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The Complete Guide to Planning Your Estate in Florida

February 13, 2010

The Complete Guide to Planning Your Estate in Florida: A Step-by-Step Plan to Protect Your Assets, Limit Your Taxes, and Ensure Your Wishes Are Fulfilled for Florida Residents (Back-To-Basics)

What happens to your estate after you are gone is very much within your control. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy; it is for everyone. It is simply the process of deciding where your assets are to be distributed after your death. For those people who wish to preserve their assets for designated purposes such as family or special charities it becomes necessary to make special advance preparations. To ensure your assets are protected and final wishes are carried out, there are some common actions that should be taken now. Proper estate planning allows you to plan for yourself and your loved ones without giving up control of your affairs.

Your estate plan should also allow for the possibility of your own disability. It should detail what you own and whom you want to leave it to at a time of your choosing and the way you want. Your estate plan should include fully disclosed, controlled costs for you and your loved ones. The last thing you want to worry about is having your estate drained of value through taxes and legal costs. The right plan can protect the value of your estate and spare your loved ones unnecessary hassles and legal conflicts.

The Complete Guide to Planning Your Estate in Florida will help you glide through this complicated process. This new book has been adapted to offer Ohio residents state-specific advice for estate planning. Author Linda C. Ashar, Attorney at Law, has crafted an estate planning primer, allowing Florida residents to become more informed and more involved during the process. Many books on estate planning indicate you do not need the services of an attorney, but this book highly recommends using an attorney versed in this area: You should not go through the process alone. This book is intended explain the complicated issues, terminology, and planning strategies of estate planning so when you do meet with a qualified attorney, you will be well prepared. You will understand the legal terms and be ready to discuss issues and strategies with familiarity, saving you time and legal fees and ensuring peace of mind.

Florida -specific information is offered throughout this book, including: Florida s probate code; Florida rules, regulations, and laws specific to estate planning; elements of a valid Florida will; planning your living will in Florida; explanations of Florida laws regarding durable health care power of attorneys, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, and directives to withhold CPR. The book s easy-to-understand context clarifies this complicated and sensitive subject and gives readers the power to take control of their future.

This book also offers an overview of abatement rules, settlement costs, guardianship and minor children, executors and trustees, life insurance, potential long-term care needs, marital deductions, types of trusts, gift splitting, survivorship deeds, 529 plans, reducing or eliminating estate taxes, avoiding tax on life insurance, using insurance to pay estate taxes, gift tax issues, generation skipping transfer tax, and tax-deferred accounts.

Estate planning should be a positive experience. It involves reviewing your situation and planning for your future. Although few people want to think about the possibility of disability or disease, advance planning is also a way to show your love and to reduce potential distress later. Other books offer a non-state-specific overview of estate planning, causing many readers to be misinformed about rules and regulations particular to their state; but, this new book provides information Florida residents need to know. Do not get outdated or wrong information that does not pertain to you specifically. Use this new book to craft an estate plan that is not only legally sound but also fully carries out your last wishes and protects your loved ones.

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Florida (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE)

February 12, 2010


With its theme parks and fabulous beaches, The Sunshine State deserves its reputation as the perfect family vacation spot. But Florida offers much more to those who venture away from their beach towels. This is the perfect guide to exploring all that the state has to offer, including the extraordinary diversity of wildlife at Everglades and the Keys, and the rich mix of Caribbean, north and south American culture. With over 1000 photographs and illustrations, plus top recommendations on where to stay, shop and eat.

Recognized the world over by frequent flyers and armchair travelers alike, Eyewitness Travel Guides are the most colorful and comprehensive guides on the market. With beautifully commissioned photographs and spectacular 3-D aerial views revealing the charm of each destination, these amazing travel guides show what others only tell. Includes beautiful new full-color photos, illustrations, and enhanced maps Extensive information on local customs, currency, medical services, and transportation New “Discovering” feature helps decide which regions are best suited to the trip.

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Madeira Beach, FL Notary Public

February 11, 2010

notary_signing_imageI’m a Madeira Beach, FL Notary Public that will come to your home, business or any location you like to notarize your documents. Call Chris today at 727-804-5319 to discuss your notary needs.

The following are some of the more commonly requested documents people need notarized:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Medical Consent Form
  • Living Will
  • Divorce paperwork
  • Consent for Minor to Travel Aboard
  • Certifications
  • Affidavits

When we meet I’ll need to see identification to prove your identity. The following is a list of approved forms of identifications:

  • Drivers License
  • Military Identification Card
  • State Identification Card
  • Passport
  • Resident Alien Card

Whatever you need notarized I can help. Call Chris at 727-804-5319 if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Consider me your Madeira Beach, FL Notary Public.

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Encounters with Florida’s Endangered Wildlife

February 11, 2010

By Doug Alderson

Eastern bison roamed Florida into the 1800s. Red wolves disappeared in the 1920s. The dusky seaside sparrow was declared extinct in 1990. It’s too soon to say whether the 116 threatened, endangered, or imperiled animal species currently found in the state will also fall victim to climate change, extermination, overdevelopment, or poisons. But as long as they remain, there will be men and women who work tirelessly on their behalf. Combining adventure, natural history, and cultural history, “Encounters with Florida’s Endangered Wildlife” features chapters tracking panthers, black bears, whooping cranes, manatees, sea turtles, even ivory-billed woodpeckers – which may or may not be extinct. Join Doug Alderson as he travels into prairies, woods, springs, and ocean to come face to face with these and other captivating creatures and learns firsthand about their strangled lives and fragile habitats. With a chapter on the impact of non-native populations of Burmese pythons and Rhesus monkeys, as well as a chilling epilogue that imagines the peninsula one hundred years in the future, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the current state of wild Florida.

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Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss

February 10, 2010

By Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite

Florida possesses more wetlands than any other state except Alaska, yet since 1990 more than 84,000 acres have been lost to development despite presidential pledges to protect them. How and why the state’s wetlands are continuing to disappear is the subject of “Paving Paradise”. Journalists Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite spent nearly four years investigating the political expedience, corruption, and negligence on the part of federal and state agencies that led to a failure to enforce regulations on developers. They traveled throughout the state, interviewed hundreds of people, dug through thousands of documents, and analyzed satellite imagery to identify former wetlands that were now houses, stores, and parking lots. Exposing the unseen environmental consequences of rampant sprawl, Pittman and Waite explain how wetland protection creates the illusion of environmental protection while doing little to stem the tide of destruction. What is happening to Florida’s ‘protected’ wetlands?

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Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida

February 9, 2010

By Dr. Gary R. Mormino

“An unblinking assessment of the triumphs and tragedies of Florida’s development over the past sixty years.” – Journal of Southern History “Chronicles the scams, plans, and amazing ingenuity that transformed a backwater southern state into an international marketplace.” – Journal of American History “If you have lived here any length of time, then you understand why Mormino calls the second half of the twentieth century ‘Florida’s Big Bang.’… Read this and it might convince you to take off that tie, rethink the way you live and look on with a little more respect and care for Florida, before the state of dreams becomes a nightmare.” – Tampa Tribune

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The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

February 8, 2010

By Michael Grunwald

Washington Post reporter Grunwald brings the zeal of his profession—and the skill that won him a Society of Environmental Journalists Award in 2003—to this enthralling story of “the river of grass” that starry-eyed social engineers and greedy developers have diverted, drained and exploited for more than a century. In 1838, fewer than 50 white people lived in south Florida, and the Everglades was seen as a vast and useless bog. By the turn of this century, more than seven million people lived there (and 40 million tourists visited annually). Escalating demands of new residents after WWII were sapping the Everglades of its water and decimating the shrinking swamp’s wildlife. But in a remarkable political and environmental turnaround, chronicled here with a Washington insider’s savvy, Republicans and Democrats came together in 2000 to launch the largest ecosystem restoration project in America’s history. This detailed account doesn’t shortchange the environmental story—including an account of the senseless fowl hunts that provoked abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1877 broadside “Protect the Birds.” But Grunwald’s emphasis on the role politics played in first despoiling and now reclaiming the Everglades gives this important book remarkable heft.

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Dog and baby girl

February 4, 2010

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CallChrisToday.com selected for “Best of the Web!”

February 3, 2010

I’m happy to announce that CallChrisToday.com has been selected for inclusion in the “real estate” category at BestOfTheWeb.org. I strive to make my Tampa Bay real estate blog informative, educational and especially entertaining, so this inclusion reinforces to me that I’m doing something right.

Unlike the traditional real estate site I like to include posts that show a bit about who I am as an individual, as opposed to keeping posts strictly about real estate. While it is true that people will ultimately choose to hire me based on my real estate experience, knowledge, work ethic and personal ethics, they won’t even consider hiring me if they don’t get to know me (and like me) on a personal level. So sharing my likes and dislikes and interests is important to establishing a connection and some rapport with current and potential clients.

I hope you enjoy CallChrisToday.com as much as I do!

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Largo Real Estate

February 3, 2010

0304-0607-0904-2553_tnAre you looking for a Realtor to help you buy or sell real estate in Largo, Florida?

Consider calling Chris O’Connor with Charles Rutenberg Realty for all of your home buying and selling needs in the Tampa Bay area. With close to 30 years of calling Tampa Bay my home I can comfortably say that I know this market inside and out.

And Largo, FL is one of my preferred markets!

Whether you’re looking for a luxury waterfront condo or a small 2-bedroom starter home…I’d love to help you find your next home or investment property.

Are you thinking about selling your home? You’re going to need a Realtor with experience, knowledge, ethics, discipline and a track record of successfully listing and selling real estate in both traditional sales and short sales. Please consider calling Chris today at 727-804-5319 to discuss your Largo real estate needs.

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