estate planning documents) who brought in her two nieces and heirs to the signing meeting. It happens that one of the nieces has a special needs child — an autistic child. I always call people with special needs, children, even though they are already over the age of 18 and are considered, by law, adults. Why? because they are usually unable to provide for themselves, live on their own, and sometimes, they even need assistance with daily living activities.

As we reviewed the aunt’s documents, the niece sure had questions. She first told me how she could not leave any money to his autistic son (who is already 24) because if she did, her son would lose his disability and Medicaid benefits.  She went further to say that she has named her daughter as the only beneficiary of her accounts and life insurance. I flipped.  She noted, “I cannot leave anything to my son, so I am going to have my daughter provide for him.” I must add [out of her own free will].  My jaw just dropped and I wanted to scream. Nooo. I said: No!

She looked at me puzzled. What is that “no” all about? I could read in her query eyes.

I could not help it. I opened her aunt’s file and looked for a blank page and I went on to explain how a plan for her could totally benefit her son without affecting her special child’s governmental assistance.

The main points here:

  1. If you leave your disable’s child inheritance to a family member, you totally disinherited you disabled child and if you become incapacitated or you die, that child has nothing. You will no longer have control of the money left and your child will be at the mercy of the life circumstances of the family member.
  2. I am not saying the family member will not provide for the disabled child (there are some good-hearted and trusted people out there), but how is the family member going to protect that money to make sure the money is always available to protect that disabled child? Have you ever thought of the effect of a lawsuit against that good-hearted and trusted family member or the sudden need for a bankruptcy?
  3. Your child’s needs will be higher than the needs of other siblings. Can you risk leaving your child unprotected?
  4. Are you leaving a real estate property in someone else’s name? How can you stop that family member from selling the property if cash becomes short? If so, where will your special child end up living?
  5. Through the years, I have learned that people change and can be influenced by others. Can you assure that the good-hearted and trusted family member will never change?
  6. Have you ever seen that family member handle and increase his or her own money?  Could that family member be able to do that for your special child?
  7. If one thing I can assure is that money can change people for the worse too easily. Even the best of people can fall for the temptation.
  8. I have seen grandparents pay off their mortgage with life insurance proceeds left to the grandkids. After all, they are providing a roof for the grandkids. But when the grandkids are ready for college, there is no money to afford it.
  9. I can go on and on and on. So, definitely, the Answer to leaving your disabled child’s inheritance to someone else with the hope that the person provides and cares for the disabled child’s needs is by far the worse idea I have heard in a while.

What is the solution? A Special Needs Trust!

Every family has different needs, but certainly, a special needs trust will make sure that the disabled child continues to qualify for governmental benefits and will be able to secure his inheritance for his own benefit. Yes, both can happen at the same time. There are restrictions on the special needs trust and the way the money can be used, but at the end, there are more benefits than restrictions.  In addition, you can always control what happens to the property you leave your child as well as residence choices by the use of trust planning.

So, please do not voluntarily disinherit your child with the most needs. Leave it to your disabled child in the proper way!

If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 305-456-7158.  We will be happy to set a time to talk about your specific needs and the solutions to those needs. There is no obligation.

Warmest Regards,

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158
info@yslawyers.com
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Have you Done Your Spring Cleaning Yet?

The rain season is here, officially since Sunday! Miami has been showered (well needed). April is almost over. That means that a quarter of the year is almost up. Have you cleaned up that closet? Did you organize the pantry and remove all expired items? Have you had an estate plan checkup this year?

You may or may not have an estate plan at this moment, but it is seriously a good time for an Estate Plan Checkup!

Don’t Have an Estate Plan? 

If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your Spring Clean-Up. What are you cleaning up with a plan in place? You are cleaning up worries and bringing some peace of mind to your life.

Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in probate court after you die.

Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to put in writing who and what will receive your inheritance, then the state where you live at the time of your death will essentially decide it for you.  It is often very likely that the plan of that state will be different to what you had in mind.

A common misconception is that estate planning is only necessary for wealthy people or for when you die. But this simply isn’t true – anyone with a bank or a retirement account, a home, or a family needs to have a plan, so their family and their assets are managed and protected in the event of an incapacity and are properly transferred to who you want if you die.

Keep in mind that the complexity of a plan will vary depending on your circumstances, but even if you think you need a “simple” plan, at the least, inform yourself with an attorney experienced with the legal formalities of estate planning. It may sound simple, but there is a reason other attorneys hire an estate planning attorney to do their plans.

How Old is Your Estate Plan?

You already have a plan in place?

Great. Go ahead and pull your documents out of the drawer, dust them off, and look at the date you signed them.

Were your documents signed in the 80s or 90s, or, worse yet, before 1980?  Then please run, don’t walk, to an estate planning attorney, because your documents are terribly out of date and need to be brought into the new millennium as soon as possible.

Did you sign your documents in the 2000s? Well, they can be almost 20 years old and many things have changed in the law through these years. Aside from the federal estate tax exemption jumping from $675,000 to $11 million this year, state estate taxes have disappeared in many states. There have been changes to gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and “portability” of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples was introduced, and more.

Even if you did your plan in the last two years, it is safer to do a Clean-up. So, dust that package off and take it to an attorney to review.  You should not let your documents sit there for longer than three years without a review. Especially so if you have a new account, a new home, sold or bought a property, have a new child or grandchild or even a new dog, moved to a new state, got married or divorced, sell a business or bought one, retire or won the lottery!? Any major change in your life shall be a reason to review your estate plan.

It does not mean you will re-do the plan every three years. Many times and I speak from experience, clients coming to my office for a review do not need any changes.  However, some do. You should err on the side of caution and make sure your plan always works – that’s the main goal after all!  If you are our prior client, we review your documents every three years at no additional charge!  If you are not our prior client, give us a call and find out if you qualify for a free review.

Estate Planning is Not a One Shot Deal

Estate planning is not a time even that you do and then forget about it.  On the contrary, estate planning is a continuous process, because life is always changing, and so should your estate plan change with the rhythm of your life.

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Yahima Suarez, J.D.
Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158

Have you Done your Spring Cleaning Yet?

The rain season is here, officially since Sunday! Miami has been showered (well needed). April is almost over. That means that a quarter of the year is almost up. Have you cleaned up that closet? Did you organize the pantry and remove all expired items? Have you had an estate plan checkup this year?

You may or may not have an estate plan at this moment, but it is seriously a good time for an Estate Plan Checkup!

Don’t Have an Estate Plan? 

If you don’t already have an estate plan, then getting one in place should be at the top of your Spring Clean-Up. What are you cleaning up with a plan in place? You are cleaning up worries and bringing some peace of mind to your life.

Why?  Because without an estate plan, you and your property may end up in a court-supervised guardianship if you become incapacitated, and your property and your loved ones may end up in probate court after you die.

Worse yet, if you don’t take the time to put in writing who and what will receive your inheritance, then the state where you live at the time of your death will essentially decide it for you.  It is often very likely that the plan of that state will be different to what you had in mind.

A common misconception is that estate planning is only necessary for wealthy people or for when you die. But this simply isn’t true – anyone with a bank or a retirement account, a home, or a family needs to have a plan, so their family and their assets are managed and protected in the event of an incapacity and are properly transferred to who you want if you die.

Keep in mind that the complexity of a plan will vary depending on your circumstances, but even if you think you need a “simple” plan, at the least, inform yourself with an attorney experienced with the legal formalities of estate planning. It may sound simple, but there is a reason other attorneys hire an estate planning attorney to do their plans.

How Old is Your Estate Plan?

You already have a plan in place?

Great. Go ahead and pull your documents out of the drawer, dust them off, and look at the date you signed them.

Were your documents signed in the 80s or 90s, or, worse yet, before 1980?  Then please run, don’t walk, to an estate planning attorney, because your documents are terribly out of date and need to be brought into the new millennium as soon as possible.

Did you sign your documents in the 2000s? Well, they can be almost 20 years old and many things have changed in the law through these years. Aside from the federal estate tax exemption jumping from $675,000 to $11 million this year, state estate taxes have disappeared in many states. There have been changes to gift taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes, and “portability” of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples was introduced, and more.

Even if you did your plan in the last two years, it is safer to do a Clean-up. So, dust that package off and take it to an attorney to review.  You should not let your documents sit there for longer than three years without a review. Especially so if you have a new account, a new home, sold or bought a property, have a new child or grandchild or even a new dog, moved to a new state, got married or divorced, sell a business or bought one, retire or won the lottery!? Any major change in your life shall be a reason to review your estate plan.

It does not mean you will re-do the plan every three years. Many times and I speak from experience, clients coming to my office for a review do not need any changes.  However, some do. You should err on the side of caution and make sure your plan always works – that’s the main goal after all!  If you are our prior client, we review your documents every three years at no additional charge!  If you are not our prior client, give us a call and find out if you qualify for a free review.

Estate Planning is Not a One Shot Deal

Estate planning is not a time even that you do and then forget about it.  On the contrary, estate planning is a continuous process, because life is always changing, and so should your estate plan change with the rhythm of your life.

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Yahima Suarez, J.D.
Yahima Suarez, PA
305-456-7158

Easter – Happy Bunny!

I meant, Happy Easter, Bunny! 🙂

This Sunday easter was quiet and the temperature was just right. It was warm but a cool breeze helped cope with it. It felt peaceful.

This morning we woke up to get ready for a birthday party. It was my littlest of my daughter’s friends. She is little but mighty. Daniela’s friend is very petite but she is the same age as Daniela, while Daniels is one of the tallest in her class. While they are mismatched in height, they have become great friends. Who said there are rules to friendship?

This reminds me of my oldest best friend and not because she is my oldest friend but we have been friends since we were both in first grade. Our families never knew each other before and we never shared family events, but we chose to be each other friend forever.

Are friendships now as disposable as smartphones? Probably for some. I, however, believe that friends are the brothers and sisters our parents did not give us, but the brothers and sisters we choose.  As the saying says, some come for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I have had friends on each of the three categories.  But, I truly treasure those life timers.

On this Easter Day, I want to say thank you to all of those who I call true friends for always been there!

Do you have friends you truly value? If you do, take a moment and give them a call (or just text them if you find it easier) and tell them how much you appreciate them!

Hope you enjoyed your day . . .

Yahima

 

Cyber-Fraud / Email Fraud

Important! Please be very cautious when you are handling big money transactions with information transferred online!

This just happened:

Person was purchasing a property cash. As in prior transactions, he received wiring instructions from the title company to transfer almost $200,000.  He went to the bank and wired the money and then went and signed the closing documents. Done deal!  As soon as he left he got a call from the realtor to run to the bank to try to cancel the transaction because the title company’s email was hacked and the wiring instructions were wrong.

What happens now? I am trying to figure it out and I will get to you with more info. BUT, we want to make sure that you do not need to know what to do if it happens, we hope it can be avoided.

Make sure that before you transfer big amounts of money (or even small amounts) that you confirm instructions. If you are not confident, then get a cashier’s check.  Transactions with a cashier’s check take longer but better late than lost.

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Yahima Suarez, JD.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Life Planning & Beyond
305-456-7158

Paying back or paying forward?

I was in Court yesterday morning and I genuinely had the opportunity to introduce two professionals. I met my client’s daughter who is a psychologist involved with dependency cases. I also met my opposing counsel who is a Board Certified Juvenile attorney dealing with tons of dependency cases.  Perfect timing for an introduction that promises to be fruitful.

My intern noticed: “you are always connecting people.”

I replied: “Sometimes you do not have the opportunity to ‘payback’ so you “pay forward.” I have been helped so much, I always try to pass it on by ‘giving forward.'”

As I was driving to the office, I get a phone call. It was a colleague in another city who promised (voluntarily) to give me a heads up on his very unique and effective estate planning strategy.

I received an hour of a class that by its content is priceless! There is no book written on the subject (yet).

I certainly love giving forward. What goes around, comes around!

Have a wonderful day . . .

Yahima

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Attorney Yahima Suarez Life Planning & Beyond

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Is Valentine’s Day a day of Roses and Chocolate and expensive gifts? Is it a day of dining out (and making lines for that matter)? It is for many.

To me, Valentine’s day is a reminder of the power of Love in the whole extension of the word.  I celebrate Love Day Every Day! But, Valentine’s day is a reminder that love is much more than just a box of chocolates. It is appreciation and it is understanding.

I am so grateful for the love in my life — my family, my friends, my life  Thank you to all those who make my life full of love.

May you have a beautiful Love Day!

Yahima

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Attorney Yahima Suarez Life Planning & Beyond

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My dog is a piece of property!

I know it sounds horrible. My dog is like my child and she is treated as such. Besi, my seven-year-old chihuahua has never thought herself a dog. She feels human. She does not fetch or do doggy things. She sits and cuddles and loves sleeping in my bed. She loves the attention and the care.  Is she my property? Sure, she is (even though she thinks she owns me). Under the law, Besi is a piece of personal property.

So, for many years, a piece of personal property could not inherit property, only humans could. Eventually, Florida allowed for pet owners to leave in place protections for their pet through the creation of a pet’s trust. These trusts can provide for a dog or any other pet during the life of the trust creator or pet owner, which comes very handy in events of incapacity) or after the pet owner (or trust creator) dies.

Everyone’s reaction is usually “I am not going to die yet.” You are probably not, but what if there is an accident and you need to be in the hospital or rehabilitation for several months? You are alive and you will be well, but what happens to your pets during that period of time? Who will provide their basic needs for them, buy food, do their shots, buy shampoo and bath them? As with a child, a pet is your responsibility and proper planning is essential for their well-being and protection.  Would you like to see your furred family member in a shelter?

Just as with any other aspect of your life, proper planning can take care of all your needs and the needs of your family, including your pets.  So when you put your estate plan in place, do not forget to mention that “member of the family” that will not ask for anything but will be needy without you.

Want to know more? Send me an email to yslawyers@gmail.com or call my office at 305-456-7158 and we can schedule a Life Planning and Beyond Session with me so we can review all your needs and options.

My loving pets:

Left to Right: Besi (a/k/a Tuti), Dana, and Corazoncito Azul (a/k/a Pitita)

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Yahima Suarez, JD

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Hurricane Irma, the Aftermath!

Dear friends,

How was your experience with Hurricane Irma. I hope for you to share with us. As we all know Irma hit the Keys very hard, and although Miami-Dade and Broward only got a small part of Irma, almost a million were without electricity and many are still without electricity.  Thet West Coast may take another 10 days to get all power back.

I have to say, I am thankful because we did not get the category 5 hurricane that threatened us and we just did not have power, lost a few trees, and minor property damage to most.  (I cannot leave out long gas lines before and after the storm).

I just got power back at home last night (and none yet at the office) it was seriously an experience.  My four-year-old could not understand why the cell phone did not have “battery,” why didn’t I just plug in the “white cable”? Kids have the perfect solution. So, this was a week of learnings and teachings. I had not been in this heat since 2013 that I visited Cuba in July and I was concerned for my little one that is used to the very cold temperatures of the AC.

My concerns were not very well founded because my daughter did not complain about the heat, not once.  She was sweaty as can be but she was happy to have mom and dad home all day and all night. She was happy to sleep with mattresses on the floor by the back door with a fan . . . (thankfully we had a generator), and she drank cold water by the ton.

So, what’s there to learn? Lots.  Neighbors got closer and helped each other, supported and cheered each other. We were reminded of how spoiled we are with technology and electricity and all the comfort we enjoy on a daily basis.  These events remind us that we have to appreciate more and complain less 🙂

Please share your experiences! We all want to know . . .

From every experience, we learn . . . hope you are all safe by now. Danger is still out there with power lines down and traffic lights off, so be careful!  See you soon!

File Apr 05, 10 25 23 PM

Yahima Suarez, Esq.

Life Planning & Beyond

305-456-7158