Are you aware of how important it is to create a Florida estate plan for yourself and your family? You want to protect yourself, what you love most, your business, and ensure the legacy you are creating will survive your passing. In our firm, we understand the importance of your goals and will work with you to create a plan that will work with you for your unique situation. 

But what do you plan for when preparing your taxes and planning your estate? With our planning process, part of it is to not only look at who our clients want to inherit from them and who should make their decisions in a moment of crisis, but what implications their planning can have or not have. This involves a very candid look at their financial picture, including their tax structure.  

Does the phrase “there is nothing certain in life but death and taxes” sound familiar?  It is one of the idioms everyone hears over and over again. In fact, what most people do not realize is that taxes play an important role in their Florida estate plan. Any decisions they make now can have both a lifetime and deathtime impact on their estate, which is critical to plan for.  We would like to share a few of the important points we share with our clients.

  1. Importance of planning to avoid federal estate taxation. Did you know that one of the benefits of living in Florida is that there are no state death taxes? However, this is not the case on the federal level. All Americans, with a taxable estate high enough in value, may face estate taxation. Through your comprehensive Florida estate planning, our goal is to minimize the risk that your estate will be taxed at your death. This is completed by a careful consideration of factors including, but not limited to, your family structure, what assets comprise your taxable estate, the structure and nature of those assets, and the strategies available to you.
  2. Importance of carefully making lifetime gifts. Did you realize that your estate planning and donative intent can impact your annual taxes as well? It can. This occurs through the gift tax. While you can give your loved ones the annual exclusion amount each year, which is $17,000 per person this year according to the IRS, you can make larger gifts each year and still avoid lifetime taxation. To engage in an advanced strategy like this, we highly recommend you meet with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to learn more about the pros and cons of this type of strategy as well as how it may benefit your estate down the line.
  3. Importance of utilizing an estate planning strategy that incorporates the Generation Skipping Tax (GST). Did you know that there are careful rules to plan around when it comes to using the GST as a part of your estate planning? This comes into play when you leave to a family member where there is a thirty-seven and a half year age difference or more. While there can be significant benefits to this type of planning and reasons to complete it, this should not be undertaken without the advice of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.
  4. Importance of the impact of unprotected property and the probate estate. It is critical that you plan to not leave your assets unprotected. Be aware that anything you own at the time of your death that does not have a co-owner or beneficiary, could be subject to the probate process. The probate process is the legal court process that allows solely owner property to pass to the intended beneficiaries. Unfortunately, as a result of the probate process, this is after creditors have the opportunity to file their claims against your estate. Therefore, when you are planning for your estate and your taxes, it is crucial that you work with your estate planning attorney to create the right trust agreement for you. It is a trust agreement, and not a last will and testament, that can help you avoid the probate process.

At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services.  By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.