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  • We hope you will enjoy our blog as we provide unfettered color commentary and fun observations on everyday events relevant to our practice areas.
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    Written Blog

    Five Clues That it's Time to Update Your Estate Plan

    To help clients and their financial advisors spot situations that might trigger the need to update their documents, I've prepared five conversation starters.
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    Your Funeral Wishes − Your Way

    Do you have specific ideas about how you would want your life celebrated? We encourage our clients to think through all the options.
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    The Presidential Candidates, the Federal Estate Tax, and the Capital Gains Income Tax

    What plans does Donald Trump have for the estate tax versus Hillary Clinton? How do the plans differ compared to the current rules?
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    6-Step Estate Planning Checklist for 2017

    We have prioritized a checklist summarizing what we consider to be “6 very important action items.”
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    Greed or Passive Opportunism? Financial Exploitation of the Elderly an Unfortunate Reality

    Who are the perpetrators? It could be anyone. They can range from caregivers, home repair scams and handymen, to family members and “institutional perpetrators” such as professional advisors, trustees, and church ministers.
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    Financial Literacy in Working Women Improves While Knowledge Gap Persists for Female Retirees and Widows

    Recent studies reveal that financial capability among working women is improving, but closing the financial literacy gap has a long way to go as it relates to retired women and older widows.
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    Coping with an Unexpected Death in Your Home

    Returning home to find that a loved one has passed away unexpectedly can be traumatizing and leave you in a state of shock and disbelief.
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    ABLE Accounts: A Powerful New Planning Tool for Families with Special Needs Children

    How do I set aside financial resources for my child’s lifetime care without sacrificing their continued eligibility for government-sponsored benefits?
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    Who Will Raise My Children if I Die Without Naming a Guardian?

    Being a loving, responsible parent includes planning for the “unthinkable.”
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey to Speak at the 21st Annual Florida Tourist Development Tax Association Conference

    Merrell Bailey will speak on August 10, 2016 at the 21st Annual Tax Conference sponsored by the Florida Tourist Development Tax Association, Inc. (FTDTA)
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    The Gatekeepers: Financial Advisors and CPAs Play Key Role as More Clients Update their Estate Plans

    As life happens, things change – and so should your estate plan.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey Named 2016 Florida Trend Legal Elite

    Your Caring Law Firm located in Maitland, FL, announced today that Mary Merrell Bailey was named among Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite 2016.
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    Asking Tough Questions Could Save an Older Driver’s Life

    As greater numbers of retirees move into Florida and as the existing population continues to age, each of us has a responsibility to our loved one to determine whether he or she is safe behind the wheel.
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    Who Will Inherit Prince’s $150 Million Estate?

    According to TMZ.com, Prince died without a Last Will and Testament. What does this mean for his estate and those inheriting his wealth?
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    Important Planning Topics for Seniors and Loved Ones (Video)

    If you are interested in gaining valuable insight about estate planning, cognitive decline, and other related topics, this is an opportunity to learn from Merrell Bailey's experiences and hands-on knowledge with seniors and families in Central Florida.
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    If an Estate Plan Were a Car: Understanding Will-Based vs. Trust-Based Planning

    According to a recent informal survey we conducted of a group of Central Florida seniors over the age of fifty, 65 percent of those completing the survey indicated they were confused about the topic and would like to learn more about how a will differs from a living trust.
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    My Wishes, My Way - Steps to Ensure Your Advance Directives Are Honored

    As professional advisors, we understand how strongly our clients want their advance directives to be honored. Failing to honor a patient’s advance directives can increase the individual’s discomfort and prolong the process.
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    Yes, Virginia, Your Uncle’s Will Must Be Probated

    Does having a will mean that beneficiaries of an estate can avoid the probate process? The answer is no.
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    Six Tips to Start Your 2016 Financial Goal-Setting

    The month of January generates a steady stream of news articles and broadcast messaging about financial goal-setting. To cut down on the overwhelming clutter we’ve compiled a series of tools, tips, and resources to support your financial wellness efforts.
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    Planning for Incapacity and Minimizing Allegations of Undue Influence

    National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is the perfect time to explore whether aging loved ones' estate planning documents are in order.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey to Speak to Estate Planners at the 2015 Financial Symposium in Daytona Beach

    Estate attorney Mary Merrell Bailey will speak on November 4, 2015 to a gathering of estate planning professionals at the 2015 Financial Symposium.
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    The Holiday Turkey Is in the… Dishwasher? Top 10 Warning Signs Your Elders May Need Help

    Elderly parents often try to disguise cognitive decline. The Thanksgiving holiday provides an opportunity for families to spot signs of incapacity in aging parents.
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    Navigating Life’s Journey: The Role of the Revocable Living Trust

    The function of a revocable living trust is far more powerful than a “simple will” because it covers the three phases of the Trustmaker's life, and a will does not.
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    Attorneys Merrell Bailey and Hallie Zobel to Present Course on Estate Planning and Probate at the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning

    Estate attorneys Mary Merrell Bailey and Hallie L. Zobel will present an estate planning course during the month of October to seniors over age 50.
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    Lattes vs. Life Insurance: Do Millennials Really Have to Choose?

    Life insurance plays a key role in achieving one’s estate planning goals. We recommend a three-pronged approach in convincing Millennials that life insurance has relevance to their lives.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey to Speak at WEDU & CFTP 10th Annual Estate and Tax Planning Seminar in Tampa, FL

    Estate attorney Mary Merrell Bailey will speak at the 10th Annual Estate and Tax Planning Seminar on September 17, 2015, in Tampa, FL.
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    Estate Planning for Newlyweds

    The June Wedding was Spectacular and the Newlyweds Are Back. So What’s Estate Planning Got to Do with It?
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    National Healthcare Decisions Day -- A Platform to Have the Conversation

    Founded in 2008, National HealthCare Decisions Day (NHDD) is the day set aside to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance healthcare decision-making.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey Announces Financial Literacy Initiative to Educate Young Adults about Essential Legal Documents

    During the month of April, Your Caring Law Firm will be participating in a series of financial literacy activities to broaden awareness of the need for young adults to have three essential legal documents.
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    Leaving a Legacy: What’s “Blue Bloods” Got To Do With It?

    Leaving a legacy may mean passing down one’s wealth to beneficiaries and loved ones or preserving for future generations the family’s traditions, values, and journeys.
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    Attorney Merrell Bailey to Participate in Women’s Business Mentoring Event Presented by the Orlando Business Journal

    Merrell Bailey will participate as a business mentor in a unique event that offers attendees coaching sessions with some of the most influential women in the community.
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    Son Discovers Mother’s Estate Plan in Storage Unit after Spending Nearly $24,000 in Guardianship Fees

    What happens if you become incapacitated and your thoughtfully-drafted estate plan cannot be found because you failed to tell anyone where it was kept?
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    Inheriting Land Located in Multiple States Thrusts Florida Heirs into Costly Probate Proceedings

    Proper estate planning and titling land into a Florida Trust can save heirs expensive probate fees.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey Calls on Same-Sex Married Couples in Florida to Take Action Now Regarding Joint Ownership of Property

    In the wake of the recent ruling recognizing same-sex marriages in Florida, same-sex couples immediately should retitle their joint assets in order to receive the same asset protection as heterosexual married couples.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey Cites Growing Nexus between Student Loan Debt and Middle-Class Clients Seeking Strategies to Relieve Heirs of Its Burden

    Bailey’s announcement comes as students prepare for FAFSA filing that opens January 1, 2015
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    Thanksgiving Holiday Provides Opportunity for Family Members to Spot Signs of Incapacity in Aging Parents, Notes Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey

    Early detection of cognitive decline enables professional advisors to more effectively address financial, legal and care-giving concerns.
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    Estate Attorney Merrell Bailey Foresees Shift toward Probate as Estate Planners Serve an Increasingly Aging Population

    According to Bailey, many attorneys will be shifting their focus from “estate planning to estate probating.”
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    Advance Directives and Your Legal Authority For Missing Family Members – What Do You Do?

    The news is full of speculation as to the whereabouts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. If your Aunt Miniver were on MH370, what would you do? Would you be allowed to carry out her wishes? Merrell Bailey sheds some light on the situation.
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    Estate Planning For Unmarried Couples

    Celebrity Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death shows us the obstacles that unmarried couples face according to Florida law. How do you take care of your loved ones if the law says they have no rights?
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    Navigating Guardianships of a Minor's Estate

    Celebrity Paul Walker's death puts guardianship of minors into perspective. From estate planning to understanding the language, Attorney Merrell Bailey decodes Walker's legacy.
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    Estate Planning Goals for 2013

    Plan now to secure you and your family's future.
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    Avoiding Probate Problems

    You won’t be around when your estate is probated, but there are easy ways to make sure it is as trouble free as possible for your heirs.
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    Amanda Bynes’ Parents Seek Conservatorship

    After the many headlines screaming Amanda Bynes’ name, her parents seek a conservatorship over her personal and financial affairs.
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    Protecting Your Florida Homestead

    What can go wrong with your Florida homestead? Instead of dealing with creditors and confusion later on, make sure your estate plan is correct today.
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    Royal Baby: Choosing a Guardian

    The Royal Family has a baby on the way! Who will William and Kate choose to be guardian of their child? Will it be Las Vegas' favorite, Prince Harry? Will it be Kate's family, the commoners?
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    Royal Baby: Choosing a Guardian (Video)

    The Royal Family has a baby on the way! Who will William and Kate choose to be guardian of their child? Will it be Las Vegas' favorite, Prince Harry? Will it be Kate's family, the commoners?
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    Seek an Attorney for Probate Planning

    Amateurs shouldn't do probate planning by themselves. Seek help from a qualified professional.
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    Choosing the Right Trustee

    A critical choice facing those making trusts is who to select to manage things after they have passed away.
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    Steps to Take After Someone Dies (Video)

    What happens after the funeral is over? How do you handle your loved one's affairs after they're gone?
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    Fighting Over an Estate After a Death

    How will you prevent your children from fighting over your estate after you die?
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    Estate Planning for Young Adults

    Estate planning is not just for the elderly or wealthy. Young adults should get documented up at age 18.
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    Your Child and Their Inheritance: How to Share the Financials

    How, when and what do you tell your child(ren) about their inheritance? Are you worried that they will become dependent on your wealth?
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    Elder Abuse & Exploitation: What to Look For

    Elder abuse and exploitation can happen to anyone, anywhere. How to stop the problem.
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    Downton Abbey: What to do if a Houseguest Dies in Your Bed

    What should you do if your houseguest dies in your home in the middle of the night?
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    Downton Abbey: How to Declare Someone Dead With No Body

    What do you do if a loved one disappears and you have to administer their estate? How do you get someone declared dead if there is no body?
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    The Internet vs. The Professional

    How often do you find yourself searching the Internet for answers rather than seeking the advice of a professional?
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    Downton Abbey: How to Declare Someone Dead With No Body (Video)

    What would you do if your loved one disappeared and there is no proof of death? How would you handle the estate?
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    Estate Planning is Still Relevant: Three Key Documents Every Adult Should Have

    Estate planning is not exclusive to the wealthy. You should have estate planning documents regardless of your wealth.
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    Downton Abbey: What to do if a Houseguest Dies in Your Bed (Video)

    Kemal Pamuk was a houseguest at Downton Abbey and had the poor manners to die! What would you do if a houseguest died in your home in the middle of the night in your bed? Learn fun facts of law using Downton Abbey as the example.
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    Top 10 Blunders in Probate & Trust Administration

    There are a myriad of ways to run into problems with a probate or trust administration. Here are ten of the most common and easily avoidable blunders.
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    Undue Influence: How to Spot When Assistance crosses the Line

    How to spot when assistance crosses the line.
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    Estate Law in a Digital World

    The law lags behind technology when determining who has access to the digital estate of a decedent.
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    Downton Abbey: An Estate Planning Dream

    What does a TV series set in 1912 England have to do with you? Downton Abbey is an entire course on estate planning, wrapped up in fun.
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    Downton Abbey is an Estate Planning Dream (Video)

    Downton Abbey is an entire estate planning course wrapped in fun! Why can't Lady Mary Crawley inherit Downton Abbey from her father, the Earl of Grantham? How in the world did Matthew Crawley, the Earl of Grantham's third cousin once removed, end up being the person to inherit Cora Crawley's money? How would you get James and Patrick Crawley declared dead if they went down with the Titanic and their bodies never found? What would really happen if Kemal Pamuk died in your bed? Learn about fun issues of law using Downton Abbey as the example.
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    Poor Man’s Probate is Usually Poorly Planned

    People often ask what seems to be the usual recurring question, “Do I really need a will?”
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    Attention Florida Residents: Change in Power of Attorney Law

    Just when you thought you had your estate planning documents in order, there sneaks up a drastic change in the power of attorney law.
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    Who Will Raise Hope?

    There is a corny television show named Raising Hope. It is about a twenty-something young man named Jimmy who is raising his daughter Hope because her mother was executed for a crime she committed.
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    It (Still) Takes a Village for Special Needs Children

    Back in 1996 Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” was published. No political figure can write anything without it stirring up partisan controversy, but this post isn’t being written for political purposes
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    Grief Smells Like Orange Blossoms

    Smell invokes memory unlike any other sense. The treacly-sweet aroma of Florida springtime clobbers me with grief every March. Enveloped in the cloying perfume of citrus in bloom, I flash to my senior year of high school when Megan McCabe died.
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    So You Want to Present a National Webinar?

    Congratulations! You’ve been asked to present with a group of experts on a webinar that will have people from across the country listening? Here are some helpful hints that I learned from my recent experience.
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    Hey, what about a Living Will?

    Recently, I watched the season premiere of “Brothers and Sisters". It was packed with legal issues, pertinent to the type law I practice.
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    Death Arbitrage: Should I Pull the Plug Today? There's No Estate Tax.

    One of my peers today asked me if I am advising clients to remove life support from their loved ones - their RICH loved ones - quick, right now, before Congress acts to bring back the estate tax.
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    Your Caring Law Firm
    610 S. Maitland Ave.  Maitland, FL 32751
    (407) 622-1900

    Monday through Friday
    8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.