If you wish to have any power and control over the distribution of your estate upon your death, then you need an estate plan. An effective Estate plan will help safeguard everything you own and maximize your assets for the benefit of your intended heirs. Planning ahead of time can save your family a great deal of heartache, disputes among family members and money. A comprehensive estate plan should designate a guardian for minor children, appoint persons to administer the estate or trusts, appoint an agent to make medical decisions if the individual becomes incapacitated, provide asset protection for those who are unable to manage their own finances, minimize taxes, provide business succession planning, if applicable, and any other issues that may impact the individual's family or business after their death.
You will also want to have a plan that minimizes the need for probate. Probate is the court process by which the estate of the deceased person is administered. If you have any property, real or personal, and wish to control where that property goes upon your death, then you will want to consider some very simple but often overlooked advance planning strategies and getting a will. If you die without a will, then the court will appoint a Personal Representative and everything you own or in which you have a beneficial interest will be distributed pursuant to Florida law. The assets will be distributed to family members in varying degrees depending upon the family members that are living at the time of your death. Some of your assets may even be distributed to a heir to whom you did not want to inherit. In the absence of a validly executed will, this is how your property will be distributed.
Federal estate taxes are less of an issue now than in the recent past. The Federal estate tax exemption has increased dramatically over the last decade and presently, is only impacting the large estates of wealthier Floridians. When you die, you will only owe taxes on the portion of your estate that exceeds the exemption limit in the year of your death. Your gross estate includes everything you own or in which you have a beneficial interest in at the time of your death including life insurance proceeds. Your taxable estate will be calculated by valuing your gross estate and subtracting some limited deductions. Accordingly, planning ahead is very important.
The Law Firm of Daniel M. Genet, P.A. is here to help you develop an estate plan meet your family's needs and goals. We offer many services, including, but not limited to the following:
● Living wills
● Durable Power of Attorney
● Designation of Health Care Surrogate for adults and minor
● Burial/Cremation/Donor Instructions
● Probate Litigation
Creating an effective estate plan is absolutely necessary to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your intended beneficiaries are protected. We want to help protect your family's future. Please contact us to today to discuss your estate planning needs.
Daniel M. Genet, P.A.
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