David Adams of David N. Adams, Inc is having a Tax Planning Seminar to discuss the new tax laws which are set to start in 2013. The topics discussed will include information on current and future:

  • Income Tax Rates
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Tax Strategies
  • Taxation of Dividend Income
  • New Medicare Tax
  • Estate Tax Schedules

He has invited his clients as well as our clients and readers of this blog to attend a Free Dinner at Maggiano’s where these topics will be discussed. I will be a guest speaker at the event. If you would like to attend, please contact his office to RSVP.

The event will be 6:30-8:00 pm Maggiano’s Little Italy St. Johns Town Center 10367 Midtown Parkway Jacksonville, FL 32246

Seating is limited! Please call 904-339-0015 to reserve your seat today!

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice as individual situations will vary. Event partially sponsored by SunAmerica Capital Services and Cole Capital Corp., Member FINRA/SIPC.
Securities and investment advisory services offered through SagePoint Financial, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor. Fixed and/or Traditional Insurance Services Offered through David N. Adams, Inc. which. is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc. or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. 324 6th Avenue North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

The number of death certificates you will need will vary greatly depending on the amount and number of assets that the person had at the time of death. Most insurance companies, banks, & many creditors will request a death certificate. In addition, you will need a death certificate (short form – one without the cause of death) to open a probate case in Florida. While insurance companies will typically ask for a long version, most other creditors and institutions are ok with a short version. The Probate court will not accept a short version. For this reason it is a good idea to get 3-5 long versions and 5-10 short versions. You can always get more and many companies only need to see a copy of a death certificate.

Sometimes clients who are in a divorce are ordered to split up assets. Some of these assets can have large penalties when surrendered. Once such example is an annuity. Often annuities have surrender charges and can also have tax penalties when they are held within an IRA. You might have a high yielding annuity that has a 10% surrender charge as well as a 10% additional tax penalty for removing funds early.

If your incremental income is taxed at 35% and you had to pay a 10 % penalty and 10% surrender charge, you could lose over 50% of the assets value to taxes and penalties. In addition, it may be hard to achieve the returns that many older higher yielding annuities are earning.

If you find yourself in such a situation, you may want to see if you can swap assets so that you can keep the annuity but pay the other party their share of its value without the penalty and tax consequences.

The IRS recently announced safe harbor rates for April 2012. Safe harbor rates are the minimum interest rates that can be used to avoid gift tax treatment that is associated with below market rate loans. The minimum interest rates for April are still very attractive.

0.25% per year for loans for 3 years or less;
1.15 per year for loans greater than 3 years and up to 9 years; and 2.7% per year for loans greater than 9 years.

Some uses for these loans include business financing, business startup expenses, loans for a mortgage, or loans from irrevocable trusts to an estate of the deceased to cover administrative expenses and taxes. These Loans should always be documented by promissory notes and payments must be accounted for on a regular basis or they can be disallowed.

Indians’s Gov. Mitch Daniels signed to repeal the inheritance tax for deaths after Dec. 31, 2021. The relief is retroactive to January 1 and increases amounts exempt from the tax for 2012 deaths.

Currently 22 states and the District of Columbia impose an estate / inheritance tax in 2012. See Forbes article on Another State Death Tax Kicks the Bucket, Will More Fall? for more information on this topic.

If you live in a state that has an estate tax or inheritance tax you may want to consider the additional taxes that your estate or beneficiaries might be subject to in your planning.

Be careful of agreements that you sign with banks. This family is being held hostage by a bank that made the beneficiaries sign an agreement that required all 94 of them to agree prior to moving their money to another bank.

The Tompkins family had been customers of Riggs Bank for nearly 50 years when a money-laundering scandal at the Washington lender prompted them to take their business elsewhere (to Chevy Chase Bank)….The family blames Chevy Chase for poor investment returns, among other things. They can’t move the accounts, now worth $100 million or so, because of a fundamental error they made seven years ago when signing up with Chevy Chase: They failed to read the fine print. In their haste to flee Riggs, which was eventually sold to another bank, the family signed an unusual agreement that prohibits it from pulling the money from Chevy Chase unless all 94 family members who are beneficiaries of the trust agree. Having failed to secure familial unanimity, 10 of the grandchildren are now suing Chevy Chase Trust for the right to pull the funds.

If you own firearms and have done estate planning, you might want to review your planning with a Gun Trust Lawyer®. About 5 years ago, I recognized the problems that are inherent with traditional estate planning (wills, revocable trusts, or the default planning offered by each state) as they relate to firearms.

Most Estate Planning is designed to deal with financial instruments and not the issues that surround the purchase, transfer, possession, and use of firearms.

Did you know that you will or trust probably contains language that instructs your family and friends to break the law after you die? Before you put your family and friends at risk of violating the law or giving a firearm to someone who you would not want to hand a gun, you should talk to your Florida Estate Planning Lawyer about creating a Gun Trust.

While gun trusts are great for regular firearms they have additional advantages when it comes to the purchase, use, possession, and transfer of the more restricted firearms like those sold by Dealers with Class 3 SOT licenses.

To learn more about Gun Trusts, visit the NFA Gun Trust Lawyer® blog

Often in an attempt to avoid a relatively small probate fee, individuals can create huge penalty periods and taxable issues for themselves. Take for instance, a woman in New York who, two years before applying for Medicaid, transferred money from her account to an account with a co-owner. Transferring individually owned funds to an account with joint tenants is a common way to avoid a Florida Probate.

While her estate planning attorney seems to have given the advice, he was not aware of the problems that estate planning techniques to avoid probate can have on Medicaid eligibility.

Not only can transfers like this have problems for the individual making the transfer, but they can also create problems for the beneficiary or the new co-owner who will now have additional assets in their name, that may disqualify them from government benefits like Medicaid.

Before you try to save a few dollars and do what worked for your parents or friends, you may want to discuss your circumstances with a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer who is familiar with Medicaid and Elder law issues.

Advance directives.jpgYou asked and a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer will advise you that according to Florida Law, an “Advance directive” means a witnessed written document or oral statement in which instructions are given by a principal or in which the principal’s desires are expressed concerning any aspect of the principal’s health care, and includes, but is not limited to, the designation of a health care surrogate, a living will, or an anatomical gift.

A Health Care Surrogate is chosen by the principal to act for the principal and to make all health care decisions for him or her during the principal’s incapacity. The health care surrogate has the authority to consult with appropriate health care providers, to provide informed consent, to provide written consent, to be provided access to the appropriate medical records of the principal, and to apply for public benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid on behalf of the principal.

The written designation of health care shall be signed by the principal in the presence of two adult witnesses. The person designated as surrogate shall not act as witness to the execution of the document designating the health care surrogate. At least one person who acts as a witness shall be neither the principal’s spouse nor a blood relative. It is strongly suggested that the execution of the designation of health care surrogate be done in front of a notary.

A Living Will made be executed by any competent adult. It is a declaration concerning the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event that a person has a terminal condition, has an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. A living will must be signed by the principal in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom is neither a spouse nor a blood relative of the principal. It is strongly suggested that the execution of the living will be done in front of a notary.

In determining whether a patient has a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state, or may recover capacity, the patient’s attending or treating physician and at least one other consulting physician must separately examine the patient. The findings of each such examination are then documented in the patient’s medical record and signed by each examining physician before life-prolonging procedures may be withheld or withdrawn.

An “Anatomical gift” or “gift” means a donation of all or part of a human body, to take effect after the donor’s death and to be used for transplantation, therapy, research, or education. Chapter 765 of the Florida Statutes has a comprehensive listing of provisions that detail everything one needs to consider when contemplating an anatomical gift.

Now that you know what “Advance Directives” are, contact a Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer to have your advance directives prepared today.

happy_elderly_couple_americare.jpgAs Jacksonville Elder Law Lawyers, we are always looking for the most effective and least restrictive ways in which to serve the needs of our Jacksonville elderly. We keep current of the Florida statutes and the numerous Florida cases which interpret matters involving Florida’s senior citizens.

Elder law encompasses many aspects, including estate planning, guardianship, medicaid issues, and of course, health care issues. As Florida Elder Law Attorneys, we also look to various research and articles throughout the nation which focuses on issues related to aging.

Recently an interesting article caught our attention dealing with coconut oil and it’s effect on those suffering with dementia and Alzheimers. We want to share information we learn of that may have a positive impact on your lives. This article addresses alternative medical treatment.

Coconut oil, once thought to be harmful due to elevating cholesterol levels, actually has numerous positive influences on human health. While pure non hydrogenated coconut oil does in fact raise cholesterol levels it is the good (HDL) cholesterol that is influenced. Although there is little evidence at this point to support it, some leading researchers believe that Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADHD and other central nervous system impairments can be helped with the use of pure coconut oil.

Glucose is the primary nutritional source for brain cells. Some conditions impair the body’s ability to utilize glucose and as a consequence brain cells do not function optimally and will ultimately die.

Recent research along with antidotal testimonials suggest that the median chain triglycerides can provide a source of ketone to brain cells that acts as an alternative to glucose. Some patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia have seen improvement in cognitive, emotional and physical function with the use of pure coconut oil.

If you would like information or direction with an elderly person in your life, consult with a Jacksonville Elder Law Lawyer.

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