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.
People who have retired to Florida often have to make significant estate planning decisions. Those who have capital tied up in assets such as a home, IRA or business investments may feel overwhelmed when attempting to divide the estate equally among their heirs. These decisions may seem even more complicated when an heir is involved in a problematic marriage that may potentially end in divorce. Parents may also consider how well their children manage their own finances.
Recent tax increases have effected a vehicle that many Florida residents use as part of a comprehensive estate plan. The marginal 39.6 percent rate included in the 2012 tax legislation that is imposed on an individual's income in excess of $400,000 is applied to trusts at the $11,950 threshold. Furthermore, the new 3.8 percent Medicare surtax directed at net investment income of individuals earning more than $200,000 is applied to trusts at the same $11,950 level.
Florida residents with a troubled family member may be unsure of how to work out the details of their estate plan. For instance, if a child or grandchild has a drug addiction, it may not be in their best interest to leave them with a large inheritance. Likewise, leaving money or property to a family member with a gambling problem could serve to enable their addiction.
Florida residents who are estranged from their family may be interested if a deceased relative left them an inheritance. While an estrangement from a family member like a parent or sibling can happen for any number of reasons, the estrangement doesn't necessarily mean that family has been cut out of the person's will. Individuals do sometimes pass away and leave assets to family members with whom they haven't spoken in years.
People in Florida and elsewhere who are beginning to consider how their assets should be passed along after they die often wonder who to share their thoughts with. Some people may embrace in-laws and others may only wish include children and grandchildren in their estate planning.
If someone in Orlando hears they are coming into an unexpected windfall in the form of a substantial inheritance, it may present a significant shock to that individual. An unexpected surprise of this nature may negatively affect someone. However, by planning appropriately, individuals can help the windfall augment their life in a positive way.
Many Florida parents may be wondering if they should leave an inheritance to their children. Whether parents are wealthy or not, the decision is always a personal one that reflects their financial situations, family values and other factors. There is no right or wrong answer. However, several survey results reflect a similar trend; that is, parents and their children may not agree to expectations and ideas, which could cause problems in the future.
Florida residents may be aware that part of a successful estate plan is ensuring that adequate funds are available to provide for the rest of the grantor's life. Successfully planning a person's retirement requires assessing the situation and making changes as necessary. Some areas, such as Florida, may be more affordable for individuals to retire due to lack of income tax or other factors.
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.