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Beneficiary choice options in estate planning

As many Florida residents may know, setting up an estate plan may be way for an individual to direct asset allocation after they die. With changes in estate tax limits, individuals are able to create an estate plan that is broader, incorporates beneficiaries who are not family members and charities that are important during the grantor's life.

In the past, an estate plan was grounded in the way an individual might bequeath assets without beneficiaries incurring huge estate taxes. The asset limit on estate taxes has changed, making the allocation of assets during estate planning open to diversification, allowing the process of choosing how assets are dispersed to evolve.

For example, typically, family members are often the recipients of the grantor's assets. However, there are situations where other individuals, such as an unmarried partner or an aide, are an important part of the grantor's life. In that case, the grantor may wish to leave a portion of the estate to that person.

Some individuals are involved with specific charities or organizations during their lifetime. Making such groups a beneficiary of a portion of one's estate goes beyond the traditional idea that one's beneficiaries are limited. In addition, some individuals do not have close family members or none at all, and bequeathing one's assets to a charity or organization might help the organization during times of limited funding.

Estate planning may be a way for individuals to decide where assets that are accumulated during life will be placed after their passing. However, structuring an estate plan that accomplishes this while keeping in mind the broader choices of beneficiaries that might be available may be a complicated endeavor. An attorney may be able to help provide the tools to accomplish one's planning goals and help in revisiting an estate plan as the grantor's interests and life events change.

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