Articles Posted in Estate Planning

How a Community Property Trust Can Save Tens or Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Capital Gains Taxes
Community property trusts can save your clients tens of thousands of dollars in capital gains taxes, and that is just one of their many benefits. This lesser-known strategy is not necessarily the best fit for all couples either because of their assets or state of residence. However, for households you work with that can make the most of them, it is a planning tactic that could have a significant impact on keeping more of the value of their estates in the family.

These trusts offer a huge benefit to couples who take advantage of them. There’s also a lot to gain for their financial advisors. Thanks to the double step-up for property held in this type of trust, your clients will retain a significant amount of wealth that would otherwise go to the IRS because of capital gains tax. So it is a solution that provides better cash flow for your clients and more assets under management for you: a win-win for all parties.

What is community property, and what is a community property trust?

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How Does A Step Up In Basis Work?

Capital gains taxes are one of the more confusing taxes that American citizens have to pay.  The best way to explain capital gains taxes is through examples.  This article will include plenty of examples, but in an attempt to define these taxes, capital gains taxes are the tax accessed on an asset when it is sold and has increased in value.

Capital gains taxes are a percentage of what a person buys the asset for (the “basis”) and what the amount the property was sold at (the “step-up”).    Most assets have a tax basis, and generally, this is the amount a person paid for the property originally.   When you inherit an asset, the basis is usually set at the amount the property is worth on the day of the transfer.

It is important to know how much an asset is worth on either the day the asset was purchased or on the day the owner dies and the property is transferred.  Once the property is sold, the tax will be accessed on the difference between the first value and the amount the property was sold for.  Most people pay about 15 percent on the difference.  Higher earners may have to pay as much as 23.8 percent capital gains tax.

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Estate Planning for Millennials

Millennials are growing up and doing so fast, and as we all know, young adulthood is full of important milestones.  Florida millennials are now graduating from college, landing their first “adult” jobs with benefits such as 401k matching, life insurance, and pension plans.  This generation is now starting to make big decisions such as buying homes and starting families.  Now is the time that millennials should start to begin estate planning.

Estate planning has the stigma of being something that only the elderly and the terminally ill consider.  However, estate planning is much more effective when started at an early age.  No one can predict the future, and every person benefits by having a will, trust, and a power of attorney.

The great thing about estate planning is that you can adapt and change the plan as needed.  You don’t need to wait until you are married and have children to create the plan.  Moreover, you still have many friends, loved ones, and relatives that you may wish to pass assets or control your financial and health care decisions if you become incapacitated.  If you ever become married, divorced, or have children the estate plan can always be modified.

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Estate planning has many benefits, with one of the best being that it allows our clients to have peace of mind.  This peace of mind comes from knowing that your family members can be taken care of if something happens to you.  This type of estate planning is especially important if you have minor children.

Parents are often so busy that they don’t have time to think about planning for their death or incapacity.  A parent’s time is often spent thinking about getting kids to school, helping with homework, and providing a good lifestyle for their children.  Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without warning, from an unexpected illness, on a highway, or as a result another catastrophe.

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Jacksonville Estate Planning For Single Parents

One of the best aspects of Jacksonville estate planning is that every plan can be tailored to a person’s life and specific needs.  In Jacksonville, Estate planning is important for every person, but it is even more important when you are a single parent because estate planning can directly benefit minor children.

There are several issues that single parents need to consider with their Jacksonville estate planning attorneys.  These are some of the common issues that single parents should consider.

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Florida Asset Protection Trusts and Domestic Asset Protection Trusts Can Be Effective Prenuptial Agreements

Planning for a divorce is never easy or fun, but divorce is an unfortunate reality in today’s world where almost half of all marriages end in divorce.  Without legal planning, a spouse seeking a divorce is likely entitled to an equitable portion of the marital property.  The traditional way to protect property from a divorce was through a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement; now there may be a better alternative by using a Florida asset protection trust.

So what happens if there is no legal planning?  If the married couple fails to plan for the dissolution of marriage adequately, then the division of marital property will be left to the discretion of a judge during the process of an expensive and time-consuming divorce process.
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In Florida it can be crucial to do Estate Planning For Second Marriage

More and more Americans are getting remarried which is causing estate planning to become more complex.  People are living much longer than in the past, which means that the rate of remarriage is occurring at a much higher frequency.  A second marriage adds new obligations and rights for the new people in your life, while still keeping the obligations from your first marriage.

The effect of multiple marriages is that it could create multiple claims on a person’s estate.  Many estate planning issues can be resolved with careful planning.  Here are some key issues for estate planning for a second marriage.

1. Length of the New Marriage

The first issue that is common in estate planning is the duration of the subsequent marriage.  For instance, say a person has a spouse with early Alzheimer’s.  This person also has a retirement plan that named his children outside the marriage as beneficiaries.  The couple has been married for eight years, and the person would be destitute without the spouse’s IRA.  It may be time to think about changing the estate plan to include the new spouse, which would desperately need the funds from the retirement plan.

2. Children from the First Marriage or outside the current marriage

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Yes A Spendthrift Provisions Can Protect Against Civil Judgments

What is a Spendthrift Provision? One of the best forms of asset protection we can provide is through a trust that contains a spendthrift provision.  In a revocable trust, a spendthrift provision has some significant benefits such as protection against your beneficiaries’ creditors.

So what exactly does a spendthrift provision do?  A spendthrift provision is a provision within a revocable or irrevocable trust that limits the beneficiary’s access to trust.  This restriction protects the trust property in two ways, it prevents a beneficiary from selling his or her interest in the trust property as a beneficiary, and it prevents the beneficiary’s creditors from compelling the trustee to make distributions except where this would void public policy like in the case of alimony, child support and some civil judgements.
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How To Protect Against Elder Abuse

A Senate Special Committee on Aging had a hearing in November of 2016, which allowed experts to testify that elder abuse is still a growing problem in the United States.  The experts testified that over 5 million elders, or one in ten seniors, that live at home experience some elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Jaye Martin, the executive director of Maine Legal Services for the Elderly, testified that not only is financial abuse (elder abuse) running rampant, but that the elder abuse is most often perpetrated by family members who are guardians.  This information regarding financial elder abuse was further supported by a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.
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A Florida DNR is a document you will not complete with your Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer. Many feel that estate planning is a great area of law because it allows people to plan ahead for how they wish to be treated medically in a scenario when someone is not able to decide on their own.  This is why we recommend that every person plan for their future through estate planning documents such as a will, trust, living will, medical and financial powers of attorney and even simple documents such as a Florida “Do Not Resuscitate Order.”

A Florida DNR, Do Not Resuscitate Order, is a form developed by the Florida Department of Health, known formally as Form 1896, that identifies a person that does not wish to be resuscitated in the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest.  This form, tells hospitals, doctors, and other health providers to not resuscitate you when certain conditions occur because you do not feel your quality of life will be sufficient after resuscitation. We recommend that everyone have a Florida DNR, Do Not Resuscitate Order, if they do not wish to be revived under certain conditions because most doctors and health care providers will attempt to resuscitate a person by default.

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