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Brevard County, Florida, legal blog

An offshore trust might be a good option to protect your assets

As you get older and begin to put together an estate plan, one thing you should do is look into an asset protection trust. An asset protection trust helps protect your assets against creditors who make claims against your estate.

These trusts are generally irrevocable, which means that you don't get to change the trust after you make it. When the trust ends, the assets inside can be given back to you or distributed to your beneficiaries, depending on the length of the trust's terms.

Cantwell & Goldman PA announces social distancing-friendly meetings

Coronavirus (COVID-19) dominates the news. American life has been rearranged in just a few short days as the nation – and the world – hunkers down to combat and contain the virus. Many Americans are now working from home as social distancing has become a temporary norm.

Our social distancing means that we suddenly have a lot more time at home to fill, giving a lot of people an opportunity to catch up on important tasks that have for one reason or another been previously pushed to the side. For people without estate plans, and for those who have outdated estate plans, this is an excellent time to take care of a missing part of financial security for your family.

Know these points before you challenge a will

A lot of different things have to be done when a loved one passes away. One of these tasks has to do with handling their estate. The majority of these situations will go forward without any issues; however, things might get rather complex if someone has reason to believe that the will or other components of the estate plan are unfair or incorrect.

Dealing with an estate plan that isn't set how you think it should be or how you were told it was can be difficult. Your loved one's wishes must be followed, but you also have to ensure that what's relayed was actually what they wanted. Trying to figure out how to move forward can be challenging.

A deeper look

When you glance at a family as a neighbor or a co-worker might, you will often see an outward appearance that everything is fine with them. Their lives appear to be going according to plan. But if you look a bit below the surface, you sometimes spot issues and problems requiring attention.

We recently read of such a family, with an issue lurking beneath the surface. Though the problem is an important one, it is one that can be addressed today with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.

Estate planning questions to ask and answer

Many of our regular Brevard County blog readers will recall that we recently wrote a post about dispelling estate planning myths. In this post, we’re going to take a look at some questions to ask and answer to ensure that your estate plan will give you and your loved ones the protections you seek.

The first question to ask: if your will current? If it has been years since you sat down with your estate planning attorney to draft this important document, it might need a refresh. For instance, an update is called for if you have changed your marital status or if you have sold a home or a business.

Dispelling estate planning myths

Despite the avalanche of information available to us all online, we can regardless find myths in many aspects of modern life. One example of an area where myths persist is in estate planning.

A recent news article on the subject tackled several of the false (though perhaps common) beliefs about estate planning.

Learn how to legally stash assets from Uncle Sam

If you have avoided retirement planning because you don't want your assets to be taxed, you should know that there is a way to protect your assets and resources legally from the clutches of the government. These tips could also help you assist your elderly parents or grandparents from having their estates heavily taxed when they pass on.

Read on to learn how you can protect vital assets from being reduced by taxes.

Report: Insurers deliberately underpaid life insurance, annuities

The loss of a loved one is an emotionally difficult time. It can be made much more complex for those who have been named estate administrator. For them, the job of locating and distributing assets and making their way through complicated legal processes can be overwhelming.

When probate administration includes the task of locating life insurance policies and annuities, the challenges are even greater. Many people leave behind them a bewildering paper trail of financial documents (and often, a lack of critical information) that makes estate administration a job best left to professionals.

Reasons people flee to Florida

There are many reasons people move to Florida, including abundant sunshine, beaches and our lack of a state income tax. There are often news articles about high-net-worth people moving from states with relatively high state income taxes (New York, California, New Jersey, Minnesota) to places with low or no state income taxes, such as Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, Tennessee and Florida.

A move from California (and its 13 percent state income tax) to Florida can mean substantial savings, which can in turn mean greater wealth and a larger estate to pass on to loved ones. Another motivation to move can be found in the recent limits placed on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes. The deductions used to be unlimited, but are now capped at $10,000.

How are assets and expenses handled during probate?

The executor of an estate has many duties to complete during the probate process. One is making sure that the estate's bills are paid properly. To do this, you have to know what assets are handled in the probate case and which bypass probate. You also need to understand what bills are the estate's responsibility.

Before anything is done with the estate's bills, the executor must locate the assets and determine how the decedent intended them to be handled. Some of these assets are exempt from creditors, so they can be distributed prior to the ones that must be kept until the probate case is closed out. Typically, the probate process can take one to two years to complete.

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