Would you like to buy a vowel? How about $1 million worth?

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in asset protection, tax, Trusts, Wills |


In thursday night’s 30th anniversary episode of “Wheel of Fortune,” Autumn Ernhard’s name went down in the books as the second wheeling-wonder fortunate enough to reach $1 million in winnings. She left the show with a fortune figure of $1,030,340.00, stating she was in “utter shock” & “shaking.” It is undetermined whether her “shakes” are a result of muscle fatigue from the new hefty burden in her pockets, or the nerves associated with planning her estate & further preserving her new fortune.

The million-dollar-side-effects can be cured with the help of a Florida estate planning attorney.

Ease your mind with the top 5 estate planning strategies to cure a case of the shakes:

  1. Living Trust – a living trust has become increasingly desirable due to its ability to avoid probate (the legal process of determining whether a will is valid). There are three parties involved in a trust: (1) you, the creator; (2) the trustee(s) (who manage the assets in the trust); and (3) the beneficiaries. If you are married, you may want to designate yourself and your spouse as co-trustees, so that you have full control over the property while you are still alive. Side Note: such control does have tax consequences, so you will want to discuss this with your estate planning attorney.
  2.  Assignment of Property – this is exactly that, assigning your property to your trust. This includes both real & personal property. A trust does not do anything for you if there is no property in it.
  3.  Last Will & Testament – this is your traditional will that is used upon death to distribute property to beneficiaries, specify last wishes, and name guardians for minor children.
  4.  Durable Power of Attorney – this allows you to designate and authorize someone to legally act on your behalf, in the event that you become incapacitated.
  5.  Combination Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate – this outlines important healthcare decisions in advance, and appoints a healthcare surrogate to make healthcare decisions for you when you become unable to do so yourself.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM



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Single Mother Breadwinners – Protect Your Bacon!

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in asset protection, Family Law, Trusts, Wills |

This is no “yo-mama” joke – Single Mother Breadwinners are bringing home the bacon!

A new report shows that 40 percent of all households with children (under age 18) include mothers that are the primary or sole breadwinner for the family. The Pew Research Center reported that in the past five decades, breadwinner moms have increased by almost 30 percent! Furthermore, the research shows that 63% of these lady-breadwinners are single mothers.

Although these single mothers are bustling about to bring home the bacon, fry it in a pan, and serve it to their children before they rush back to work; one important step should not be overlooked – estate planning.

It may seem like there is no time for the breadwinner to collect the crumbs for future planning, but the benefits of safeguarding your “bacon” outweigh the hassle. Single Mother Breadwinners (“SMB”) of South Florida should pay close attention to potential issues when creating an estate plan.  Such issues include (but are not limited to):


            • Guardianship – if there is no other parent involved, it is important to appoint a primary guardian – the individual who will have custody of your minor children. Creating a will that appoints a guardian will ensure that your child’s interests are protected according to your wishes.
            • Trusts – a trust is valuable for many, many reasons.  They protect your assets while providing for your minor children. Regardless of whether the SMB has a truck full of Wonder Bread or a jar full of crumbs, she may not want her minor children to receive her assets outright. Rather, she can use a trust, appoint a trustee, and be certain that her assets are being managed and distributed appropriately.
            • College Planning, The 529 Plan – a 529 plan allows you (or really, anyone) to contribute to an account that is not subject to federal taxation to save for your child’s college education. There is no age limit for when the plan can be used, and it can roll over to another family member. The SMB can have control and appoint a guardian/trustee to manage it upon her death.

It’s a Wild world, Single Mother Breadwinners. Are you protected?SM

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and business succession planning, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.


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Cha-Cha-Cha Your Way into the Protections of Estate Planning

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in estate planning, tax, Trusts, Wills |

AND THE RESULTS ARE IN – Kellie Pickler & her partner Derek Hough have Cha-Cha-Cha’d their way to the Dancing With the Stars’ Hall of Fame, as the Season 16 Champions! The petite, pixie-cut Pickler is now the proud owner of the DWTS “mirror ball trophy.” The dancing queen has dominated both American Idol & Dancing with the Stars – what’s next, Top Chef? Project Runway? Survivor?

Regardless of where Pickler decides to direct her talents, her youth (age 26) & celebrity status will do little to protect her growing wealth without the implementation of estate planning.

Marilyn Monroe was 36 when she died. Although she had a will & trust, she did not have an estate plan in place to ensure all of her assets were distributed to her desired beneficiaries, and estate taxes absorbed over half of her net estate.

NFL Quarterback, Steve McNair, died at the age of 36. He had $20 million in his estate, but no will in place to provide for his four children. After years of probate, taxes, and legal fees, there is still no resolution in sight.

In cases like that of Marilyn Monroe & Steve McNair, where the estate exceeds the exemption equivalent, there are many estate planning techniques that can be used to limit estate taxes in Florida such as:

  • Bypass Trust
  • QPRT (Qualified Personal Residence Trust)
  • ILIT (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust)
  • QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property trust)

Over half of adults under the age of 34 do not have a will or estate plan in place.  Regardless of age, you want to protect your assets and ensure that you have control over their distribution.  Learn a lesson or two from these celebrities – you are never too young to waltz your way into estate planning protection.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM



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Cannes Film Festival Bling Burglar – You Cannes protect yourself!

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in asset protection, estate planning, tax, Wills |

A band of burglars recently pulled off a jewelry heist involving $1 million worth of red carpet loot from the Cannes Film Festival 2013. Although the uninsured jewelry was believed to be protected through the use of a safe – the bandits one-upped ‘em by simply unscrewing the entire safe from the wall.

The shock; the horror! How can we have faith in humanity when even the stars have been ravished of their bare necessities? The good news is, you Cannes protect yourself! Here in Florida, there are a variety of estate planning methods that can be used to protect your assets.

The truth is you don’t need $1 million in jewels in order to implement safety measures, as EVERYONE needs estate planning. Regardless of how much or how little you own, the goal remains the same:

  • asset protection
  • control over your assets
  • protecting your loved ones
  • preclusion of unnecessary taxes
  • creditor protection
  • limited/no transfer taxes for following generations
  • insuring your assets

For example, in South Florida, if you die without a will all of your assets will be automatically distributed “per stirpes.” The danger in this is that you lose all control over who will receive your estate, and your intentions become irrelevant. The statutory scheme may leave out groups of loved ones, such as stepchildren; and does not protect beneficiaries that are not mature enough to deal with a large inheritance. Such issues are unlimited, but can be avoided through proper estate planning.

By utilizing estate planning techniques, you can protect yourself and your family from unnecessary hassles while safeguarding your assets. Through a variety of estate planning tools, including Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Surrogates, Funding Techniques, and more; you can make your “safe” burglar proof!

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and business succession planning, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM




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Unlucky Misfortunes of the Luckiest of them All

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in estate planning, tax |

The jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has surged to a new record breaking $600 million. Tickets are selling at a rate of 6,000 per minute, as all of America is looking to get real rich, real quick – the American Dream, right? For $2 per ticket, that $600 million could be yours. Test your luck … your 1 in 175,000,000 luck.

We have all had that conversation: “what would you do if you won the lottery?” A man’s answer is usually summed up with a short description of the loud-yellow sports car that will be titled in their name as soon as the Lottery Commission strokes the check. The ladies are more prone to express a story of traveling the world, and using the money to live their own version of “Eat, Pray, Love” meets “Sex & The City” (aka eating aesthetically pleasing foods in Italy with a closet full of Chanel & Christian Louboutins).

While winning the lottery is a game of lady luck; getting that $600 million to last beyond the first year of lavish luxury is no such thing. Research shows that winning the lottery could make you more likely to go bankrupt.

You have all heard the stories, like Callie Rogers who blew through her $3 million in winnings on shopping (think closet full of Chanel & Louboutins), and a breast augmentation. Let’s not forget the lucky son-of-a-gun, William Post, who spent his lottery fortune of $16 million on homes, cars (think obscene/obnoxious/yellow sports car), and bad business investments before he was locked up for shooting at creditors with his shotgun. So the tides have turned, and the “lucky ones” aren’t looking so lucky. But who needs luck in South Florida when there is Estate Planning?

Here are a few concerns & suggestions to avoid the unlucky misfortunes of the luckiest of them all:

  1. Income taxes – we are all fully aware, income taxes are never a game of luck. As Spiderman’s Gramps said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Let me clarify, “with mega-millions comes mega-taxes.” Lottery winnings are taxable income when they are received. The lottery winner can choose between a lump sum payment or yearly installments. Therefore, if the lottery winner elects to take a lump sum payment, the entire amount is reported as income that very year. On the other hand, a winner who receives yearly payments only reports the amount received that year. Of course, the yearly installment sounds desirable for income tax purposes; however, for estate tax purposes, the lump sum arrangement will prevent the lottery winner’s descendants from assuming a potentially large tax obligation. If you decide on a lump sum deal, but like the idea of installments, you can create a trust as the winner of the prize, and set up your own method of annual payments.
  2. Gift Tax – so you’ve won $600 million, and you naturally want to buy your Momma a new house, and your Pops a new truck, and maybe even a trip around the world for your friends. No special treatment for lottery winners, the same gift tax rules apply. You can make tax-free gifts to any number of individuals as long as the total amount given to each beneficiary (each year) does not exceed the annual exclusion amount, which is $14 thousand for the year 2013. Anything beyond that amount is subject to gift tax.
  3. Estate Tax – the lottery winner’s estate may be subject to estate taxes upon death. There is currently an exemption of $5,250,000 that is not subject to estate taxes. By planning ahead, the “lucky,” yet wise, lottery winner can use estate planning strategies to avoid leaving too much in their gross estate (aka, more taxes). By using estate planning techniques, you can achieve transfer-tax-free wealth depletion, flexibility, limited taxes for your descendants, asset protection, and control over asset distribution.

The moral of this story:

  • If you are just “lucky,” you will likely end up as a maid or in jail for shooting at creditors (like our friends mentioned above).
  • If you are lucky and smart, you will hire an estate planning attorney, and blissfully live out your days of lavish-luxury in peace.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and business succession planning, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM


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