Don’t Just Set It and Forget It

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in estate planning |

Estate Planning

Over 70 percent of all Americans have no estate planning documents whatsoever. Of the 30 percent that do, most have only basic documents like a Last Will and Testament, with no regard to probate avoidance, estate tax reduction or asset protection. Of those people that do incorporate a Revocable Living Trust into their foundational estate plan, over 90 percent will leave the trust underfunded or unfunded at death, causing the unnecessary loss of assets and unnecessary delay of distribution. Some basic estate planning upkeep could alleviate all of these concerns.

Your estate plan should be reviewed with an attorney at least once every 3 to 5 years. I review my clients’ estate plans each year to determine if any changes need to be made due to a change in tax law (as happened in 2010), legal drafting requirements (as happened in 2005) or the Probate Code (as happens most years). However, the more pressing changes almost always occur on the personal side of the equation.

Over the course of every 5 year period, most families will see a birth, a death, a marriage or a divorce and this event could cause the need for an amendment to the estate plans of the individual members of that family. Additionally, the beneficiaries might be at different ages or competency levels and the Trustees, Personal Representatives and Guardians might be in different stages in life, areas of the country or financial levels than they were when you originally drafted your plan, which would cause the immediate need to revise and choose new role players.

Another consideration is the age of your attorney. Your estate planning attorney needs to be able to walk your children or other beneficiaries through the administration process. Is your attorney still alive? Is he still practicing? Will he still be practicing when you die? Does he practice in the state in which you currently live?

Any estate planning attorney should give you a free consultation for the review of your estate plan. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A simple review and possible amendment to your estate plan today will save your family large amounts of money and time after you are gone.

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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The Need for Proper Business Structure

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in Limited Liability Company |


There are a variety of business entities that can be incorporated into your wealth preservation plan. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a commonly used structure that provides its “members” (owners) with control over assets, without the risks associated with having title in their own personal names.

By owning your assets in an LLC, you are safeguarding them from being pulled into a lawsuit brought against you, as you do not “own” them. The LLC provides higher liability protection than a corporation and, if organized correctly, any potential creditor or litigant would be limited to gaining only a charging lien against the LLC. Your home and other assets (bank account, etc.) may not be touched, because you do not own the business directly, thus you are not personally liable. It’s like being a stockholder in a corporation.

Due to the fact that there are several requirements to properly forming an LLC, you will want to seek an attorney (that has a thorough understanding of such asset protection) to assist you in ensuring that the LLC is valid; otherwise, your safeguarding efforts will be futile. Also, keep in mind, the timing of the asset transfer cannot be done to actively avoid a present creditor, as it may be considered a “fraudulent conveyance.” Therefore, it is important to partake in these asset protection strategies prior to any legal or financial problems.

By utilizing estate-planning techniques, you can protect yourself and your family from unnecessary hassles, while safeguarding your assets. With the help of an estate-planning attorney, there are a variety of tools that can be customized to your goals, and implemented to ensure that you get to enjoy your assets and investments without that pesky law suit target that comes when you own them in your own name.

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Save the Planet…From Probate.

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in estate planning, Trusts |

Why you need an estate plan

This Earth Day, Michael Wild encourages you to plant a little more green. And when we say green, we’re not talking about 4-20, but rather, planting more green into your estate plan.

The Benefit of Estate Planning, Earth Day Style

  1. By rooting your hard earned assets into a trust, you are protected from creditors digging for ways to steal what is rightfully yours.
  1. The stress of probate heats up faster than Global Warming. By having an estate plan in place, you avoid an arduous process that is costly and time consuming.
  1. The Government has a zero-tolerance policy during probate cases, emitting as many ways to charge you hundreds and thousands of dollars. In fact, probate can cost up to 10% of the value of your estate.
  2. Your loved one may become be endangered. A trust is nature’s way of keeping you in control when you are experiencing your day of going into the Earth; control of who gets what, how they receive it, and where they can keep from beyond the grave.
  1. Like the big oak tree in front of your window, an estate plan allows privacy. Your trust is private and secret, only people you designate will be privy to your estate plan.

With all this green in your estate plan, you can breath a sigh of relief!

To learn more about estate planning, contact Michael Wild at

Wild Felice & Partners is a full-service law firm with a specialty in estate planning, asset protection, elder law, and probate administration in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Parkland, Coral Springs and Westin.


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Donate to a good cause, reduce your tax liability. Here’s How:

Posted by on Apr 20, 2015 in estate planning, tax |

How to receive a deduction for your charitable donation.

How to receive a deduction for your charitable donation.

April 15 has come and gone, and you may have made a commitment that you will make better tax decisions for 2015; just like you promised for 2014. The time has come to introduce this resolution to your inner humanitarian, as you can make donations to a good cause, while reducing your tax liability. This year, be sure to find an organization that is qualified by the IRS, so you can make an itemized deduction on your tax return.

Use the following tips to ensure that you can receive a deduction for your charitable donation.

1. Itemized Deduction: First of all, you cannot make a qualified charitable deduction under the “standard deduction,” as they can only be reported through itemized deductions.

2. Determine whether your donation is qualified for a deduction: To receive a deduction for your donation, it must be made to a “qualified organization.” The “Exempt Organizations Select Check” is an online tool provided by the IRS to help you determine whether your donation was made to a qualified organization. If you don’t want to do the research, you can always count on larger charitable organizations like Red Cross.

3. Keep a record: When you make a charitable donation to a qualified organization, you must maintain a record in the form of a bank record or a written communication from the qualified organization containing name of the organization, the date and amount of the contribution. If your contribution has a value of $250 or more, you must get a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the qualified organization indicating the amount of the cash, a description of any property contributed, and whether your received a benefit in return (if so, it must include the estimated value of the benefit received).

4. Submit a Form 8283: If your charitable donation deductions exceed $500, you must submit a Form 8283 with your return. You can find the instructions for filling out this form here.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected? Wild Felice & Partners provides estate planning and probate administration in South Florida. Click here to learn more.

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How To Reduce The Stress of Estate Taxes

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in asset protection, estate planning, Legal News, tax, Trusts, Wills |

With our favorite season almost coming to an end, it’s important to educate ourselves on estate taxes. Of course death is not our favorite topic to discuss nor is it something that we want to think about when receiving our tax return, however planning for the future is never a bad idea.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.”  This quote draws on the actual inevitability of death to highlight the difficulty in avoiding tax burdens. But, if you plan ahead and use the proper resources, estate taxes will not be too much of a burden.

Estate tax is known to be a tax on your right to transfer property after death. This tax consists of an accounting of everything you may own or have certain interests in at your date of death. The fair market value of these items are used which then becomes your gross estate. Once your gross estate is accounted for, certain deductions such as: mortgages and other debts, estate administration expenses, property that passes to surviving spouses, and qualified charities are allowed in arriving at your taxable estate.  After the net amount is calculated, the value of lifetime taxable gifts is added to this number and the tax is computed. The tax is then reduced by the available unified credit. Being that I just bombarded you with estate tax lingo and probably lost you after I said the word “death”, let’s talk about how to reduce estate taxes.

Setting up a QTIP trust, and no I don’t mean a piece of cotton, and a Bypass Trust can postpone the payment of taxes until both spouses in a marriage have died. If you die first but want to determine who receives the trust property after your spouse dies, you may want to consider setting up a Qualified Terminable Interest Property trust, or as we like to call it, a QTIP trust. This trust allows you to put property into the trust however, YOU, not your spouse, can specify who receives the remaining property in the trust after your spouse dies. A QTIP trust enables you to designate what happens to the leftovers of the trust instead of leaving it to the option of your spouse.  This may be a great option if you’re on your second marriage. Let’s say that you and your current spouse are both on your second marriage and each have children of your own from the first marriage. To put it nicely, you aren’t too fond of your spouse’s children and the word “freeloaders” comes to mind when their names come up in conversation. But, your spouse of course thinks of them as angels. In this situation, do you really want your spouse to decide what happens with any leftovers from your estate upon his or her death? I’m not thinking so.

Another option would be setting up a Bypass trust, also known as a “B” trust.  This trust shelters property from estate taxes and “bypasses” the property from your spouse to someone else, such as your child or children. But, guess what? Your spouse can still benefit from the trust.  Even though the trust is for the sole benefit of your child, your spouse, while living, can still benefit from the trust assets. Being that your spouse never actually takes possession of the property, he or she is never considered to be the property owner. This means that he or she never has to include the property in his or her estate.

So, as Franklin once said, death and taxes are inevitable but here at WFP law we can ensure you that we can help reduce the burden of estate taxes. It’s a wild world and if you don’t prepare your trusts properly, the IRS may not honor them. So, the real question is; are you protected? Come in today for a free consultation!

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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