Our firm frequently advises on clients on matters of Estate Planning. One of the most important questions is whether a client needs a Simple Will, a Will with a Support Trust, or a Revocable Living Trust.
Florida residents who have large estates are likely aware that over the last decade, there have been changes to federal estate tax exemptions and capital gains rates that may change how they want to approach their estate planning. Capital gains tax rates have gone up from 15 percent to 24 percent, while the federal estate tax exemption rose from $1.5 million to $5.43 million between 2004 and 2015.
While most people think about wills or trusts when planning their estates, it is important for them to also plan for the possibility that they may suffer an illness or injury that will leave them unable to make decisions while they are still living. There are several different ways people can plan for incapacity so that someone else can take care of certain matters on their behalf.
Florida residents may be interested to learn that on March 30, a probate judge ordered attorneys to take eight weeks to sort out issues related to money and property awarded to his widow and three adult children. Attorneys for Williams' third wife say that the negotiations are amicable and that what she is asking for is a fraction of the overall estate.
Based on the results of a nationwide survey, many Florida business owners may not have estate plans. The survey, which asked questions of more than 500 business owners, revealed that only about 70 percent have an estate plan in place. Of those who do not, around 30 percent said they did not think it was necessary and around half said they avoided it because they found the topic unpleasant. Many of the business owners had outdated estate plans. Only 12 percent were less than two years old while more than half were more than five years old.
Florida residents who are planning their estates and the disposition of their assets when they die can learn from some mistakes recently made by a few celebrities. In many cases, errors were compounded by the celebrity's unexpected death.
As Florida residents may be aware, blending two families may come with its own financial considerations in order to provide not only for the new spouse in the future, but also to protect the children of both. Unfortunately, making new arrangements for this protection may be overlooked and have consequences should something happen to one spouse unexpectedly.
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.
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.
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.