As a Jacksonville, Florida Estate Planning Attorney, I work regularly with life insurance agents as part of the estate planning team. Life insurance is helpful in many estate planning situations. Some examples are:
As a Jacksonville, Florida Probate Attorney, I understand the probate process and why many people seek to avoid it. Probate is the legal process used when the court has to get involved to help transfer assets after someone has died. There are several legal rules and procedures set up to make sure that the transfers are done properly and that the family is aware of what is being done.
As a Jacksonville, Florida Probate Lawyer, I have been involved in a probate dispute among six siblings. This probate litigation is located in Duval County, Florida. A mother died and left her estate to be divided among her six children. The tangible personal property was to be divided equally among the six children. However, the mother specifically stated that one of the children could continue to live in her home, but that the living arrangements would be subject to an agreement among all of her children. This has made for quite a probate dispute.
As a Jacksonville, Florida Probate Attorney, I recently was involved in a Duval County, Florida probate case where a mother of 9 children died without leaving a will. The mother owned two homes at the time of her death. Under Florida’s law of intestate succession, each child would be entitled to obtain a 1/9 interest in each property. Because one of the properties was her homestead, the interests in the homestead descended on the date of death. One of the children is in jail and another is a drug addict.
As a Jacksonville, Florida Probate Lawyer, I see many examples of how poor planning results in increased probate costs. Recently, a client had to open a St. Johns County, Florida probate case so that the decedent’s 1% interest in a parcel of New York real property could be transferred. Even though we utilized the least costly probate procedure known as “summary administration,” the probate costs still were three (3) times greater than the value of the property being transferred to the probate estate.
By now you probably all have heard about the “deal” reached between the President and Republican Congressional Leaders concerning taxes, including the estate tax. No language on the estate or gift tax actually appeared in the document released by the White House, but it has been widely reported that it includes an estate tax provision for 2011 and 2012 that has a top rate of 35% and an exemption of $5 million per individual. This agreement appears to draw on the Lincoln-Kyl estate tax proposal introduced earlier in the Senate, which also proposed to top 35% rate and $5 million exemption, but further details are unavailable. It is also unclear how or if the estates of those who died in 2010 would be affected by this agreement.