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Estate & Personal Planning

What is Probate?

May 11th, 2018

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

Many people have either a fear of probate or confusion about it.  However, probate generally does not deserve the bad feelings its name evokes.  On one hand, sometimes the probate process is beneficial, whereas on the other hand, sometimes it may be more efficient and cost-effective to create a plan to avoid probate.
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Impact of Tax Reform on Estate Planning

March 19th, 2018

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,IRS & Tax Information

How did tax reform affect estate planning? The tax reform signed into law on December 22, 2017 increased the estate tax exclusion from $5.49 million[1] to slightly over $11 million.[2]  Estate tax is a tax on property transferred upon your death, but only estates valued in excess of the exclusion may owe tax.  In general, assets of a decedent in addition to any lifetime gifts that exceed the annual gift tax exclusion[3] on which gift tax has not been paid, are included in the calculation. For married couples, each spouse could have an exclusion[4]. Most individuals and couples do not have assets exceeding $11 million and $22 million, respectively, so the group to which estate tax is relevant has drastically reduced.
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Estate Planning: When is it a Good Time to Start?

September 29th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

There are a lot of misconceptions about estate planning.  One of the major ones is that it is not necessary or important to do until later in life.  I can understand that mindset, because I previously had similar thoughts.  However, after practicing in the estate planning field, I can tell you from experience that waiting on creating an estate plan is not a prudent course of action and can result in a lot of agony, frustration, and economic loss for your loved ones. In this post, we explore how estate planning can be useful over the various stages and circumstances of life.
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Guardianships: New Laws Aim to Protect Society’s Vulnerable

August 18th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice

Friends and family members often worry about how to protect their elderly loved ones.  Particularly at risk are elders with advanced dementia, making them vulnerable to scammers and sometimes unable to take care of themselves. Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs reports that nearly 12% of Florida’s senior population has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which often manifests through dementia. A visit to an attorney frequently leads to the discovery that estate planning, including advance directives that give voice to one’s future wishes and help avoid a guardianship, has not been done. As a result, guardianships are often considered as a last-resort solution. 
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The Property Deed as an Estate Plan: Examining the Varying Distributions of Each of the Co-Ownership Forms in Florida Real Property

August 4th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As the saying goes, “anyone who believes in free will has never heard of probate.”  Attorneys are frequently contacted by clients who need help navigating estates after the loss of a family member or friend.  Probate is often inevitable if there is property to be divided.
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Six Reasons to Create a Revocable Trust

July 6th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

What is the difference between a revocable trust and a will?  Should I create a revocable trust? These are among the most frequently asked estate planning questions at our office. Here are some advantages of a revocable trust: 
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National Healthcare Decisions Day

April 13th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

This year, National Healthcare Decisions Day is not just a day but an event lasting from April 16 to 22.  This event is a national initiative to provide awareness and inspire adults to do or review their healthcare planning.
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New Funding to Protect Florida’s Elderly Population

March 17th, 2017

Posted in Asset Protection,Estate & Personal Planning

Many of Florida’s senior citizens and families have reason to celebrate the 2017-2018 Annual Budget, which recommends $315.5 million for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
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