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VanNess & VanNess, P.A.
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How new tax laws may impact estate planning

Florida residents should routinely check on their estate plan to ensure that it meets their needs. Ideally, an individual will conduct a review every three years or so. Scheduling an estate plan review may be especially important in the aftermath of the new tax reform bill recently passed by Congress. One of the larger changes to the tax law has to do with the estate tax. Previously, individuals with estates up to $5.6 million were exempt from paying federal estate tax.

Mistakes to avoid when creating an estate plan

Creating estate plan documents may make it possible to exercise greater control over where assets go after passing on. Florida residents and others who fail to do so may have their assets distributed according to state law. Therefore, it is less likely that assets will be distributed in a manner that is in accordance with the wishes of the deceased person. However, it is important to note that simply creating estate plan documents may not be enough.

The benefits of a complete estate plan

Florida residents may not be able to fulfill the goals of their estate plan if it is not fully thought out. In some cases, a married couple may create a plan assuming that one spouse will outlive the other. Plans may also assume that a healthy spouse will outlive one who is incapacitated. However, if this doesn't happen, a home or other assets may have to go through probate.

Remembering beneficiary designations in estate planning

People in Florida who are creating an estate plan might not think about beneficiary designations as part of that plan. Beneficiary designations are used with assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies to name an heir for those assets.

How legacy planning can shape an estate plan

Some people in Florida might have encountered the term "legacy planning." Although it may sound daunting, it is just another way of thinking about estate planning. Looking at estate planning as leaving a legacy can help a person conceptualize the process as leaving behind something that continues the person's work in the world.

How divorce may change an estate plan

Florida residents who are getting a divorce might want to ensure that they make any necessary changes to their estate plans. One couple had come to an agreement about keeping their individual retirement plans and splitting the excess. However, because they did not complete the paperwork, when the man died on his honeymoon with his second wife, new orders had to be prepared.

Estate planning for each stage of adulthood

Some people in Florida may think they do not need a will because they have few assets or no dependents. However, even if all a person has is a checking account, a relative may still have to go to probate court with proof of the relationship in order to be appointed executor. Furthermore, people might still want to put healthcare and financial protections in place in case they become incapacitated.

VanNess & VanNess, P.A.