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Navigating around costly estate tax issues

Most working adults are familiar with standard tax procedures, but fewer individuals have experience in dealing with matters like the estate of a loved one who has recently passed. On the same note, many families do not fully plan for the care and distribution of their assets in the case of death. Fortunately, there are several estate planning options for Floridians and people around the country to protect their wealth from excessive taxation so that last wishes are fulfilled and loved ones are accounted for.

There are several factors that should be considered when planning for the future of one's estate. The guidance and support of a qualified estate planning attorney can help evaluate factors such as your taxable estate and weigh the potential pros and cons of investing in a credit shelter trust versus distributing your wealth in the form of gifts, for example. Another possibility may be to establish a spousal lifetime access trust, whereby someone may pass over a portion of their wealth to their partner before they pass.

While Florida does not have state inheritance or estate tax laws on the books, many other states do. And while the federal estate tax threshold has been increased, it still may affect Florida families as well.

It can take a lifetime to build an estate and legacy to support one's family and loved ones. By planning ahead and taking the necessary steps now to preserve your assets at the time of passing, you may help to guarantee more of your wealth lives on.

Source: Forbes, "Four Ways To Beat State Death Taxes," Ashlea Ebeling, Jan. 28, 2013

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