FOUR LEAF CLOVERS DON’T EQUAL FOUR YEARS OF COLLEGE

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in 529 Plan, Family Law, Trusts |

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FOUR LEAF CLOVERS DON’T EQUAL FOUR YEARS OF COLLEGE
It’s almost that time of year again: the 2015 NCAA tournament brackets will soon be set up, and you’ll be counting on the Luck of the Irish when you make your selections. While the function of college sports is high on the charts for education selection, that’s only half of the battle. What’s left? Funding. Fortunately, if you start planning early, you can ensure that the top four selection is your child’s greatest concern when it comes to a college education. Consider the following estate planning resource as a means of both providing for your child’s college planning, while maximizing tax savings. The Florida 529 Savings Plan allows any U.S. citizen to contribute to a savings account for the benefit of any other. The account is then managed by a professional fund manager who will invest according to your investment option of choice. All federal and state income taxes are then deferred until a withdrawal is made from the account. If such withdrawal is made for a “qualified higher education expense,” there are no income tax consequences. There is no set time for using the plan, and it can be rolled over from one beneficiary to another. Not only does the plan allow you to make monthly payments that are invested to create tax exempt income; you can also use it as a strategy to decrease your gross estate, and avoid gift and estate taxes. The 529-Plan allows the owner to maintain complete control over the account, including the right to terminate and withdrawal, while removing all of its contents from the owner’s taxable gross estate. As a result, it is an incredibly useful tool in reducing taxes, while maintaining control and investing in the future of a loved one It is important to consult with an estate planning attorney and/or financial advisor, as there are a variety of wealth management strategies associated with this plan, and it is important to ensure that such strategy compliments each estate plan.

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A NEW ADDITION TO THE FAMILY: ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUR CHILD

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in 529 Plan, estate planning, Family Law |

Baby Feet Underneath a Blue Blanket

If January has brought you a winter baby, an important dimension has been added to your estate plan. It is critical to plan for the care of your child in case of parental incapacity or death. A guardian should be appointed to look after your child in the event something tragic happens to you or your spouse. If you are a single parent, this need becomes even more pressing.

Failure to select a guardian for your child will result in a lengthy judicial process to determine the guardianship of your little one. Undesirable candidates may become his or her new caregiver. Your little one might even become ward of the state.

There are two kinds of guardians to consider. The first is known as a guardian of the estate. This is someone who manages the money or assets held by a child. On the other hand, a guardian of the person, is someone who becomes a substitute parent for the child. For example, your accountant brother-in-law may be the ideal candidate as guardian of your child’s estate, but his unceasing workaholic nature may not make him the preferred choice for guardian of the person.When selecting a guardian for your child, consider the two types and select the ideal candidate with the skills and attributes that best suit those roles.

Another important matter to consider is protecting your minor child from probate and a hefty estate tax bill by establishing a contingent trust. Don’t risk having your little one left with nothing. Protect assets from any predators or even the whims of an immature child with a spendthrift nature by consulting with your South Florida attorney now.

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THE TRANSFER OF YOUR ASSETS: AS EASY AS PUMPKIN PIE

Posted by on Nov 27, 2016 in asset protection, estate planning, Family Law, Trusts, Wills |

Image result for pumpkin pie

THE TRANSFER OF YOUR ASSETS: AS EASY AS PUMPKIN PIE!

Using a Revocable Trust and other advanced planning techniques will assure your family an easy transition of assets upon your death

As you are preparing for this upcoming thanksgiving dinner, you may come to the realization that while pumpkin pie is a tad bit more complicated to bake than its kin, Apple Pie; it sure is easy to eat! The same rings true for an estate plan that uses advanced planning techniques to provide for an easy transition of assets upon your death. It may be easier to simply make a Last Will & Testament that states your wishes; however, that is going to result in a gruesome probate experience for the loved ones you leave behind.

So now you are wondering, what is so special about a Revocable Trust based estate plan? Let us answer this question with another question: If you became incapacitated or died, would you have the following benefits?

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

Absent a full trust-based estate plan, you answer will likely be “no.” A Revocable Trust based estate plan provides all of these benefits, and more. We have already discussed the documents that are imperative to prepare for incapacity (see “You Are What You Eat: Pass The Vegetables”). Now let us take a look at those that provide protection over your assets and their proper distribution.

Pour Over Last Will & Testament and Revocable Trust – The will coupled with a revocable trust effectively bypasses probate, which is the validation of the will — a process that is often incredibly time consuming and often expensive. The pour-over will takes all of the property that passes through the will, and funnels it into the trust. That property is then distributed to the trust beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust. A pour-over will functions to ensure that all of the decedent’s property is transferred to trust. Think of the pour-over will as a safety net that catches all of the assets that were not properly transferred into trust. All the contents of the net are then poured into the trust, ensuring that all of the property is ultimately distributed through the living trust. Furthermore, all of the decedent’s property is distributed by the terms of one document alone (the trust), allowing for simplicity and clarity.

Assignment of Property to Trust – the assignment of property places all of your property into the trust. This avoids costs, loss of privacy, & headache associated with probate. Therefore, when all of your assets are distributed through the trust, there is nothing within the will to validate. As an alternative, you can merely assign property to the trust that you specifically want to preclude from probate, for the purposes of privacy.

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.

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No Time To Take A Knee: Your Estate Plan Needs A New Formation

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in asset protection, Digital Estate Planning, estate planning, Family Law |

Football Team on Ice during Daytime

No Time To Take A Knee: Your Estate Plan Needs A New Formation

Estate Planning is never just “set it and forget it.” No matter what the scoreboard says, it is always important to have your estate plan reviewed by an estate planning attorney every three to five years.

Even when you are halfway through the game, and in the lead, you would never just take a knee and rely on your winning position. This applies in estate planning as well, because even when you are prepared and in a winning position, you have to keep up with the game in order to ensure your “win.” There are a variety of life events that can create a need for new strategies, which is why it is so important to have your estate plan reviewed to ensure that your game plan is still effective. There is no specific time for when you need to have your estate plan reviewed, but generally every three to five years is sufficient. However, if there is any particular life event that takes place that will affect your relationships or distributions, you may want to have your plan reviewed for alterations. Such life events include the following:

Marriage & Divorce: if you have recently married or divorced, you will want to take your current estate plan to your attorney to determine whether these life events are addressed in the documents. Furthermore, you may want to change your Personal Representative, Trustee’s, Guardian’s, etc.

Children: Sometimes your Will & Last Testament will provide for after-born children, but you should take the document to your estate-planning attorney to ensure that your little bundle of joy is provided for. Additionally, you may want to set up a trust, a 529- college plan, alter beneficiary designations in your will, and nominate a legal guardian.

Estate Size Increase: You want to make certain that your estate plans are tailored to your estate size. Therefore, when your estate increases, you may want to make some changes in terms of tax and estate planning. Furthermore, if you have an estate plan that is set up to avoid probate, and acquire new property, you will want to assign that property to your living trust. You also may want to consider a variety of estate planning strategies, anywhere from setting up an LLC to protect certain assets from lawsuits, to reducing the size of your estate for tax purposes.

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Settling for “3” Instead of Going for “7” Wills vs. Trusts

Posted by on Sep 10, 2016 in asset protection, estate planning, Family Law, Trusts, Wills |

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Settling for “3” Instead of Going for “7” Wills vs. Trusts

Each game plan is incorporated as a means of constructing a distinct strategic advantage. The same is true for wealth management and asset protection plans. While a Last Will & Testament is an essential component of any winning game plan, it is often necessary to tackle your goals with the incorporation of a Living Trust. Look to the following game plans to determine which supplies the best strategic advantages for your asset protection goals.

Will & Last Testament Game plan: Control of Your Assets

A Will is crucial in any estate plan. This is the document that will be used to determine your intent regarding the distribution of your property. Thus, without it, all of your assets will be distributed according to State statute, which may be a departure from your own personal wishes. Furthermore, if you have any minor children, you can designate a legal guardian, thereby communicating your wishes to the court when the time comes for a guardian to be appointed. As you can see, this is the foundation of your game plan.

Will Coupled with Trust Game Plan: Control & Protection of Your Assets

This game plan combines your testamentary wishes with further protection by having the Will pour-over into a Trust. The will coupled with a trust effectively bypasses probate, which is the validation of the will — a process that is often incredibly time consuming and often expensive. The pour-over will takes all of the property that passes through the will, and funnels it into the trust. Said property is then distributed to the trust beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust. A pour-over will functions to ensure that all of the decedent’s property is transferred to trust. Think of the pour-over will as a safety net that catches all of the assets that were not properly transferred into trust. All the contents of the net are then poured into the trust, ensuring that all of the property is ultimately distributed through the living trust. Furthermore, all of the decedent’s property is distributed by the terms of one document alone (the trust), allowing for simplicity and clarity.

You need a Last Will & Testament in every winning succession game plan; however, combining it with a Living Trust may be one of your most important strategic advantages! It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?

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Estate Planning For The College Student

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in 529 Plan, estate planning, Family Law, Trusts |

Estate Planning For The College Student

For parents and students, the commencement of a new school year is much like what January 1st is to everyone else: Looking back on the recent life events and choices, while looking forward to the lofty ideals of what lays ahead – a fresh start to the “new” year. In the inception of the new school year, it is time to consider whether you are sporting an old, and less effective, estate plan. Explore your current status, and determine if you are properly prepared for tomorrow. Estate planning isn’t just for the “old & wise.” In fact, the “young and foolish” can start their ascent into wisdom by taking a look into the future, and being prepared for what is looking back! Clearly, the last thing on a young adult’s mind is designating a personal representative, and deciding whom to give their borderline non-existent fortune to. However, at such a young age, the goals of estate planning are not ripe, they are just different. For example, Junior should be less concerned with who will be inheriting his baseball card collection and Xbox, and more concerned with how his digital assets will be treated (preserved, closed, etc.), or who will be his power of attorney and/or Healthcare Surrogate. Standard college student estate planning goals can be achieved with the following documents. Durable Power of Attorney (DPA): this document is going to designate someone to take care of “business” in the event of incapacitation or death. Any financial decision or situation where the college student’s authority is necessary will require a power of attorney to step in their shoes. Furthermore, it can be useful for convenience alone. Lets just say the college student is studying abroad, and wants her parents to take care of her affair while she is gone. When Junior reaches the age of a legal “adult,” he has to authorize his parents to make decisions for him. Combination Living Will & Designation of Healthcare Surrogate: this is a very important issues for young adults, as many are surprised to hear that their parents may not be able to make health care decisions for them or access their health records. Therefore, the college student will want a living will & designation of healthcare surrogate in place, as well as HIPPA authorization, to ensure that a trusted person or parent(s) can make medical decisions on their behalf. Digital Assets Will: Today’s college student will have a lot of digital assets (social media accounts, banking accounts, school accounts, etc.). Therefore, it is often helpful to have a will in place that directs the proper administration of such accounts and assets. For monetary accounts, you may want to leave specific instructions, including the account information, and how you want the account to be closed or maintained. For sentimental accounts (social networking, photos, blogs, etc.), your main concern will be minimizing the hassle associated with loved one’s accessing your accounts, or having them closed in a manner that will preserve your privacy. Furthermore, the college student may want to consider a basic pour-over will and living trust to avoid the hassle and time associated with probate. A lesson to those who are proceeding down the path of collegiate wisdom – plan ahead!

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