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Aventura Corporate Center
20801 Biscayne Boulevard
Suite 400
Miami, FL 33180

305-932-2293 Miami-Dade County
954-760-7077 Broward County

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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.

For many, estate planning boils down to simple tax reduction. Federal estate taxes do not apply until individual worth reaches the $5 million mark, with couples being able to exempt up to $10 million. Few of us ever see that amount of money, so we assume that estate planning is not for us. Not so fast, according to experts, who say that estate planning is not limited to avoiding federal or state death taxes. Whether your estate is worth $5,000 or $50 million, you should still consider estate planning for other reasons.

First, remember that you must designate beneficiaries to receive your assets after death. That, in fact, is the crux of estate planning as a whole. Your state law will not automatically give your money to your spouse, in many instances; you will have to spell out your requests in a legal document. In addition, your children may not be automatically entitled to your holdings. You need to determine who will benefit from your estate plan, how much they will receive, and whether you will dole out the assets or hand them over whole.

Trusts can play an important role in even a modest estate plan. The use of these and other estate-planning tools can help you provide for your family even after you pass away. Qualified attorneys can help you learn more about the use of these legal provisions to protect your assets after death.

Source: www.investingdaily.com, "The new focus of estate planning" Bob Carlson, Aug. 23, 2013