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How the New Tax Law Impacts Estate Planning

Jan 31, 2019 - Probate by

A new law makes sweeping changes to how federal authorities calculate tax bills. The tweaks will likely impact how much you owe Uncle Sam, whether you’re a big business, solo entrepreneur or single family.

Anyone who wants to have some control over how their property and assets are distributed upon death may also want to consider tax law updates that could have estate planning implications. It’s vital to consult an experienced estate planning attorney to determine whether you need to update a current will or trust or draft a new estate planning roadmap.

Estate Tax Exemption Expanded

The biggest change in the new tax law is that it significantly increases the estate tax exemption. Anyone with an estate less than $11.2 million will not be subjected to federal taxes on it when the estate is transferred upon death to family, friends and others as directed by the person or courts, depending on the situation. That’s nearly double the exemption that was previously allowed under federal law.

The change has some people thinking about scrapping trusts and other legal arrangements used to avoid some tax obligations in estate planning, according to a recent Kiplinger report. But there are a number of reasons why a living trust may still be a good idea. That includes avoiding some of the hassle and complications that can come with the probate process.

How Living Trusts Work

Floridians can create a living trust by signing a legal agreement in which you transfer some or all of your assets to a trustee. The person transferring his or her assets can serve as trustee or can designate a bank or financial professional for the role. The agreement dictates how the property will be distributed when you die. It also allows you to access the assets and withdraw money at any time.

The key benefit—as opposed to a will—is that the assets in the trust can be distributed upon death without having to get a court to weigh in through the probate process. That process can be time consuming and complicated.

Contact the Miami Probate Lawyers at Hoffman & Hoffman P.A.

If you or a loved one is considering changing or drafting a will or trust agreement, it’s important to seek the counsel of a seasoned legal professional. An attorney guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you understand your rights and options every step of the way.

Hoffman & Hoffman is a South Florida estate planning law firm whose Miami probate lawyers help people manage their assets and decide how property will be distributed in the event of their death. We are pleased to represent clients throughout South Florida, including in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Coconut Grove. Contact us at 305-372-2877 to speak with an attorney.