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Estate Planning FAQ

Estate Planning for Pembroke Pine Residents

Most of us will spend a majority of our lives accumulating wealth and providing financial stability for our families. At a certain point, estate planning will become an important issue in the preservation of your wealth for yourself, your family and other heirs, and for future generations. Estate planning provides you with the comfort of knowing your wealth will be on passed to your intended beneficiaries per your wishes.

Speaking with an estate planning attorney should be the first step that you take if you are ready to get your affairs in order. My firm, the Law Office of Steven Friedman, has been assisting clients with estate planning for over 38 years.

The following answers to frequently asked estate planning questions may assist you in your process:

Why do I need estate planning?

Estate planning provides those who have accumulated wealth over their lifetime with an effective plan for their assets, for the benefit of the named heirs. It also ensures that the wealth is not overly taxed by government, in the probate process, and that the largest amount possible passes to your beneficiaries.

Do I need a living trust, or can I simply have a will?

A will describes how you want your assets distributed when you pass away. The distribution of assets is governed by a legal process called probate. Once your will enters probate, there is a waiting period while the will is validated. The probate process can be time consuming and costly, particularly in larger estates. A Living Trust allows some of your assets to bypass probate as your property is technically owned by the trust. Your trustee will distribute your assets exactly as you intended. Depending on your personal situation, you may be far better off with a living Trust.

Is a living trust subject to income taxes?

Living trusts are still subject to income tax, however, one's family can avoid probate, and federal estate taxes by use of a properly drawn Trust. No additional income tax will be incurred through a Living Trust.

What types of trusts could be beneficial with regard to the protection
of wealth?

There are a range of trusts that could be established in an effort to preserve more of an estate. Advanced estate planning could include the establishment of a limited family partnership, a generation-skipping trust, a charitable trust, and others. The first step is to understand your goals, the ages, health and needs of your loved ones, and build an estate plan that protects the maximum possible amount of your estate, under current state and federal law. If your estate plan was established years in the past, you should have it reviewed and updated, to take advantage of current opportunities.

Contact my firm today if you have questions about establishing an estate plan.

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