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April 2014 Archives

Use of trusts for estate planning purposes

There are a number of reasons for Florida residents to use a trust for estate planning purposes. Tax savings are clearly a benefit. By placing assets into an irrevocable trust it is possible to remove these same assets from the estate so that one's heirs won't have to pick up the tab. Placed inside a trust, the assets can grow while the individual setting up the trust can create the terms of how the trust is to operate.

Experts note that taxes are a "drag" on investment returns

The best way to prevent financial assets from being removed from one's estate is to put into place various tax savings strategies.  One authority on financial planning stated that "most people don't think about how taxes affect their long-term portfolio."  Boosting after-tax investment returns is something that we can at least to some degree control.

Testator's reliance on legal form proves to be costly

One woman used what was called an "E-Z Legal Form" when creating her will in 2004.  However, since the form did not contain a residuary clause, a pair of nieces who were not mentioned in the will inherited property that the testator failed to list in the document.  The nieces were the daughters of a brother of the testator who had previously died.

The putting off of end-of-life decisions

While families often put estate planning matters off, the death of a loved one is almost never timely and it often catches family members unprepared. One sister had a 51-year-old brother who had access to the resources needed to put a plan into place. However, she was to learn that such preparations never took place only after her brother died in a motor-vehicle accident. Instead, the family had to make a number of complicated decisions that could have been unnecessary had plans been put into place.

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