In a world getting more globalized, people from Florida are increasingly investing in foreign assets, such as large olive groves in Turkey, mansions in Europe and yachts on the Seine. Those investors have to know how they should structure the ownership of their assets in order to optimize estate and tax planning.
The many variables and options in establishing an estate plan can be confusing, and careful planning is needed to ensure that the ultimate result is the one desired. The primary basis for most Florida residents' estate plans is to achieve a balance between ensuring that their spouse is taken care of and leaving some provisions for their children as well. When there is only one marriage, finding that balance can be straightforward, but when a second marriage and a new family are part of the mix, it is particularly important to review and update the plan.
The start of a new year is a great time to consider creating an estate plan. This instrument can benefit anyone over the age of 18 who lives in Florida or any other state. The most important part of an estate plan is the last will and testament. It will help a person gain greater control over who receives assets after he or she passes on.
Many Florida residents who contemplate estate planning fall into one of two broad categories. While some have a variety of different assets and don't know where to start, others feel that they have very few and don't think an estate plan is worth the trouble. The reality is that everyone can benefit from having a plan in place. And while distributing one's accumulated assets to beneficiaries according to one's wishes is a primary goal, there are other benefits a well-crafted estate plan can provide.
People in Florida thinking about the future may create a will in order to pass their belongings forward to the next generation. However, creating a will is only a part of making a complete estate plan. As baby boomers begin to age, they may put more attention to the question of how they can plan for the years to come, including their own retirement as well as providing for their loved ones after they are gone. While 42 percent of baby boomers still lack any type of estate plan or even a basic will, many of those who have done some planning have not reviewed their wills in years. As a result, they may have out-of-date documents that do not reflect current laws or their close relationships.
When Florida residents think about the future, they may assume that everything will be taken care of if they have a will or estate plan. However, it can be important to regularly review estate documents in order to ensure that they reflect legal and personal developments that could affect distribution. In general, estate plans that are three or more years old should be reviewed to determine if changes are necessary. However, personal events like marriage, divorce or the birth of a child can also spark a review.
People in Florida thinking about the future may want to create powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a document that gives another person the right to act on behalf of the creator or principal on certain matters. In some cases, powers of attorney are effective immediately, and in other cases, they become effective when the principal is incapacitated. For example, healthcare powers of attorney assign another person the right to make medical decisions for the principal in case he or she is incapacitated or unable to make decisions. Financial powers of attorney could transfer the right to manage investments, bank accounts and other financial matters.
Many estate owners in Florida choose to leave property to their loved ones through a will or a trust. While these are effective ways to pass on assets, there are several common estate planning mistakes that individuals should avoid.
Superhero co-creator Stan Lee has many fans in Florida. The 95-year-old Lee, who was the creator behind Spider-Man and the former chairman of Marvel Comics, passed away in November 2018. However, like a number of celebrities who left behind significant estates, his financial planning left much to be desired. If he does not have a will, there could be many challenges in probate court. Other celebrity estates, including those of Prince and Aretha Franklin, face ongoing disputes between heirs.
In the course of preparing their estate plans, some Florida residents may wonder how to deal with assets that may be more difficult to properly evaluate or divide between multiple beneficiaries. While assets like bank accounts or investment funds are easy to divide, some items may have emotional resonance as well as financial value. By thinking ahead about how to deal with specific assets, people can help to avoid family strife before it takes place and protect the assets that they want to pass on to their family.