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Articles Tagged with Miami estate planning attorney

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq. and Jay R. Beskin, Esq.

Last year the Federal annual gift tax exclusion was $15,000 and the amount remains the same for 2019.  This means you can walk down the street and give out $15,000 to every person you meet and not have to file a gift tax return.   If you are married, husband and wife can combine their annual exclusions and give $30,000 to each child or grandchild.  As long as your gifts are below the annual exclusion amount, they are not counted against the lifetime gift exemption which is currently $11.4 million per person (Note: Be careful this is temporary and expected to drop to $5.6 million in 2026).

Note:  Be very careful about making outright gifts to children.  It is far safer to use a “Gifting Trust” so that the money is wisely used for the child’s college education or other needs – and so that the child does not blow it when he  turns 18 or his creditors grab it when he is in his 20’s.

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold

Our office handles probate estates for many out of state residents through our Florida Counsel services. In handling the estates there are three common problems we see with Non-Florida Wills that can easily be avoided by consulting with a Miami Estate Planning attorney. If you have a non-Florida resident who owns Florida real estate an ancillary administration may be required upon their passing.  You should consider these problems when drafting their Will:

  • Naming an out of State Attorney as Personal Representative or Executor.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Probate Attorney

Florida’s 30% elective share law was completely rewritten in 2001 because the old law could be easily circumvented by placing assets in a revocable trust or using non-probate transfers (e.g. life insurance, IRAs etc.)  In an effort to curtail such tactics, the legislature overhauled the statute and broadened the share.  The result is an expansive elective share that sweeps into the decedent’s “elective estate” many non-probate assets.  See F.S. §732.201 —§732.2155.

What Is Included?  Florida’s  elective share statute retains the 30% share under prior law, but introduces the concept of the “elective estate” (sometimes referred to as “augmented estate”)  that consists of the following property interests under F.S. §732.2035:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Note: This 10 Point Checklist is for those persons who have interests in one or more Florida entities, such as a corporation,  limited liability company (LLC),  or  limited Partnership (LP).

1.     Annual Fees.   In January the State of Florida will send notices via email reminding you that annual fees for each corporate entity are due no later than May 1.   Do not wait to get an email notice from the state, as your fees are due regardless of whether you get a notice.   Remember:   The deadline to pay these fees is May 1 without penalty.

By Phil Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Hard to believe we are in mid-Fall and 2016 is coming to a close.   Now may be a good time to sit down with a Miami trust attorney and review your estate plan.  One of the biggest problems we see with individual estate plans is failure to keep the plan updated to ensure that it continues to meet the changing needs of your dynamic family. Here is a short checklist:

  1. Marriage/Divorce.Has there been a marriage, divorce, or separation of anyone named in your will or trust – such as your adult children or grandchildren?  Most persons want to ensure that their hard earned money goes to their children – or grandchildren –  not to any spouses.

Checklist for Amending your revocable trust

Checklist for Amending your revocable trust

Note: Your revocable living trust is designed to be as dynamic as your family.  It serves as the master set of instructions to care for you and your family.  Therefore, when there are big changes in your family, you may need an experienced Miami trust attorney to amend your revocable trust.

______#1. Marriage/Divorce.  Has there been a marriage, divorce, or separation of anyone named in your will or trust?  If there has been a marriage of an adult child (without a prenuptial agreement) you may need to amend your revocable trust to make sure monies designated for this adult child are protected.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq. and Jay R. Beskin, Esq.

2016 Federal Estate Tax Exemption:  $5.45 Million

For 2016 the federal estate and gift tax exemption is now $5.45 million – up from $5.43 million in 2015.  This means a single U.S. citizen can leave $5.45 million to their family members and friends and pay no estate tax if they die in Florida since Florida does not have an estate tax.  (As some commentators have stated, Florida is a great place to die.  For states where you don’t want to die see Where Not To Die)

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney

You are named the personal representative (or executor in other states) and a loved one or family member has just died.   No doubt these are difficult times, but thankfully there are many resources for help.  The following is a checklist of initial important tasks to help guide you after the funeral or memorial service.

Note:   You are not required to accept the Personal Representative duties.  Before you can legally act on behalf of the estate you will likely need to secure Letters of Administration issued by a Florida probate court that officially designate you as the legal authority in charge of the estate.    Therefore, you should not take action as Personal Representative before you know your duties and what potential claims you may face from estate beneficiaries and creditors.  Consult a Miami probate attorney and see our 10 Basic Legal Rights for Beneficiaries Under a Florida Will.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

You are named the successor trustee and the trustmaker has just died. No doubt these are difficult times, but thankfully there are many resources to help. The following is a checklist of initial important tasks to help guide you after the funeral or memorial service.

Note: You are not required to accept the trustee duties. However, if you begin to act as successor trustee you will likely be held responsible for all acts as the trustee to the beneficiaries and the IRS. Therefore, do not begin to take any actions as Trustee before you know what your duties are. Consult a Miami trust attorney and see our 12 Point Summary of Florida Successor Trustee Duties.

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