Have you recently retired to Florida? As an active, healthy and comfortable retiree, are you enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of Florida? Now that you are settled in, have you updated your out-of-state estate plan to a Florida estate plan? On the other hand, have you been in Florida a long while and created an estate plan a number of years ago? Have you thought about updating your estate plan now that you and your spouse are older, successfully retired, with more assets, and family changes? Whether you have an out-of-state will or a will that has not been updated within the past few years, it is important to realize that there may have been changes to the state and federal laws, changes in taxes and definitely differences between states in estate planning. The cost of probate is an important Florida estate planning lawyer consideration.
As you and your spouse enjoy your retirement and life in Florida you, need to decide what you want for the future: for yourselves, your family, and your legacy. You and your spouse also need to discuss what you want for long-term care. Let us share with you the ten tips you need to know that should go into a successful Florida estate plan that you may not have considered before.
1. Understand the gift and tax limits and how they apply to your estate plan. Even though Florida does not have a death tax, there is a federal death tax in place. You need to have a strong understanding of what taxes your estate may face and how to plan to minimize the impact to the legacy you and your spouse want to leave.
2. Use the annual gift exclusion. One of the planning tools you may not have considered is making lifetime gifts. Helping grandchildren pay for college and helping a child start a business or buy a home are great steps to help you and your spouse build your legacy with your family and minimize taxes at the end of your life. Your experienced Florida estate planning attorney can discuss this with you. Be sure to include your accountant and financial planning team, too.
3. Consider the use of irrevocable trusts as a planning tool. Irrevocable trusts can be strong planning tools when you are trying to reduce taxes and/or create a legacy. By working with your Florida estate planning attorney, who has experience with drafting different forms of irrevocable trusts, you will find out how they can help you reach your goals and provide a legacy for your loved ones.
4. Plan to avoid probate in all the states where you own real property. Are part of your assets in the form of real property? If your answer is yes, then you should be aware of the rules that apply in every state where you hold property. You do not want to leave your heirs and your decision makers open to having to manage multiple probates or ancillary proceedings. This may cause additional time and increase costs on the transferring of wealth to the next generation. Again, your experienced Florida estate planning attorney can talk to you about how trust planning can help you.
5. Consider charitable planning. When you are trying to reach your goals for your legacy, charitable planning may be a consideration you have not yet thought of. Charitable planning can help you avoid taxes through different planning structures your Florida estate planning attorney can work with you to establish. Whether it is reducing the federal estate tax or ensuring your heirs and legacy are protected for the long term, a charitable gifting strategy and estate planning components can help you get there.
6. Research the use of a corporate trustee. An option you may not have considered is a corporate trustee. This type of trustee can be a valuable addition to your estate plan. He or she will know how to invest your money, protect you and your heirs, and work with your Florida estate planning attorney to make sure your goals are met. Be sure to discuss this consideration with your Florida estate planning attorney who has experience working with trust officers.
7. Plan for lifetime crises. We all know that life can change drastically in an instant. That is why it is imperative that you have an up-to-date Florida estate plan in place now, not later. It is critical that you decide who you want to make your decisions in a crisis. Your attorney can discuss with you the tools you need to include as a part of your Florida estate plan to ensure that your decision makers can act for you in a crisis, whether it is making healthcare decisions, financial decisions or making sure your business continues to run efficiently. In addition, do not forget about your possible long-term care needs.
8. Know what can and cannot be done in Florida. Every state has different laws that can affect your estate plan. While there are similarities, it is important to work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney who can help you navigate the nuances of your estate plan to reach your goals.
9. Do not forget to make changes when you needed. If your estate plan was created in another state, you should make every effort to create a Florida estate plan. If you have not updated your estate plan recently, make an appointment now to do so. Again, every state is different, and if your primary residence is now in Florida, you would likely benefit from creating a Florida estate plan. There are always family, life and business changes that need to be reflected in your Florida estate plan. Be sure to make an appointment today with your Florida estate planning attorney to update your plan.
10. Work with a Florida estate planning attorney who is experienced. There are many types of lawyers you can work with for your legal needs. When it comes to estate planning, however, it is important to work with an attorney with experience in this area who can guide you through the process and solutions you need to reach your goals.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Let us help you create a successful estate plan that will care for you both now and in the future. Planning for the future is critical to ensure that your immediate and future goals for your life are achieved. Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.