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December 2014 Archives

Situations that might prompt changes to a will

Writing a will can bring people in Florida peace of mind that their wishes will be known after they pass away. Creating a will is an important part of estate planning, but there are some life changes that make reevaluating and modifying one's plan a prudent course of action.

Trusts can be useful estate planning tools

While a will may serve the estate planning needs for most people, it may not be sufficient for everyone. Some individuals want or need more control over the distribution of their assets than a will can provide. In those situations, a trust can be a helpful tool. Some people may think that trusts only exist for the wealthy. However, a trust can be useful regardless of wealth. Anyone who wishes to specifically guide or control their assets may benefit from having a trust.

Trusts and estate planning in Florida

There are many different types of trusts that a person may establish. The trusts may be divided into two broad categories. Revocable trusts allow people who set them up to control the trust assets. These trusts can be amended or terminated at any time. Irrevocable trusts instead own the assets and are able to avoid estate taxes. Changes cannot be made to irrevocable trusts without the intended beneficiaries' consent to the proposed changes.

Legal inheritance rights of descendants

Most people use wills to distribute the assets and property after death. However, sometimes a will may not have been updated to reflect changes in the person's family. In other instances, a descendant or surviving loved one may have a serious dispute with the will's instructions. States have set up a number of laws to resolve those situations. In some cases, a surviving spouse, child or grandchild may have a legal claim to property even if they were not named in a will.

Beneficiary form mistakes to avoid in Florida

An estate plan could fall apart if a beneficiary form is not filled out properly. For instance, failing to update a beneficiary form could result in a first spouse or deceased relative receiving assets. If a beneficiary passes on prior to receiving assets, a judge typically has the authority to decide who gets the asset. Generally, these documents supersede any other estate planning document, which makes it important to revise the provisions when necessary.

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