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FAQs About Estate Planning
Why is Estate Planning So Important?
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan can help you provide for your loved ones, protect your legacy, reduce family conflict, and possibly mitigate tax liability. A comprehensive estate plan gives you more control over your assets, both during life and after passing.
Keep in mind that you can only authorize wills, trusts, and POAs while you’re in full use of your mental capacity. That’s why, if you don’t have an estate plan already, you should consult (or recommend your loved one to consult) an estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.
What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in Florida?
If a Florida resident dies without leaving a valid Will, their assets will pass to surviving family members according to Florida’s intestate succession laws, which don’t always conform to what the decedent would have wished.
For example, if the deceased person was widowed and had children, all the property passes to the children. If the decedent also wants to leave something to their grandchild, niece, or surviving sibling, they must create a Will.
How can a Trust and Estate Planning Attorney Help Me Reduce Taxes?
A competent estate planning lawyer can propose several strategies to reduce inheritance taxes and protect your intended beneficiaries’ shares of your assets.
Asset protection strategies in Florida include:
- Gifting assets to family members up to a certain allowable threshold
- Placing life insurance proceeds in an irrevocable trust
- Choosing an alternative valuation date for an estate to reduce tax liability
- Making donations to trusted charities
Some of these methods work better in certain circumstances. For example, transfers to a life insurance trust may still count as part of the decedent’s estate unless the grantor survives at least three years after the transfer.
Do You Need Both a Will and a Trust?
A Will is the number one, bare-bones legal document everyone needs, regardless of age and estate size. A Trust can also be an advantageous estate planning vehicle, depending on your goals.
Our elder law and estate planning attorney can help you or your parents establish the following:
- A Revocable Living Trust to avoid probate
- An Irrevocable Trust to protect assets against tax liability or ex-spouse claims
- A Special Needs Trust to provide for vulnerable family members while preserving their eligibility for government benefits
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Orlando, FL 32804