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Survey & Changes in Law Highlight Why Working with an Estate Planning Attorney On an Ongoing Basis Is So Important


According to a new survey conducted by TD Wealth, in addition to increasing healthcare costs and life expectancy, a rise in gray divorces – or those after age 50 – is having a significant effect on estate planning. As a result, it is becoming more and more important to constantly and proactively review these plans with estate planning attorneys on an ongoing basis. The primary issue that comes up when it comes to divorcing after the age of 50 is retirement planning (in addition to power of attorney, social security benefits, and who bears responsibility for drafting the will).

The survey also found that the most common cause of family conflict today when it comes to estate planning involves failing to communicate about the estate plan with family members. Family conflict was also identified as the leading threat to estate planning for the second year in a row, although the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has also introduced tax reform as a serious issue because the law has had widespread effects on estates and trusts, as well as figuring out when to gift when exemptions or high and/or planning to minimize future capital gains taxes. This demonstrates just how important it is to work with someone who is able to assist you in not only building a stable plan, but working on this plan with your loved ones in the long run.

Living Trusts

As estate planning attorneys who regularly assist clients here in Florida, we often provide clients with suggestions for their estate plans that go beyond the basics – wills, trusts, etc. Living trusts in particular are one of these options.

Living trusts help avoid guardianships, whereby a judge appoints someone to manage your finances because you are deemed to no longer be able to do so. It also allows you to maintain more control and privacy. Unfortunately, wills and trusts in wills will not avoid court-appointed guardianships. These trusts also help protect your heirs from outside creditors and lawsuits (i.e. “trust protectors”) and are deemed more acceptable to banks, brokerages, and other financial custodians, which means less time, money, probate costs, and loss of control. Note, however, that while trusts also make great IRA beneficiaries, the new SECURE Act has completely changed trust planning for these types of funds for non-spouse beneficiaries. As a result, you should discuss this with your attorney before making any commitments.

Contact Our Florida Estate Planning Attorneys to Find Out More

Getting the right, updated estate plan that is particular for your circumstances – and making sure that it stays updated in order to accommodate the many changes in your life and in federal and state laws – is priceless. Contact our Sarasota wills & probate attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law to schedule a consultation and find out more about how our experienced estate planning services can be helpful to you.