Only five weeks before his death Leonard R. Brener made a change to his will. He decided to change his beneficiaries form four local charities to his niece and her husband who took care of him while he was dying.
The non-profits were stunned and file a suit to battle over the money. The case took more than five years that the state appeals court recently ruled that Brener was mentally competent and his decision to leave the money to his family should stand.
The charities tried to argue that his change was unnatural because it would trigger significant estate taxes which he had previously stated he wanted to avoid.
(Estate taxes on 8M today are 2.7 Million Dollars) with proper estate planning its possible to have reduced the tax to 1.8 Million or less) Although the estate taxes from 2001 were significantly more than they are today.
This lengthy estate battle could have been avoided with the privacy afforded by a Florida Revocable Trust and some explanation within the will as to why the changes were being sought. In addition a Florida Revocable Trust would help to avoid the costs associated with a Florida Probate. If you would like more information on how a Florida Revocable Trust could benefit your or your family, Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer for more information.