Articles Posted in Estate Planning

I just finished my new book Protect your IRA : Avoid the 5 Common Mistakes!


Here is the Table of Contents

The 3 Reasons Most People Experience Confusion with Their IRAs
Don’t Just Focus on the Taxes
Avoid the 5 Common Mistakes

Common Mistake #1: Trying to Avoid Income Taxes Now
Common Mistake #2: Incurring Unexpected Excise Taxes
Common Mistake #3: Losing your IRA to Long-Term Care Costs
Common Mistake #4: Paying Income and Estate Tax
Common Mistake #5: Naming Your Beneficiaries as Beneficiary

Putting It All Together
Creating Your Protection Plan

If you would like a copy, please visit our main Florida Estate Planning and Asset Protection website and request a copy using the contact form.

Florida Homestead for Non U.S. Citizens is possible for two types of Florida Homestead exemptions.

The first homestead exemption is tax based.

If you live in your home  and you or your spouse or dependent child is a permanent resident of the state of Florida on January 1s you are entitled to file for a reduction in property taxes.

The second homestead exemption is a protection from creditors

In addition to the tax reduction, Florida’s constitution also provides protection of a homestead from most creditors  to protect the family home from improper transfers or disinheritance.

Florida courts have held that the “permanent residence” requirement means that individuals who do not possess the legal right to permanently reside in Florida cannot establish that a Florida property is their permanent residence. While U.S. citizenship is not a requirement, foreign nationals living in the  Florida on temporary nonimmigrant visas or unlawfully, cannot take advantage of the homestead exemptions.  Only a permanent resident who is lawfully living in Florida can file for the homestead protection and property tax reductions

The Florida Supreme Court expanded the definition of who is eligible to be considered a permanent resident for homestead purposes to include those whose spouse or children or other dependents living in the home  have the right to live in the United States permanently.

This case was about a couple from Honduras that owned a house in South Florida and were in the United States under an  investor visa program. Because the visa was a temporary non-immigrant visa, the couple did not have the right to reside permanently in the United States and therefore could not receive the homestead exemption. However, the couple had three minor children who were all U.S. citizens. The Supreme Court held that because the children could lawfully reside permanently in the United States, the parents were entitled to receive the homestead exemption.

Asset protection is an important part of an estate plan. It is important to understand what what assets are at risk, and how to limit your risk to creditors from potential liability.  Florida’s homestead protection can be a valuable part of an estate plan.   Florida is one of a few states which permit the home to be exempt from creditors including Medicaid Planning.  If you would like to review your estate plan or create an estate plan that provides asset protection from the liability of your actions, your spouse, or your children, contact a Jacksonville estate planning lawyer who includes asset protection planning.

Florida Asset Protection Trusts: Can they be changed?

In Florida, both revocable and irrevocable trusts are valuable estate planning tools that permit individuals to organize and protect their assets from creditors.  The Florida Asset Protection trust is not used by many estate planning lawyers.  Asset Protection is an important part of estate planning in Florida. While the name irrevocable would seem to indicate that the trust cannot be revoked, there are many ways of accomplishing the same effect as revoking a trust.

Generally when one discusses revoking a trust, they are referring to doing one of the following:

  1. Changing a term in the trust
  2. Changing the plan of distribution or the beneficiaries named in the trust.
  3. Changing the managers in the trust- the trustee
  4. Changing the co-trustee in the trust
  5. Changing the assets in the trust

Of course there is also rate case when the need for a trust no longer exists. The creator of the trust may simply want to discontinue the existence of the trust and retain individual ownership of the assets.  We find that most people who want to revoke a trust are mistaken in their reasoning. Some people would like to revoke an irrevocable trust for a legitimate reason.  One example is a life insurance trust where the beneficiary no longer needs the insurance.

Florida law permits judicial modification and non-judicial modification of irrevocable trusts which may solve many problems that may arise in the future.  An even better solution is to permit changes in the trust, when estate tax is not a consideration, and permit the original creator of the trust to make the changes directly.  Many of the irrevocable trusts we create permit the settor ( the creator) to make changes to the beneficiaries, trustees, successor trustees, and assets in the trust.

In some cases the beneficiary can be a spouse so the entire trust can be undone without any consequences if necessary.  You should speak with an estate planning and asset protection lawyer about the new breed of irrevocable trusts that offer far greater flexibility than traditional Irrevocable trusts.    An irrevocable trust  or more specifically a Florida Asset protection trust can be designed to offer  asset and medicaid protection while a revocable trust offers neither.


News and Important information for Seniors and their Families.

In this issue, we discuss the following topics.

  1. How to Bulletproof your estate plan
  2. Trying to treat siblings equally
  3. The importance of taking the emotional value of family heirlooms into consideration
  4. Taking previous loans or gifts into consideration
  5. Proving you’re of sound mind
  6. Notes for those who wish to disinherit someone.
  7. Special issues for Blended families.
  8. How to choose the right guardian for your children.

To download a copy of our 4th Quarter newsletter use the following link  Goldman Elder Law Update 2015Q4

The Florida District Court of Appeals recently applied a little known doctrine called the Doctrine of Dependent Relative Revocation in the case of In Re Estate of Murphy to save an estate from passing through intestacy.

The owner of the estate was Virginia Murphy.  Mrs. Murphy died in 2006 and was predeceased by her parents and husband.  She also died without any siblings or children.  In the years before she passed, Mrs. Murphy executed a number of wills that were prepared by her longtime attorney Jack S. Carney, including the last will she executed in 1994.  The 1994 will named Mr. Carey as personal representative of Mrs. Murphy’s estate; and it purported to leave the bulk of that estate to Mr. Carey, Gloria DuBois (Mr. Carey’s legal assistant), and George Tornwall (Mrs. Murphy’s accountant, who died the year before Mrs. Murphy passed away).
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One issue that occurs in estate planning is whether or not a charitable pledge can be enforced on a person’s estate after death.  Wealthy individuals often make pledges to their favorite charitable organizations during their lifetime, only to die before fulfilling the pledge.  Executors are then placed in the difficult situation of balancing its duty to ensure the estates assets for the decedents heirs and to pay the money owed by the estate to the charitable organization.   If a court rules the pledge is enforceable, the pledge must be paid out of the estate before the rest of the estate’s assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.

Courts will often find a charitable pledge enforceable when these situations occur:

The pledge is an offer to contract that becomes binding when work obligated by the pledge has begun, or the charity relying on the pledge has otherwise incurred liability.

Donor’s pledge has induced other pledges

The charity’s acceptance of the pledge imparts a promise to apply the funds according to the donor’s wishes, and his pledge is supported by that promise.
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Many women in today’s world stay single by choice, and for those women who are married, we know divorce rates are very high. Studies also show that women are far more likely to survive their husbands. Therefore, we advise all women to create estate plans as if they are a single person.

The first step to making an estate plan is to identify a means to pay for future long term care. A 70 year old woman is likely to live another 15-20 years, which means that estate plans must now last longer than before. We encourage all of our clients to consider long term care policies and other hybrid policies, which have retained benefit features in case a policy is dropped.

The next step a single person should take is to select an executor of a will and a power of attorney agent. A failure to name these persons means a judge will one day be in charge of selecting who will serve these pivotal roles in managing the estate. It is best to name these people ahead of time so a person can ensure his or her health and estate are managed by competent people. These roles do not have to be filled by friend or relatives, so we recommend starting a “recruiting process” to find someone qualified to fill these roles. While more expensive, there are many professionals and or financial institutions that can handle these matters.

A power of attorney is an especially important document for a single woman to have, as unmarried partners or friends generally can’t make medical or financial decisions for each other without signed authorization. There are two powers of attorney documents a person can have: one for finances and one for health care. The same power of attorney agent does not have to be named for both documents, which means a person can choose one person to handle health care and another person to handle financial matters. Here at the Law Office of David Goldman PLLC, we offer personalized power of attorneys that will let those in charge know a person’s likes and dislikes. For instance, if someone hates liver and onions, we can draft a power of attorney that will request this food never be served to you while incapacitated.

A single woman should review her documents to make sure the beneficiary designations are correct. The most important documents to review are your life insurance polices and investment accounts. The beneficiary designations will tell the court what persons will inherit these assets regardless of what anything else says.

For more information on planning your estate as a single woman, contact our office today at 904-685-1200.

There is a myth that trusts and estate planning are for the rich only, but this is actually a common misconception. Estate planning for high net worth individuals usually centers on reducing tax bills, but estate planning has a number of benefits and objectives depending on a client’s needs. An estate plan can provide expert guidance on other aspects of wealth transfer through, wills, guardianships, executorships, powers of attorney, and long term health care.  Today one of the most important aspects of estate planning is to provide asset protection.  Asset protection has historically only been available to the ultra wealthy.

Of all the asset protection and estate planning tools we use here at the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC, trusts are the most likely to be associated as having the stigma of being only for the rich. An  asset protection or estate planning trust is a great device that can ensure a client’s wishes are followed and further offer asset protection. A trust is a legal entity, much like a corporation, that has a manager called a trustee. The person who creates the trust, the settlor or grantor, will put assets into the trust for the trustee to administer as the trust dictates.  (Often the creator and the manage are the same person or people) Continue reading

A trust is one of the most important estate planning tools available and can be used to achieve almost any estate plan’s purpose. A trust can even be drafted with provisions to allow the settlor, or the person who creates the trust, to set conditions for the beneficiaries to meet in order to receive distributions from the trust after the settlor passes.

Recently a trust with “some strings attached” made news due to some of its stranger and oddly specific requirements of the beneficiaries. Maurice Laboz was the owner of a large real estate management firm Regal Real Estate, and when he died, he left both of his daughters $10 million each through a trust. What is interesting about this trust is that each girl can receive their full inheritance when they reach the age of 35, or sooner if the daughters meet certain conditions Continue reading

Here at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, we come across many estate-planning problems that can be avoided by careful planning and forethought. With higher estate tax exemptions most individuals don’t have to consider avoiding estate taxes, so we often recommend a person’s estate planning goal be to leave behind a legacy that will preserve and protect your family.

A common mistake clients often make is to not name a contingent beneficiary of a retirement account or bank account. Generally, every retirement account requires a person to name a beneficiary, but a problem can arise if this named person passes before the retirement account holder.   Always specify at least one contingent beneficiary to inherit the account if the primary beneficiary dies before you. It is also important to learn the difference between “per stirpes” and “pro rata” designations. Per stirpes means that if the named beneficiary dies, that person’s family inherits what the dead person would have inherited. Pro rata means the inheritance goes to the other surviving named beneficiaries. With the recent Supreme court decision, we often recommend that your trust be named as the primary beneficiary of your retirement accounts to avoid loss to the creditors of the beneficiaries. Continue reading

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