During this COVID-19 crisis, our team remains fully operational and available to provide all legal services. Though our physical office is closed for the health and safety of our clients and staff, we are available at any time for phone or videoconference consultations. In addition, for those Floridians in urgent need, we also offer in-car signings of critical documents. These signings meet all state-required safety guidelines and also incorporate additional safety measures.  Stay safe and give us a call today!

At the Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A., our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques.  Please watch our videos to learn more about who we are and the services we provide.

Serving Miami and South Florida since 1985

Founded in 1985 by Brian C. Perlin, the Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A. is a boutique law firm located in Coral Gables, Florida. Our office represents clients throughout South Florida in matters related to estate planning, probate, trust administration, elder law and asset protection. Through extensive knowledge of the law, along with our background in tax and financial services, we provide clients with tailored, strategic plans to meet their needs and the needs of their families, while being mindful of the life events many clients are facing.

The Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A. prides itself on the creation of well-designed estate plans, and on easing the burden of the probate, guardianship and trust administration processes. For over 35 years, we have safeguarded thousands of families from the potentially devastating effects of illness, disability, creditor claims and death. Regardless of your stage in life, it is never too early or too late to make a plan. We look forward to assisting you in achieving a peace of mind that only comes from the creation of a proper legal plan.


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Why You Need to Protect Your Digital Assets in the New Year

This year did you include in your New Year’s resolutions looking into how to protect your digital assets?   With protecting digital assets a hot topic and data security in the headlines, digital privacy is on the mind of many Floridians this month.  This year is a perfect time to consider working to ensure that our digital assets are secure now and in the future, including after we pass on.  As you work with your estate planning attorney to create or update your Florida estate plan did you know that your digital assets may be included?  They can be and by including your digital assets into your estate plan you can actually secure them for the future. We want to share with you the following guidelines to help you understand how to include your digital assets in your estate plan and keep them secure.  1.  Most of our digital assets are password protected therefore a critical first step in addressing the security of your  assets is protecting and preserving your passwords.  2.  It is tough to keep track of all of the different passwords you use to access different accounts on a frequent basis.  You may be using a place on your computer or cell phone  to remember and maintain your passwords. However, this is not the most secure practice.   3. When choosing passwords it is important to choose strong passwords not easily guessed, and to change them frequently, even if only once a year. It is also important to frequently check in to ensure your passwords have not been compromised. If they have, update them immediately!   4.  You could keep track of your passwords by making a written list and keeping it in a locked desk drawer or safe deposit box. However, it should be somewhere you can access frequently, so that you may make updates to the list if you need to. 5. When creating or updating your estate plan your digital assets can be included. Your assets may be financial or sentimental.  Examples of financial digital assets are PayPal, Venmo, or bitcoin accounts. A collection of photographs or videos of your children and grandchildren are examples of sentimental assets.   6.  Your digital assets need someone to be able to access them after you pass away. Perhaps you could consider choosing a “password person” who you trust with your password information. You could also keep them informed of where you keep your password list so they can access it when needed.  As a part of the estate plan you create or update you may also detail who should have access to your digital assets or leave your personal representative instructions about your passwords.  We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. At the Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A., our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.

Are You Putting Off Your Long-Term Care Planning?

The New Year is here and as the month of January gets underway, are you thinking about the resolutions you set? We know many of our friends and clients in Florida are focusing on how to begin to accomplish the resolutions they set. What are your resolutions? Did you focus on your work or on your health or on your family? Did reaching your estate planning goals or your long-term care goals make the list?

We want you to know that no matter what resolutions are on your list, one of the most important resolutions you can focus on this year is creating an estate plan and a long-term care plan. Both plans can reflect what you need right now, as well as what you will need in the future. It is unfortunate that less than half of all Americans have a current estate plan and even fewer have a long-term care plan. These statistics are of great concern as research tells us that over 70% of Americans over 65 years of age will have to have some form of long-term care during their lifetime. At this time the current cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home in Florida is over $8,500 per month. This amount only covers the cost of the room.

With long-term care at over $100,000 per year in out of pocket costs, you cannot afford to put off the planning you may need in the future. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover long-term nursing care. In fact, traditional Medicare only fully covers up to 20 days, and up to 100 days with a daily coinsurance payment of nursing care after a hospital stay. If you need long-term care, in a facility or in your own home, it can be extremely expensive. This is why it may be important for Florida seniors to have a long term care plan in place as soon as possible.

When consulting with our clients, most let us know that they have no desire to reside for the long-term in a skilled nursing home. We understand this desire. We also know that much of the care that is needed can be provided by skilled care providers in the home, as long as it can be paid for. Again, this is where the Medicare program falls short. In almost all circumstances, it does not pay for this form of care in the home.

• You may limit your options for being able to afford long-term care without a plan in place that you create with your experienced elder law attorney. The following statements could be the reality you may face without a long-term care plan in place:
• Rely on your own savings and spend them, which will cost you your legacy
• Lose your legacy to afford the ever rising cost of long-term care
• Try to buy long-term care insurance, although the premiums may be both expensive and unavailable if you wait too long or have an underlying health condition
• Rely on adult children, often called the “Sandwich Generation,” for financial support

Your experienced Florida elder law attorney can work with you to develop a long-term care plan that can assist you in accessing the much needed public benefits for this needed long-term care assistance.

Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is a qualification program to help you afford this type of care and not lose a lifetime of savings to meet long-term care needs. However, many people may not qualify because their income and assets are “too high”, so they wrongly assume they must pay for long-term care on their own. Now, it is true that when the money runs out, they can qualify for Medicaid coverage but it may not have to be this way. Your elder law attorney will help you navigate your questions and find the answers you need. In addition, if you have a family caregiver you can rely on, your elder law attorney can help you create a relationship together that allows you to get the services you need and provide financial compensation to the family caregiver as well. Your elder law attorney can create this relationship in such a way that does not penalize you for accessing needed future benefits.

What should you do? There are ways to qualify for Medicaid earlier, but it does require careful planning. At the Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A., our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.

Important Estate Planning Resolutions You Need in the New Year

Have you taken the time to focus on your goals and resolutions now that the New Year has arrived? Have you decided to get organized or are you adding new and better habits? We know you have many ideas surrounding how you will achieve the resolutions you set for yourself and want to share one that is both easy and critical to complete!

What is the most important New Year’s resolution you can make this year? Creating or updating your Florida estate plan! Your estate plan can protect you during life and at the time of your passing. Right now, you can work with your estate planning attorney to ensure that your choices and wishes surrounding your health care and finances are honored by your chosen decision maker. In addition, you also ensure that your family can be provided for when you are no longer here with them through the legacy you create.

You should start moving forward with this resolution as soon as possible! To maximize the potential benefits a Florida estate plan has to offer, take the steps needed to help ensure that your estate plan remains updated to reflect your most current circumstances and goals. If you have an existing plan, time is of the essence to review it and ensure that it still meets your needs.

In creating a Florida estate plan your estate planning attorney will use a variety of legal planning tools to address how your assets will be managed and distributed in the event of your death or incapacity, among other things. We know that many changes can happen within your family, your business, and your finances in a year. Therefore, it is important to make sure your estate plan remains effective in not only encapsulating the desired future for you and your loved ones, but also has the best tools in place to accomplish those goals. So, when there is a birth, death, divorce, or other life update or changes in laws, you should make it a priority, and an achievable resolution, to work with your attorney to determine if your estate plan needs any updates or significant changes.

Your Florida estate planning attorney will discuss with you the importance of lifetime planning tools such as the durable power of attorney for your finances and related health care documents like the living will. Deciding who should be your decision maker, and back up decision maker, in times of crisis or in an emergency situation is a very important decision and one that your estate planning attorney can advise you about. Also, your attorney can also discuss with you the difference between will based estate planning and trust based estate planning. A will is subject to the Florida probate court but a trust is not. Make learning more about these two planning tools, as well as how a trust can be a very versatile estate planning vehicle to help protect and distribute your assets, one of your achievable resolutions

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you achieve the New Year’s Resolution of having a Florida estate plan that can meet your needs. At the Law Office of Brian C. Perlin, P.A., our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.

Managing Uncertain Times Through Your Estate Planning

Do you have a Florida estate plan? Are you keeping up-to-date in regard to any impacts from current or pending tax law changes or legislation to your Florida estate plan? At our law firm we stay informed in regard to the tax laws and legislation so that we may focus on the specific needs of our clients who may need assistance with estate planning that will help them both now, and in the future.

Regarding the impact of taxes on your Florida estate planning, it can be very complicated. That is why it is very important to have a good relationship with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, especially in years when the tax code may change. In addition, once you have created your estate plan, it is important to see your attorney regularly and keep your estate plan up-to-date..

Our clients know that they can rely on our firm to keep them up-to-date on any and all changes in both taxes and legislation. Our clients know they can trust us and they look to our firm for guidance and this is a role we welcome. Estate planning is an area of law defined by what the client needs at a particular time and circumstance in life, knowing these plans could change later. Estate planning attorneys provide comprehensive Florida estate planning, durable power of attorney and other important financial legal documents, health care planning and end of life care, long-term care planning and assistance in navigating the changes that could impact the longevity of the created estate plan.

We can ensure that your Florida estate plan will remain relevant by our firm knowing when the tax laws change and how to address these changes. The impact of taxes, what type of estate plan to have, how to create a legacy and navigate the estate and gift tax structure are complicated issues. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you and your loved ones in handling such issues.

Want to give yourself and your loved ones peace of mind? Create your estate plan now or revise an existing one. By planning sooner rather than later you not only help ensure that the potential tax costs are covered, but your estate plan may also protect your life savings from being depleted due to poor or inexperienced planning.

As experienced Florida estate planning attorneys we use a variety of legal tools and techniques. Our firm takes into consideration many of the key issues that Floridians face: tax changes, financial well-being, health concerns and autonomy, legacy and family protection, and quality of life. For assistance in estate planning matters, please contact our office to set up a meeting time.

7 Questions to Use When Updating Your Estate Plan at the End of the Year

As the new year, 2022, is fast approaching and the pandemic continues, are you still busy finishing up all your end of the year plans? As you take stock of what has happened this year and reflect on goals for the coming year, are you also thinking about your future, as well?

Again, as you think about the past year and look to the future, what are your goals for yourself, your loved ones, and your legacy? What do you immediately need to accomplish before the end of the year? What are you thinking that the future may hold for you? We encourage you to include in your planning either completing or updating your Florida estate plan with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.

Do you have a current Florida estate plan? If your answer is yes, have you updated it recently? Do you have questions on where to begin to update it? Consider the following seven questions for your use, in addition to your own, to ensure that you have the peace of mind that can come from good estate planning.

1. Who will make your decisions if you are not able to make them for yourself and if you own a business, who could handle your business affairs if you cannot?
2. Will your out-of-state estate planning documents be valid and acceptable in Florida?
3. Have there been any changes in your family structure that necessitate the need to update your planning, including, have you added pets to your family?
4. Do you have a taxable estate and has your accountant or investment advisor recommended you make gifts?
5. Should your adult children be in charge of your finances?
6. Do you need additional insurance policies?
7. Will your retirement plans be able to support you as you age?

Everyday we hear questions like the ones above from our clients and their family members. When it comes to Florida estate planning, you need to know your plan will work when you need it to. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We can guide you and your family through your Florida estate planning options. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a meeting with our experienced Florida attorneys.

Visiting Florida Seniors During The Holidays? Here is What to Be on the Lookout For

During the holidays are you planning to check in and see how your parents have been doing in their day to day lives? Are you planning to discuss long-term care with your parents? Do you know exactly what long-term care planning is? The National Institute on Aging defines long-term care planning as steps to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a long or short period of time. With the help of these services, people may be able to live as independently and safely as possible even though they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.

1. Long-term care planning is impacted by both personal wishes and financial means best suited for a person. The following are some six helpful questions to ask your parents this holiday season to determine what type of long-term care planning may be best for them.

2. Do your parents want to live in assisted living or do they want to remain in their home? Assisted living can offer a wide range of amenities that may make it an attractive option to some. Other times, people want to stay in their own home at all costs.

3. If your parents choose to stay in their home, what needs to be done to help them remain in their home as long as possible and remain safe? There may need to be modifications to their home to make it safer and easier to move around. There may also need to be part-time in-home care help or a family caregiver may move in with them or make daily visits.

4. Do your parents still drive? As delicately as possible, ask them about driving. Are they anxious about driving? Have there been any car accidents, even minor ones? These can be signs that it may be time for your parents to stop driving and discuss alternate means of transportation.

5. Do your parents have any plans in place for how to pay for a nursing home if the need should arrive? Are you aware that Medicare may cover a short stay in a nursing home, but beyond that, your parents will need to cover the cost. Do they have the money or long-term care insurance? Medicaid planning may be done to preserve the assets of your parents and may make them eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost.

6. Who will handle the financial matters of your parents? As people age, they are more prone to a medical event, such as a stroke, which can leave them mentally incapacitated without warning. A durable power of attorney can be an important legal instrument to have executed and will give the designated person access to bank accounts and allow them to make financial decisions. Be sure to ask your parents about what plans they have in place for the management of their affairs in the future.

Do your parents need assistance locating a qualified elder law attorney? It is crucial that once you have had the conversation with your parents regarding long-term care planning, they should locate a qualified elder law attorney to help with long-term care planning.

Knowing that there is a long-term care plan in place, your parents will be able to enjoy their golden years. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We can guide you and your family through your Florida long-term care planning options. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a meeting with our experienced Florida attorneys.

The End of the Year Estate Planning Checklist

The end of 2021 is quickly approaching! As the year winds down, we know there are many things that you have on your to-do list. Is reviewing your Florida estate planning, however, at the top of this list?

Many of our clients, as well as the advisors we work with in our local community, have asked us in the recent months what they should be looking out for when it comes to their estate planning. Let us share a few vital pieces of information with you here in our Florida Estate Planning Checklist. You may use these checklist items now, or any time throughout the year, to make sure that your estate plan reflects your goals for both the present and the future. Of course, do not hesitate to contact our office as well, so that we may help you get started.

1. Reviewing Older Estate Plans. Did you know, most Americans who have an estate plan never bother to update it? Do not make this mistake. After all, small details such as name changes and address changes can cause problems down the line when they are not updated.

2. Health Care Decision Making Powers. If you could not make health care decisions for yourself, have you given legal authority to the decision maker you want in place? The last two years have taught us we cannot take our health for granted. It is time to check in with your Florida estate planning attorney to make sure you have the person you want to have legal authority to make decisions for you in a crisis set up properly.

3. Legacy Creation. Estate planning is about so much more than who should inherit from you at your death. A strong Florida estate plan allows you to create a legacy not just for yourself, but for what you care about most. Does your current Florida estate plan reflect the legacy you wish to leave to the world? Are you not sure it will be able to do what you want it to? Do not put off scheduling a meeting with an experienced Florida estate planning firm to get answers to your questions.

4. Long-Term Care Protections. Did you know, most Americans will face a future where they need significant long-term care? It is true and, unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for most types of custodial long-term care. It is critical for you to consider your long-term care needs and how the financial drain on your resources could impact your estate-planning.

5. Probate Avoidance. Your Florida estate plan should be crafted in such a way to help you avoid the Florida probate process. Unfortunately, probate is costly, long, and public. When you work with an experienced Florida estate planning firm, however, your attorney can guide you through the plan you need to avoid probate and help your future generations.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Let us help you create or update the Florida estate plan you need to reach your goals. Contact our law practice now, or at any time throughout the year, and schedule a meeting to make sure you have the Florida estate planning you need to accomplish your goals.

How to Best Support a Loved One Who is Newly Diagnosed with Alzheimers

Do you have a loved one recently diagnosed with Alzheimers?  Do you know what exactly Alzheimers is?  It is a type of dementia that can cause problems with memory, thinking, cognition, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, with end-stages of the disease becoming life-threatening. 

Early detection is critical because there is still no cure. In addition, early detection can offer the best chance for effective treatment and improved quality of life. Memory loss is the most widely recognized early warning sign and knowing what to do about it could make all the difference in your treatment options.

As an elder law firm, we work with seniors and their loved ones every day to find ways to protect themselves from this terrible disease. We can find the care you need and ensure there is a way to pay for it that does not impoverish your family. Let us share three important tips to help you and your loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia-related memory issues. 

1. Begin to make decisions now. Are you concerned about the changes to memory, thinking, or behavior you are observing in your loved one? What is it that your loved one is doing, or not doing?  Has anyone else noticed the same changes?  Keep a record of your concerns and review them over time to help establish the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and the normal aging process. With aging, a certain amount of memory loss and confusion is to be expected, also other factors may affect older adults as well, such as prescription medications, stress, and other health conditions. 

2. Communicate with your loved one and family. It can be difficult talking to a loved one about his or her mental health. It is important, though, to acknowledge your concerns.  In addition, it is important to reach out and speak with other family members and decide who should begin the conversation. Decide whether it is best to talk about concerns in a face-to-face talk, or to include several family members. Always let compassion, understanding, and support be key.

3. Getting help is crucial. Your most important first step should be to schedule a doctor’s evaluation. Your next step should be to become familiar with support organizations and what they can do for you.  For instance, organizations like Alzheimer’s Disease, and memory loss assistance programs.  In addition, there are caring professionals to help with daily challenges, getting to medical appointments, and important legal and financial planning items. 

Our law firm can help you plan for the future to determine what type of long-term care may be needed. Be aware that long-term care, whether inside or outside the home, can be expensive. Our law firm can also help you and your loved ones find ways to be able to afford long-term care.

We know how difficult this conversation can be and want to help. Do not wait to contact us to schedule a meeting with our firm to help you and your loved ones create a plan for the future. 

Do You Know the Warning Signs Your Grantor Trust Could Be at Risk?

Would your estate plan be able to withstand a tax hit on a state or national level? As an experienced Florida estate planning law firm, each year we watch as both the state and federal government look for ways to pay for the national or state debt. We want to ensure that our hard-working clients and the generational wealth that they have accumulated over their lifetimes is protected. Unfortunately, we have seen just how devastating the tax hit can be for an American family that either did not know how to plan their estate, received poor guidance from their existing attorney, or simply did not have an attorney who focused on how the laws changed.

One of the priorities of our firm is to continue to closely monitor both the federal changes to the estate tax limits and also how the federal government is proposing to change the existing estate planning tools available, in addition to any changes by the state. Dropping from $11.7 million in protection to $5 million is a significant reduction that needs to be carefully monitored by your estate planning attorney. While Florida does not have a state death tax or inheritance tax, this does not mean Floridians will not be impacted should the TCJA sunset at the end of this year and the federal estate tax limit dropped down to $5 million per individual.

There is a concerning development in the proposed Congressional legislation involving the removal or limitation of the use of grantor trust agreements. What is a grantor trust agreement? A grantor trust agreement is an estate planning tool that allows a grantor to create a legacy for his or her loved ones by transferring significant wealth to them in a tax free manner. The distributions from the grantor trust are typically not included in the grantor’s estate upon his or her death. The proposed plan mentioned above seeks to eliminate this protection and then the assets held in the grantor trust would be included in the grantor’s estate at death. Further, the future distributions could be subject to both a gift tax and a sales tax.

In addition, there are other grantor trusts that Congress is investigating. Below are four of them that you need to be aware of.

GRATs. A GRAT is a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust. This is a popular estate planning tool through which the grantor can transfer assets into the trust without incurring any gift or estate tax penalties. The grantor does receive the benefit of an annuity for a period of years with the remainder of the money accumulating within the trust. The appreciated assets will pass to the grantor’s beneficiaries at the time of his or her passing without incurring any significant gift tax.

IDGTs. An IDGT is an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust. This is a similar estate-planning tool to the SLAT. The IDGT, however, is set up to not include the assets in either the grantor or the grantor’s spouse’s estate. It is created for the benefit of someone who is not either of these two individuals. One of the main benefits is that the grantor can continue to pay the income tax liability of the IDGT and also sell any of the assets within it, all without any income tax consequences.

ILITs. An ILIT is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. For years, this has been a very popular estate planning tool, although not always thought of as a traditional grantor trust. It allows life insurance to pass to the beneficiary at the death of the grantor without gift tax consequences. Further, the premiums can be paid without gift tax penalties using the annual exclusion amount.

SLATs. A SLAT is a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust. This is an estate planning tool with the goal to support the grantor’s spouse while moving assets out of the grantor’s estate. It also allows for the appreciation of assets for future beneficiaries. While the distributions are included in the spouse’s estate, the remaining assets are not.

Have you looked at your Florida estate plan lately? Have you met with your Florida estate planning attorney? If the answer is not we would recommend doing so before the end of the year. If changes need to be made before the current law sunsets, they may need to be made before the end of the year. We are closely monitoring the Congressional changes that could impact all of our Florida estate planning clients in 2022. We encourage you, if you have questions, to schedule a meeting in our office to discuss your concerns and determine how we can help support you in reaching your goals for your legacy, yourself, and your loved ones.

Ways to Help a Family Caregiver During National Family Caregiver Month

Do you have a loved one who requires full time care? Is a family member providing that care? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, have you thought about what you could do to show your appreciation or understanding of what they do? Family caregivers are unsung heroes who work tirelessly to help elderly or disabled family members without much recognition from the outside world. Is the caregiver in your family also juggling his or her caregiving responsibilities alongside paid work outside the home and caring for his or her own children? November is National Family Caregivers Month, this would be a perfect time for you and other family members to take time to honor and show how much you value the caregiver in your family.

One way to show your appreciation would be to arrange a morning or afternoon off for the caregiver once a week. You or other family members could take turns and take over caregiving responsibilities. If no one has the time, then everyone could agree to hire a professional caregiver once a week.

Another way to show concern about your family caregiver would be for different family members to offer to bring supper over or supervise the kids or even pick up the kids from school while the caregiver goes to the gym or gets a haircut or shops for groceries. These suggestions all show the caregiver that you understand how much he or she gives and gives to your loved one and that he or she needs time for him- or herself. Together your family can probably come up with even more ideas.

Finally, remember to be mindful of the need for the family caregiver to take care of his- or herself by exercising, eating healthy and getting plenty of rest. Then he- or she can give wholly of him- or herself to the extremely important tasks of providing round the clock care for your loved one.

Has this article raised more questions in regard to caregiving? Do not hesitate to reach out to our office anytime to make an appointment.

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