La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Strong estate planning can maximize the value of one's assets

Florida estate planning encompasses setting up a plan to assure generally the maximum use of one's assets during life and the distribution of assets to the right people after death. In that context, one's estate consists of all real estate, personal property, investments, savings, insurance, retirement accounts and any businesses. Here are a few tips to get started in the right direction. Keep in mind, however, that there are numerous legal complexities that make this a process best executed in cooperation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Because more than half of Americans don't have a will, that is the first place to start. There are numerous benefits in making a will where one can say precisely who is to share in the estate's assets and in what percentages. A will is useful in designating the passing of real estate to the person or persons desired. The executor of the estate must follow the testator's directions and convey the real estate to the specified beneficiaries.

Alternatively, the will may direct the executor to sell the real estate on the market and treat the proceeds as estate funds that will pass according to the provisions of the will. If a married couple with minor children are making a will, it provides a critical opportunity to say how the funds will be administered for the children and when they will be able to receive their shares. The will can specify the physical custodian of the children in the event of unexpected tragedy.

Your Florida estate planning attorney will explain the importance of a power of attorney and health care directives. In addition, a strong plan contains a healthy mix of financial protections, such as the providing of substantial life insurance to keep a spouse and children living comfortably with enough funds to pay taxes, mortgages and other expenses. This process can also be beneficial in using tax considerations to maximize the value of one's assets. Taking advantage of gift tax exclusions and savings account benefits for educational accounts are just a few methods that are available.

Source:, "Estate planning helps care for your family, even after death", David Kimura, March 13, 2018

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