We all know about the events that led to Britney Spears’ hospitalization in 2008 and the subsequent loss of the custody of her sons. Her emotional issues prompted her father to file for conservatorship, which he still has, in order to prevent her from making any more bad decisions. In the years that followed, Britney seems to be doing well and getting the treatment she needs. It’s for this reason that conservatorships exist: to protect people who are affected by incapacity and unable to make decisions for their financial, mental or physical health.
The death of Soprano star James Gandolfini saddened the entire nation last month, as well as his family and close friends. Reportedly, the actor left behind an estate worth about $70 million, and he was generous enough to include several beneficiaries in his will. However, estate experts say that the way the will was drafted may cause some of his heirs to lose a great deal of their shares in estate taxes. Florida residents may wish to reconsider their estate planning and take several precautions, such as naming beneficiaries in special trusts, to protect the inheritances from being depleted by taxes.
Estate planning not only involves the distribution of assets, but can also mean figuring out what will happen to the many things you've accumulated throughout the years and think your loved ones will want to remember you by after you're gone. Even the closest family can come to disagreements over how to handle what is left in the home after their parents pass away. The death of a loved one is a highly emotional time, and the upheaval can leave family members fighting, instead of coming together in love and support as they should.
For many years, same-sex couples have had a difficult time managing joint accounts and taking care of estate tax and other tax issues. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is expected to make it easier for married same-sex couples in Florida and around the country to handle their tax needs, as well as take advantage of many other estate planning options.
The unfortunate truth of estate planning is that sometimes it can get nasty. If wills aren’t drawn out clearly, those who feel entitled to a share of the inheritance can start a dispute that could tie the estate up in probate for years. Florida residents wanting to spare their heirs this headache, as well as make sure their wishes are respected, have other options that could keep this worst case scenario from happening.