Saturday , October 24 2020

Estate Planning

Estate PlanningEstate planning involves the process of accumulating, handling, conserving and distributing  your  assets  while  you  are living as well as making provisions for disposition of your assets upon death. There are a variety of tools available to manage your estate and prepare for a smooth distribution of your assets with minimal tax consequences. If you own anything, regardless of value, you have an estate and should have an estate plan. Health care planning should be an element of your estate planning. Everyone should have a plan that helps control how they are medically cared for should they become incapacitated. Many people are under the incorrect assumption that their spouse or adult children will automatically manage their assets should they become incapacitated. The truth is that in order for others to manage your finances, they must petition the court, in what can be a lengthy, stressful, and expensive process. If you want your family to be able to immediately take control of your assets, you need to properly designate a person or persons through proper legal documents. These rules also apply to your medical care. Legal documents help you establish a plan to appoint others to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment options should you lose the ability to decide for yourself.
Most people believe that estate planning is a one-time obligation. They implement a plan and then lock it away for the duration of their lifetime. Life is constantly changing, and your estate plan should change along with it. Your estate plan is a snapshot of you, your family, your assets, and the tax laws in effect at the time it was created. All of these things change over time and so should your estate plan. If you are moving to Florida and had estate planning documents prepared in the state where you previously lived, you should update these documents. Florida generally recognizes documents such as wills that were prepared and executed in other states; however, out-of-state documents can be subject to rules and taxes of the previous state. It is important to make sure these important documents are valid in the state where you reside. The worse-case scenario involves passing away without a valid will, known as dying intestate, with the state deciding how your assets are distributed. Florida intestacy laws control assets when a Florida resident does not have a properly drafted and enforceable will in place at the time of death. Often times, this distribution does not conform with the wishes of the decedent.
The purpose of estate planning is to lessen the burden on your family and loved ones by having a plan that conforms to your wishes and substantially or entirely avoids probate. Probate is the court-supervised, legal process that determines the validity of a will, settles all claims on the estate, calculates tax liabilities, and distributes the remaining assets to any legitimate heirs. A personal representative is appointed to handle the estate administration. In most cases in Florida, probate lasts six to eight months. It is not unusual for the probate courts to freeze assets for weeks or even months while trying to determine the proper disposition of the estate. While probate may be not be completely avoided in some cases, especially in large estates, there are ways to properly distribute your assets while living. Having a will does not avoid probate. The rule is generally stated as this: Avoidance of probate can only be assured by arranging your assets so that there is nothing in your name that does not automatically pass to someone else at your death.
An example of a valuable estate planning tool is a revocable living trust. This tool can enable an individual to avoid the probate process while saving money and time upon the individual’s death. As the name implies, revocable trusts may be modified and are fully revocable at the request of the trust creator, known as the grantor or settlor. A trust document is similar to a will and names a trustee after your death (this person is the successor if you elect to serve as initial trustee during your lifetime). The trustee is responsible for the management of the trust assets. A revocable trust avoids probate by effecting the transfer of assets during your lifetime to the trustee. At your death, all of your assets will have already been transferred into your trust (“funding the trust”) or otherwise titled as non-probate assets. On paper, you will not own anything at your death, even though you had the same rights of ownership throughout your lifetime. Living trusts are effective upon creation and will remain in force throughout your lifetime, in the event you become mentally incapacitated, and after your death. Beyond avoiding probate, this powerful estate planning tool keeps your estate plan private because it keeps your final wishes outside of Florida’s public probate court records.
Unfortunately, most people tend to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. It can be difficult to think about deciding who gets your assets when you are gone or who will manage your assets if you become disabled, but taking the proper steps in establishing an estate plan can give you peace of mind. A smart estate plan can ensure your wishes are carried out. An attentive planner is sensitive to the personal nature of estate planning and will address your unique needs. Many people fear estate planning because of all the documents and confusing terminology. The estate planning process is much more than preparation of documents; it involves setting and defining goals, gathering necessary information, and ultimately designing and implementing a customized estate plan that achieves customized results. Family Wealth Guardians helps our clients become comfortable with estate planning by explaining each step of the process in a manner that is easy to understand. Our company helps organize the necessary documents and create a plan that matches a client’s financial information. Many companies and firms stop their service when the documents are drafted and signed.
At Family Wealth Guardians, we offer personal service updates when your life changes and ensure that you are constantly prepared, organized, and protected from the dangers of estate planning.
We value personal connection and would prefer to speak with you directly. Please feel free to call us anytime.
Call us at: 352-443-1799
3300 S.W. 34th Avenue – Suite 124A, Ocala, FL 34474
Ryan King, Esq. – President & CEO
Ryan graduated from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. He completed the Florida Bar Exam and was duly admitted by the Supreme Court of Florida to the Florida Bar in 2013. Prior to joining Family Wealth Guardians, Ryan worked as an attorney and legal advisor serving clients with Accountants and Business Advisors, Inc. in Gainesville, FL where he assisted clients with a variety of legal issues. Using his experience in estate planning and corporate law, he continues to further his legal education in an effort to better serve the needs of all clients of Family Wealth Guardians.
Ryan completed his undergraduate work at the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and a minor in Business. While working on those degrees at Florida, Ryan was a member of the Florida men’s basketball program. He spent nearly five years working under Coach Billy Donovan and his staff as a team manager and graduate intern. His time with the Gators included two national championship rings from the 2006 and 2007 season to go along with a lifetime of experiences. Outside of work, Ryan remains passionate about sports and spending time with his family. He devotes much of his free time to playing golf and visiting different stadiums and venues to watch his favorite teams.
Tina Pratt – Accountant &
Office Manager
Tina recently completed her AA in Business Administration as well as an AS in Health Services Management, and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s in Health Services Administration at Santa Fe College. Tina Tina brings 25+ years of accounting and administration experience to the Family Wealth Guardians team. She particularly enjoys her time spent visiting with clients in their homes and making sure they remain informed about and secure with their personal finances.
Tina remains very active in her community by volunteering with the Florida Chapter of The ALS Association. Over the past year, she served as the volunteer walk coordinator for Ocala’s first Walk to Defeat ALS, the signature fund raising event for The ALS Association. She is hoping to develop another fundraising walk in Ocala in the near future, as well as one in The Villages. When not at work or volunteering, she spends a great amount of time with her three beautiful grandchildren.

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