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Miami, FL 33180

305-932-2293 Miami-Dade County
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September 2013 Archives

Keep beneficiary lists up to date - or else!

Legislative reforms have raised the ceiling for the federal estate tax to $5.25 million for individuals and $10.5 million for businesses. With these changes, many Florida residents have been able to limit the scope and reach of their estate plans; after all, not many Americans keep so much in the bank or other assets. Even though you might not need to worry about the federal estate tax during your personal estate planning, you definitely need to be concerned about beneficiary designations. Without this critical information, your will cannot be properly processed after your death, which could lead to significant legal problems.

Is probate really that bad?

You have heard the horror stories about probate. Maybe your friends have shared about the nightmares they have gone through while attempting to administer a will, or you have seen your relatives struggle through the same process. Did you know that probate does not have to be a "dirty word" in today's legal lingo? Even though most of us want to structure our estate plan to avoid probate, many people's estates benefit from the process. In fact, it's possible that probate will not be that bad, at all. The probate process can actually be beneficial, depending on the needs of your specific estate.

Creditors can access your trust assets

As you begin to plan out the details of your estate administration documents, you may be considering how to handle existing debts that affect your estate. To avoid probate litigation after you have already established your will, it is a good idea to explore a variety of options for your debt. Be aware that many myths exist about sheltering your estate from the effects of your existing debts, many of which could affect your assets after your death.

Estate planning: Not just about taxes

Even though we are well into 2013, many Florida residents may still not be aware of tax code changes from earlier this year that could affect their estate planning strategies. The tax deals, which were handed down in late 2012 and early 2013, are sure to affect estate planning and administration strategies for scores of Americans. Many of the rules loosened regulations for estate taxation, but Floridians should not ignore plans for their future. Instead, they may be required to take a broader view of the estate planning process.