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October 2013 Archives

Beneficiary designations

Florida residents often are careful with their estate plans in order to ensure that their loved ones are provided for upon death. However, one mistake that many individuals make is to forget to update beneficiaries in an appropriate manner, leaving their assets to go to other individuals who were not the intended beneficiaries.

Distributions from inherited IRAs

A Florida resident who is the non-spouse beneficiary of an IRA should be aware of special federal income tax rules and regulations concerning distributions that apply to these types of accounts. Non-spouse beneficiaries may not treat the IRA as their own, nor can it be rolled over into their own retirement accounts. There are a few options for taking distributions from an inherited IRA.

Why draw up a will

Florida residents of all ages should be sure that they have a will in place. While many people assume that creating a will or dealing with estate planning is something that will need to be dealt with when they are older, both are actually essential to ensuring that someone's property is handled appropriately once they pass on. Since no one knows when this will occur, it is a good idea for these documents to be in place well ahead of time.

Bypass trusts as an estate planning tool

Estate planners in Florida and elsewhere have long used bypass trusts as an effective estate planning tool for married couples with children. This vehicle contemplates the transfer of a couple's assets to such a trust upon the death of the first spouse, leaving the remaining assets outright to the survivor. After the death of the surviving spouse the trust's assets would pass directly to the children, bypassing the survivor's estate and saving estate taxes.

Estate and gift tax changes

Florida residents may be interested in learning that several changes to federal estate and gift tax laws go into effect starting in 2014. Some of these changes will allow more money to be passed on to family members and others before federal taxes are imposed.

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