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Clermont Estate Planning Blog

How to help your aging parent create a will

No one wants to think about and prepare for a parent passing. One way to make this a less stressful time is by making sure your parent has a will in place. This simple step can help eliminate a lot of issues so you can avoid familial conflict and spend time bonding instead as you grieve together.

Although creating a will is not the only step in your parent’s estate planning, it is an easy place to start. And the sooner you start, the better.

Common grounds for contesting a will

Contesting a will can be a sensitive and difficult process, particularly because the person whose signature appears at the bottom is no longer around to explain or rationalize any of the decisions made therein. Therefore, there are very specific grounds that can be used to contest a will in America, and to be successful in your effort, you must furnish proof that one of the following four situations occurred.

Some Important Lessons Regarding Estate Planning

It is almost universal that people fear death. This is only natural because what awaits people on the other side is one of life's greatest mysteries; however, it is important for people to understand that planning for death is an essential part of life. Too often, people wait to plan for their death until they are incapable of making those important decisions regarding what to do with their belongings after death.

While many people take the time to plan out who will make their medical decisions if they become incapacitated, it is just as important for people to take the time to plan out how their estate will be handled after their death as well. Failure to take the time to plan out an estate can lead to massive financial costs and substantial loss of resources through the estate tax, commonly known as the "death tax." If people wind up in probate court over an unclear will, or no will at all, this can wind up costing the beneficiaries a substantial amounts of money. With this in mind, people need to understand a few important lessons about estate planning.

The Need for an Estate Law Attorney

In today's confusing financial world, the need for an estate law attorney is getting more and more important every year. 

While it may seem as if an estate planning lawyer simply drafts wills, an experienced estate law attorney understands the legal details that can save your family from unnecessary litigation and legal problems.

This blog post will examine one important case involving estate law. The modern Supreme Court case of Astrue vs. Capato reveals why it is important to have the law on your side even after death.

Florida's laws about Medicaid planning

We have all heard stories of elder couples who lose everything they have worked for when one of the spouses enters a nursing home. With the annual cost of a shared room in Florida now averaging more than $86,000, it is easy to see why a couple of average income and savings and no long-term care insurance will quickly drain their assets.

More and more, families are beginning to understand the importance of Medicaid planning as one part of their complete estate planning strategy. Medicaid planning strategies will not work for family, in every situation. If you are considering ways to protect your financial legacy from nursing home costs, here are some things you need to know.

Tax issues related to Prince's estate

Florida fans of Prince were likely saddened by his sudden death. As people have come to terms with his passing, other issues are now emerging that can serve as lessons, especially when it comes to estate planning and estate tax.

On April 26, it was reported that Prince's sister filed paperwork with the probate court indicating that Prince did not leave a known will. This could have significant implications on a variety of matters. The administrator of Prince's estate will need to get valuations of his estate completed, including a valuation of his music catalog and the right to publicity for it.

Jackson estate entangled in tax battle

Florida residents might be surprised at the disparity between the IRS valuation of Michael Jackson's estate at the time of his death and the valuation claimed by representatives of his estate. Because of debts, legal entanglements, and other issues, Jackson's representatives suggest that he was worth only a little more than $2,000 at the time he died in 2009. Conversely, the IRS alleges that the celebrity's estate exceeds $434 million in value.

The matter is slated to go to trial in 2017 in Los Angeles. Ironically, Jackson's death led to huge earnings, including a documentary that earned more than $260 million. Additional revenues have come because of memorials, video games and a Cirque du Soleil show. However, representatives of the estate assert that these proceeds came after the star's death, which excludes them from his estate. There is speculation that the IRS will attempt to prove that Jackson's name and likeness held value at the time of his death, which could be a point of interest for other celebrities as they consider planning to minimize estate tax burdens for their heirs.

Things to consider when inheriting property

Florida estate planning is important so that property and other proceeds go to the intended beneficiaries with the least amount of trouble. For those who inherit property, certain considerations may be kept in mind.

When the owner dies with a valid will, the disposition of assets may have to enter probate before inheritances can be released to the beneficiaries. Speaking with an attorney might be a good idea in order to understand the process. If an executor under the will, an attorney may assist in instructing the executor about what to do and how the assets are passed to beneficiaries.

Managing estate taxes in Florida

Florida does not have an estate or inheritance tax, but wealthy residents of the Sunshine State may want to do some advance planning in order to reduce or eliminate their heirs' exposure to the federal estate tax. There are several ways that those who are concerned about losing some of their fortune to the authorities can reduce their overall burden. The federal estate tax exemption in 2016 is set at $5.45 million.

People can give all of their money to their U.S. citizen spouse without triggering any estate tax event. In addition, the unused portion of the tax exemption can be carried over to a surviving spouse, although an affirmative election must be made. Another way of reducing an estate is by making gifts during lifetime, as the federal gift tax laws allow gifts of up to $14,000 per recipient each year without incurring any gift tax.

Updating estate documents, the bypass trust

Some Florida residents might regard estate planning as a one-time thing that they don't have to think about again. However, there are multiple reasons that people may need to update their wills. Common reasons include major life changes like divorce or new members joining the family. Changes are also needed if a beneficiary predeceases the testator.

Many people name their spouses as heirs followed by children and grandchildren. However, testators could also choose to leave an estate to charity. The way one wants assets to be divided may change, which would require updating a will.

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