NATIONAL ESTATE PLANNING AWARENESS WEEK
ABOUT THIS WEEK
Established in 2008, this week aims to shed light on a critical factor to financial health that more than half of Americans overlook.
Without an estate plan, you leave your family vulnerable to legal challenges and court procedures like probate.
Moreover, without your directives, state laws will decide what happens to your assets, which may not align with your wishes.
We understand that everyone’s needs are different. Estate Planning should not be a one-size-fits-all affair.
Our Florida Board-Certified attorneys are experts in crafting customized plans, whether you require a simple will or a more intricate trust and tax arrangement.
Schedule a strategy session today to see how Sheppard Law Firm can create a plan that safeguards your assets for your beneficiaries when they need it most.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My northern attorney told me my estate plan is just fine and needs a minor update. Is my plan still valid?
Estate planning documents that are properly signed in accordance with your former state of residence remain valid, although when you move to Florida it’s always wise to update your plan to Florida law. Each state’s laws are different, so that in and of itself warrants a review. If you own a Florida homestead, or if your estate plan hasn’t been reviewed in several years, then those are also two reasons to sit down with us to go over your plan.
I spend half a year up north and the other half here in Florida. Is it advantageous for me to become a Florida resident?
Usually the answer is, “Yes.” Florida does not have a personal state income tax, an estate tax, gift tax, or inheritance tax. For those who have investment and retirement income, this could mean significant annual tax savings. You also save on property taxes through the Florida homestead exemptions, and the annual assessment increases to your primary residence are capped under the “Save Our Homes” property Tax Cap.
Why would owning Florida homestead warrant a review?
Florida has very strict descent and devise rules governing to whom you may bequeath the homestead. If you are married, for example, and fail to bequeath the homestead outright to your spouse, you may have an “invalid devise.” This frequently occurs when the home is owned in a trust that creates credit shelter/marital trust provisions. This is a common problem that left unaddressed could become a costly headache for you and your loved ones.
I don’t like thinking about my estate plan. Can’t I just keep what I have or just update a simple will?
Nobody enjoys thinking about what needs to happen if they become disabled or die. Many who have previously planned their estates find it confusing, and don’t like the feeling of being told what to do. That’s not what happens when you work with us. The Family Estate & Legacy Program® 7-step process begins with your goals and concerns, resulting in a plan that will give you and your loved ones’ comfort and clarity. Our Florida Bar Board Certified specialists will help you design an estate planning strategy that feels right for you and your family, whether ultimately, it’s a simple will or something more substantial.
I already have a revocable trust but never titled any of my assets into it. What now?
Your trust is ineffective if it isn’t properly funded. We see this all the time during our initial client meetings. When we update your estate plan, we won’t hand you an instruction sheet and expect you to fully and properly fund your trusts. We do it for you by working with your financial firms to ensure that your accounts fit “hand in glove” with your estate plan. You are involved in every step of that process, but we do all the heavy lifting.