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What to know about estate planning before an election

Politics can have an impact on the type of estate planning techniques that individuals in Florida and elsewhere use. However, individuals are urged to not let potential changes to estate tax laws completely dictate their decision-making process. For instance, it may not be a good idea to wait until after the 2020 election to see what a new president could do to gift and estate tax exemption limits. Both the gift and estate tax exemptions are currently set at $11.4 million.

Instead, it may be best to create a domestic asset protection trust, or DAPT, today to meet key estate planning goals. This type of trust may be ideal for those who aren't married as it allows them to take assets out of their estate and protect them from creditors. At the same time, it could be possible to be a beneficiary of such a trust. Individuals may also customize a standard grantor trust to better meet their needs.

Those who create grantor trusts could include provisions allowing trustees to reimburse them for any income taxes paid. It may be possible to create language that allows loans to be made from a trust that an individual made gifts to. This would allow a person to retain access to assets that are technically being held outside of his or her control.

There may be many benefits to using trusts as part of an overall estate plan. For example, they help protect assets from being seized by creditors or being taken in a divorce. Trusts may also allow individuals to reduce their estate tax liability because assets are generally considered to be held outside of a person's estate. An attorney may talk more about how a trust could help a person accomplish his or her estate planning goals.

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