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Parents Should Know The ABCs Of Special Needs Trusts

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Parents Should Know The ABC's Of Special Needs Trusts
By Shelly Shwartz
Special needs trusts serve another important purpose, too, according to Minerva Vazquez, an attorney with Miami law firm Frye & Vazquez, who specializes in the area of special needs estate planning.

New retirement plan feature may impact estate planning

Advances in medicine have unfortunately been accompanied by rising costs of healthcare and medication. Consequently, any serious discussion about estate planning must include a projection of retirement needs. More than ever, the prospect of outliving savings and assets in retirement could become a reality.

Inheritance tax considerations should not be ignored

Many individuals overlook the possible consequences that can come along with an estate or inheritance tax because they too often assume such a tax will not apply in their circumstances. However, with real estate prices becoming higher there is always the possibility that such a tax and subsequent tax penalties could be assessed. It must be kept in mind that the inheritance tax threshold has not necessarily risen at the same rate as have real estate prices.

Creating a will? Don't try this on your own!

Estate planning is not something one should wish to try without assistance. When preparing estate planning documents, it's vital to make certain that the language actually carries out the intent of the person that owns the assets. There is simply too much for one person to take into account when beginning this process.

The 5 Biggest Estate Planning Blunders

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Leaving your IRA to your estate
Do not-repeat, do not-name your estate as your individual retirement account beneficiary or it will be subject to claims and creditors during probate, the legal process for settling your estate.

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.

Minimizing taxes when passing on estate to the spouse

The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 allows for the portability of an applicable exclusion amount between two spouses. In other words, the portability election allows for transference of an unused estate tax exclusion of a spouse that has died to go to the surviving spouse.

Carrying out the probate process can prove complex

In the event of the death of a family member, many financial considerations need to be made.  This can include notifying the Social Security Administration, contacting employers, locating information regarding life and health insurance policies, obtaining death certificates and making an inventory of assets.  However, one of the first actions that a family member should take is to locate the will of the deceased individual.

When it comes to estate taxation, not every state like Florida

The federal exemption for individuals concerning estate taxation is now $5.34 million and $10.68 million for couples.  However, there are still individuals living in certain states where the exemption rate is much lower than it is on the federal level.

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