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Bourdain's estate plan includes gift of airline miles

Floridians who are fans of the late Anthony Bourdain might be interested to know how his estate plan was designed to reflect the most important things in his life. The world traveler and television personality was thorough in creating a plan that passes the bulk of his estate to his only child. His daughter will not get the whole estate, however, as Bourdain left his accumulated frequent flyer miles to his estranged wife with the instruction that she should dispose of them in accordance to what she thinks would be his wishes.

Bourdain's specific gift highlights a common oversight among people creating their estate plans. Many forget to include provisions to dispose of these perks and points that can add up to real value for people who travel a lot. A 2018 study by Nerd Wallet found that 68 percent of adults in the U.S. have credit cards that pay travel rewards.

The benefits of a spendthrift trust

Florida residents often include trusts in their estate plans to avoid the probate process, have more control over how their assets are distributed, reduce estate taxes and protect against creditors. Spendthrift trusts can be particularly useful when heirs have unpaid debts or testators are worried about how they will spend their inheritances. Assets placed in a spendthrift trust are shielded from creditors and distributed at the discretion of the trustee in accordance with the trust agreement.

This kind of arrangement is popular among the wealthy, but spendthrift trusts can also be valuable to those with more modest estates. These trusts can be used to limit the amount of money distributed to heirs with substance abuse or gambling problems, but they must be drafted carefully and include language that makes the intentions of the grantor clear. This is known as a spendthrift provision.

Summer months bring bicycle accidents, more personal injury

Sunshine encourages tourists and native Floridians to enjoy the weather. However, more people enjoying outside activities like biking allows for confusion and safety hazards for riders and drivers.

Serious injury to bicyclists occur daily. Careless drivers can inflict deadly damage to your body while you bike in bike lanes or legally ride on residential roads across Florida.

How special needs trusts may help loved ones

A special needs trust may be useful for people in Florida who want to help a relative who has special needs or for someone who has special needs to protect certain assets. Special needs trust are a way for people who receive benefits to keep those benefits.

For example, a person who gets Supplemental Security Income is not supposed to have more than a certain amount of money. However, the government allows a person to place assets such as savings, an inheritance or a court settlement in a first-party special needs trust and still qualify for SSI. If there are assets remaining in the trust after the person's death, they go to pay the government for the person's care.

Selecting the right trustee for a family trust fund

Trusts have an important role to play in the future financial and estate planning of many people in Florida. A trust fund is one way to set aside and protect a specific group of assets that a person wants to use to support another person. Trust funds can be set up with a range of different beneficiaries, including children, grandchildren, friends or other family members. The trust will be administered by a trustee, which is a person or institution named by the creator of the trust to make decisions about how the funds are used. Choosing the right trustee can be very important in helping to ensure that the assets of the trust are properly maintained.

There are several considerations for people to keep in mind when choosing a trustee. Many people want to name a close friend or family member as a trustee to honor their relationship and their sense of trust in that person. However, those close friends or family may not be comfortable or experienced with the type of financial and legal duties that can accompany the tasks of a trustee. Therefore, it can be important to think about the skills and knowledge of a potential trustee in addition to relationship building.

Estate planning steps to take after a divorce

While a divorce may be an emotional event for a Florida resident, it is important to think about the estate planning ramifications. For instance, it could be necessary to remove a former spouse from any power of attorney duties. It is also a good idea to take a look at an existing will and trust.

Estate planning documents will generally need to be updated after a marriage is officially over. Amending a trust can ensure that an ex-spouse doesn't have direct control over money that is meant to benefit a young child. One may also want to move trust assets that were originally planned as gifts to a former spouse. An individual should review the law in their home state to determine if they are required to leave a certain portion of their estate to a spouse.

Steps to take when creating an estate plan

Some people in Florida may need to take extra steps to make sure that their estate planning documents are in proper order. An estate plan might need to be more than simply a will that lists which assets go to which people.

The first step in creating or expanding an estate plan is for the estate owner to assess their net worth. This includes debts, assets and life insurance policies. Since heirs could potentially fight over many different inheritances, all assets should be listed regardless of their size and worth.

4th of July weekend the worst for personal injuries

AAA predicts that a record number of Americans will be hitting the roads for the Fourth of July weekend. More specifically, 37.5 million people will be driving 50 miles or more from their homes between June 30 and July 4. Florida residents should remember, however, that with the festivities come certain health and safety hazards.

The nation's birthday is, in fact, considered the deadliest holiday of the year. Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety state that it is the worst for fatal car crashes. Every year, there are approximately 200 traffic deaths during the Fourth of July weekend. Drunk driving on that weekend alone is to blame for 40 percent of all highway fatalities between 2007 and 2011.

Study finds small group of drivers cause more accidents

Overall, professional truck drivers are less likely to cause accidents than nonprofessional motorists. However, distracted driving, and the use of smartphones in particular, is an issue for professional drivers in Florida and around the country as well.

Out of all fatal truck/car collisions, passenger car drivers are responsible about three-fourths of the time. The crash rate for large trucks is 29 percent lower than for other vehicles, and between 1985 and 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks dropped 32 percent.

The value of appraising collectible items

If an individual in Florida or anywhere else owns art or other collectibles, he or she can leave them to family members or charities. However, estate and tax laws may be different for such items compared to other property, like a home or investment account. According to the IRS, a collectible can be anything from a rare alcoholic beverage to an art collection. Other items may also be labeled as collectibles at the tax agency's discretion.

It may be worthwhile for a person to get an appraisal while he or she is still living to get a proper valuation of what could be a rare item. It can also be helpful for someone to provide the names and contact information of those who could conduct an accurate valuation after he or she passes. Ideally, multiple parties will give their opinions as a variety of factors could influence an item's perceived value.

VanNess & VanNess, P.A.