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estate planning Archives

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.

Estate planning considers various options for the best outcome

One thing that should at least be considered when planning one's estate in Florida and elsewhere is the possibility of avoiding the probate process altogether. It is worth evaluating such a strategy due to the arcane and time-consuming procedures and requirements often still found in many state probate codes. When something takes a long time in the legal system, it can also cost more in monetary expenses. Estate planning should at least evaluate whether there will be significant delays or uncertainties that probate may cause to one's beneficiaries.

Estate planning should provide for the handling of digital assets

In Florida and all other states, estate planning for a business is a necessity. An estate planning program can minimize estate taxes, direct the disposition or continuation of a sole proprietorship, and develop a buy-sell agreement between multiple owners. Those are basic planning issues for the business owner. Complications can arise with respect to digital assets, however, which is an evolving and sometimes unclear legal landscape.

Living trusts and wills serve separate uses in estate planning

In Florida many people do estate planning through living trusts and others make a will to distribute their assets after death. The two are different types of legal instruments that generally serve different purposes.  The trust is an estate planning technique that deals with the owner's assets during life. The assets are placed in a revocable living trust by the owner.

Probate litigation common in estate planning for step families

With a large population of seniors, Florida gets a substantial number of decedent estates for administration in its courts each year. A small portion of those matters will require probate litigation for the sake of resolving intractable family disputes. Many of the disputes arise among a decedent's children and their stepmother, concerning issues of favoritism and undue influence during estate planning.

Estate planning mistakes can reverse one's intentions

There are a number of mistakes that one can make along the way to getting an estate plan in place and functioning properly. The most obvious mistake is to fail to do it. Putting off the initiation or completion of the estate planning process gets the individual no protection whatever. If one dies without a will in Florida, the state will administer a set of rules stating who will inherit and how much, which may not be what the decedent would have desired.

Why there is a need to update your will

Putting together an estate plan is an intimidating and scary process. Since the topic inherently means that you have to contemplate your own death (and what comes after), it can be difficult to get started. However, having an estate plan is absolutely critical for safeguarding all you have worked for throughout your life. It protects you, your family, and your loved ones from potentially unfortunate circumstances where assets in your estate don't go to the people who deserve them simply because you lack an estate plan.

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