VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Final estate planning tips

Florida residents who are approaching death may want to review their estate plan to avoid unnecessary legal issues for their families to resolve. Toward the end of life, people may become mentally incapacitated, rendering them incapable of making important decisions on their own. Therefore, durable powers of attorney should be created that can be executed as soon as it becomes necessary to do so.

Those who planned on making gifts to charity may want to follow through on those donations prior to death. This is because making them now may deliver estate tax or income tax savings while doing so after death may not provide any benefit. It is important to note that the federal estate tax exemption is $5.45 million for singles and $10.9 for married couples who choose to combine their exemptions.

It is a good idea to review all existing life insurance policies as well as any asset with a beneficiary designation. If a policy has lapsed, it may be possible to reinstate it prior to passing on. Assets that may come with a beneficiary designation include a 401(k) and an IRA. It may also be worthwhile to consider putting other assets into a trust to avoid probate, which may open an estate up to legal challenges.

Talking to an attorney may be helpful for those looking to create or review an estate plan. Legal counsel may be able to help draft estate plan documents such as a will or trust. It is important to comply with all of the formalities when executing these and other documents, which the attorney can explain.

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