Building up your finances took years. You've worked hard for that psychological peace of mind. Probate laws, taxes and guardianship can deplete your assets and property, and result in your estate being distributed in ways that you never would have chosen. With careful guidance from estate planning attorneys, you can ensure your wishes are carried out with respect to the rewards of your life's work. Based in Ocala, the Dean Law Firm handles estate litigation, but also understands how to avoid it during the estate planning stage.Making a Living Trust in Florida
If you do not create a will or a trust to dispose of your property and assets, Florida probate laws will determine how these are distributed upon your death. The probate system can be difficult, particularly for family members who do not live in Florida. A will is only put into effect upon death, but a trust can protect you while you are alive, allowing you to appoint somebody to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. A trust is a private document that can protect your family from having to deal with probate court. Living trusts are less often challenged by potential heirs than wills are.
Living trusts also have a number of tax advantages. For example, a Credit Shelter Trust allows couples to pass money and property to beneficiaries by taking advantage of an estate tax exclusion. In 2014, the federal estate tax exclusion is $5.34 million per person. The top tax rate is 40%. When the first spouse passes on, the excluded amount goes into a Credit Shelter Trust. The surviving spouse can have access to the income in that trust, even though he or she may not have access to the principal of the estate. That money flows to heirs tax-free.
A revocable trust is different. You can be the trustee of any assets you place in trust, and you can change the trust's terms at any time. Once you pass on, a successor trustee that you've designated can take control and distribute them as you planned. If you think that your adult child has poor financial management skills, or your adult children don't get along, you can choose a third party to act as a successor trustee. This third party can be an adult that you trust, or it can be a bank or broker.Find an Estate Planning Attorney in The Villages
Writing a do-it-yourself will can be tempting. However, the little bit you save on the front end can result in unnecessary conflict and litigation fees spent by your family after your death. If there is any sort of impropriety or lack of direction in your will, somebody may have an issue with it and bring a will contest. Estate planning is an important part of an elderly person's life. The will & trust attorneys of the Dean Law Firm serve Crystal River, The Villages, and the surrounding areas. We work hard to make sure that your will and trust documents are free from any problems that could affect the legitimacy of your estate plans. Contact us at 352-387-8700 or via our online form for a free consultation.