The national budget plan recently proposed by President Obama may remind estate owners in Florida that "permanence" isn't necessarily permanent. At the beginning of this year, a tax exemption for estates of $5 million or less was put in place, with legislators and the president calling the exemption "permanent." But, since there was no language in that budget plan that barred Congress from reconsidering the estate tax exemption, a new budget plan could lower (or raise) the exemption level.
If you own a diamond, you might be interested in the history of the gem - especially if cost 40 million dollars. However, a 34-carat pink "Princie" diamond, which was recently auctioned off for a whopping $39,323,750, has a disputed history, which is creating legal debate. An anonymous buyer has purchased the diamond; however, an Italian court is making claims of secret children, a hidden marriage and a mysterious sale in an effort to find out if the rightful owner has rights to the gem. The story brings to mind serious estate issues, highlighting the importance of protecting assets.
Say you want to do what most estate planners in Florida want to do: leave your assets to your chosen heirs and beneficiaries with as little tax liability and probate friction as possible. Unfortunately, what happens in many cases is that unforeseen incidents in beneficiaries' lives result in the quick draining of inheritances.
It's no secret that, as people get older, they tend to become more vulnerable to scams that could threaten the assets the elderly person has worked so hard to accumulate. Undue influence is the legal term for wrongfully persuading or otherwise tricking a person into changing his or her end-of-life documents, and it is unfortunately a problem in Florida and throughout the country.
A bill recently passed by a Florida Senate committee would give unmarried couples, including gay couples, the right to register as domestic partners. In terms of estate planning, the bill, if eventually signed into law, could have a major effect on unmarried couples' decisions regarding real estate, long-term care, funeral arrangements and inheritance.