MAXIMIZE FINANCIAL AID THROUGH THE USE OF AN IRREVOCABLE TRUST

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in estate planning, Trusts |

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MAXIMIZE FINANCIAL AID THROUGH THE USE OF AN IRREVOCABLE TRUST

A strategic estate planning tool that you may want to consider is creating an irrevocable trust for child’s college fund. Funds transferred to an irrevocable trust remain subject to trust terms and conditions until the established time for distribution. A trust can protect your child’s college fund from creditor’s demands. Also, an irrevocable trust has its own tax ID number and is not considered an asset when calculating your taxes thus providing certain tax benefits. Trust property is excluded from the trustor’s gross estate for federal tax purposes.

Additionally, a trust does not go through probate. Therefore, if a child needs money for school, she can access the funds immediately in the event of your death without being subjected to a lengthy and costly court process. Furthermore, a trust can be set up with restrictions regarding how and when your money will be distributed to your child.

How your trust is drafted and reported on FAFSA dictates the eligibility of your child for need-based financial aid. A common error is reporting the full value of the trust fund when there are proportional shares of ownership in the trust. Also, a typical mistake families make is reporting trust fund amounts incorrectly when ownership of the income and principal from the trust fund are split.

You should consult with your qualified and experienced South Florida estate planning attorney to review the terms of your existing trust to advise you as to what your options are under your trust or draft one for you to meet your objectives concerning your child’s educational needs and goals.

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THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS THAT WILL SAVE YOU IN EMERGENCY SITUATONS

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in estate planning, Special Needs Trust, Trusts, Wills |

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COLLEGE BOUND KIDS- EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

So your child has officially become an adult and ready to embark on a new journey- college! Congratulations! This is a huge milestone in your teenager’s life as well as a time of pride and concern for you as a loving parent. Your child is about to spread his or her wings leaving the family nest of security and safety.

What you need are eyes of a hawk in establishing a solid plan that will safeguard your teenager against any unexpected event that could place them in medical or financial peril. There are legal documents that should be prepared by a professional South Florida estate planning attorney who is familiar with the goals you wish to accomplish for your family. Your legal eagle understands the importance of a healthcare surrogate, durable power of attorney, and a living will.

The designation of a health care surrogate authorizes you to get information from a hospital or a doctor about your child. You will not be able to obtain this information once your child is 18 years old unless you have a document permitting you to do so. In addition, your child may be unconscious and unable to give permission. Florida’s HIPPA laws prevent the dissemination of medical information to others unless there are written directives authorizing the permission.

A durable power of attorney is an agreement that allows you to control your child’s financial needs. It can be drafted to allow you to access your child’s bank account in case you need to pay his or her bills, restrict spending, or replenish the account.

A living will is a document that a person uses to make known her desires regarding life-sustaining treatments. Although not the most palatable of topics, it will give you peace of mind with medical decisions you may have to make for your child in the event of an untimely illness or accident.

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Keep Calm and Prepare for April Fools. 

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in asset protection, estate planning, Probate, Special Needs Trust, tax, Trusts, Wills |

April Fools is one week away and for some this means it’s time to brace yourself.  Maybe you have children that scheme all year or perhaps you are married to the ultimate prankster – whatever your situation may be, it’s time to prepare for a possible heart attack and get your estate plan in place today.

A properly executed estate plan will allow you to remain in control, to some degree, either during times of incapacity or even after you’re long gone.  By executing some important documents, you can rest easy knowing who will raise your children, how your children’s inheritance will be managed and where everything will be going.  Some important documents to consider include:

  • Revocable Living Trust – Whatever assets held in trust will avoid probate, saving your loved ones the money and hassle.  The trust will also direct the trustee to manage and distribute your assets according to your terms.
  • Last Will & Testament –  Nominate your Personal Representative, choose a Guardian for any minor child, and add any burial or cremation requests.
  • Durable Power of Attorney – Nominate an individual to make financial decisions on your behalf or qualify you for public benefits, should you not be able to do so yourself.
  • Living Will – Advanced directive or “pull the plug” document.  Allows your healthcare surrogate to give the doctor the “ok” to pull the plug if you are being kept alive by artificial means.
  • Designation of Healthcare Surrogate & HIPAA Release – Designate the individual of your choosing to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf, in the event you cannot do so yourself.

Don’t just prepare for the anticipated pranks coming next week – prepare for your future and family today!  Call (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation.

For more information on Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Probate Administration visit our website at www.wfplaw.com.

It’s A Wild World. Are You Protected?

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DON’T SPILL YOUR GREEN BEER, BUT DO POUR-OVER YOUR TRUST

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Trusts |

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Every St. Patrick’s Day enthusiast is aware of the cardinal rule: spilling your green beer is a celebratory taboo, that of which can only be recovered through another round of green beer. In the world of wealth preservation, however, we encourage the act of spilling all of your property into a trust, through the use of a “pour-over” Last Will & Testament. The pour-over will effectively takes all of the property that passes through the will, and funnels it into a revocable living trust. That property is then distributed to the trust beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the trust. “Separate share trusts” are used to provide that all of the property in your trust will preserve all of its protections, by requiring that all distributions continue in trust for your beneficiaries. Consider the pour over will to be a tap of green beer. The tap pours the contents into a pitcher, ordered by you, the Grantor. The pitcher is like a Living Trust. Once the pitcher makes it to your table of beneficiaries (aka, the Grantor is deceased), it is poured into separate glasses. These glasses are considered the separate share trusts, as they continue to hold the contents for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Whether it is green beer, or your wealth, be sure to take the necessary precautions to ensure maximum preservation. It’s a Wild World – is your Green Beer Protected?

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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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Do It For Your Heart.

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in asset protection, estate planning, Misc., Probate, Trusts, Wills |

February is American Heart Health Month.  A full month dedicated to spreading awareness about heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death among men and in women in the United States.  This is a scary reality for most Americans who love their pizza, hot dogs and beer but the good news is that this disease is preventable.  You can decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease by making healthier choices, such as exercising more, choosing healthier foods and creating an estate plan!  Well, maybe an estate plan can’t prevent heart disease but it will ensure that your family is taken care should anything happen to you.

Estate planning is important for individuals of all ages, from all backgrounds – no matter if you’re married or single.  By planning today, you eliminate any possible arguments about who gets what, can plan for your children’s future, and even provide for your grandchildren!  A solid estate plan should include the following:

The Revocable Living Trust is a great option for those who wish to avoid probate and provide asset protection for their beneficiaries.  The trust can keep your beneficiaries’ inheritance safe against unsecured creditors and allow them to receive what’s held in trust free of probate.  This is a real advantage since Florida’s probate system is both time consuming and costly.  In addition to probate avoidance, the living trust allows the Grantor to retain control during their life.  They may amend as many times as they wish or revoke entirely.  As life changes, so should your estate plan!

The Last Will and Testament will be included in your plan.  In your will, you will appoint minors on behalf of your children, nominate a personal representative on behalf of your estate and specify your wishes regarding cremation or burial.

The Durable Power of Attorney is a powerful document that is only valid for the duration of your life.  Once signed it will allow the designated individual to make important financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so yourself.

The Healthcare Surrogate will allow the designated individual to speak with medical staff and assist in making important medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.  The HIPPA release is included as well to allow for your healthcare surrogate to review medical documents and receive information on your behalf.

You may have the healthiest heart around but that shouldn’t stop you from creating an estate plan.  Call the South Florida Office of Wild, Felice & Partners today at (954) 944-2855 for your free consultation and prepare yourself for the unforeseen.

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