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Asset Protection

Trust Distributions to Beneficiaries under a HEMS or Ascertainable Standard

January 13th, 2023

Posted in Asset Protection,Tax Law & IRS Defense,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

“HEMS” stands for “health, education, maintenance, and support” and is commonly referred to as an “ascertainable standard”. If there is a HEMS provision in a Trust, the money distributed can only be used for specific needs of the beneficiary related to health, education, living expenses, or other needs or support that a Trustee can ascertain. Some examples include health insurance, surgery, exercise equipment, prescriptions, tuition, career training, rent, mortgage payments, home repairs, taxes, legal fees, vacations, or other reasonable comforts.


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Understand the Risks of Using Beneficiary Designations

November 16th, 2022

Posted in Asset Protection,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Beneficiary designations for your financial assets are helpful in that assets can be transferred quickly to your heirs without waiting for probate of the Estate (and assuming you do not have a Trust). Although this can be a good option, don’t overuse it or use it blindly. Consider these risks before assuming your assets are protected:


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Understanding Death Taxes

February 14th, 2022

Posted in Asset Protection,Probate & Guardianship,Tax Law & IRS Defense,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Many people worry about filing or paying taxes to IRS or the federal government at death. The truth of the matter is that very few need to be concerned. According to IRS data, just 0.15% of decedents needed to file an estate tax return (Form 706) in 2019, and only 0.07% will pay any estate tax. That’s lower than the historical 1% to 2% share. Note there are some states that also have an estate or inheritance tax. Florida is not one of those states.


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Maybe You do Need a Trust – Here’s Why

December 1st, 2021

Posted in Asset Protection,Business & Corporate Law,Probate & Guardianship,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

People need an estate plan if they want to ensure that their intentions will be honored after death with respect to the distribution of their assets. If you have an estate plan in place, does it also include a trust (sometimes called a living trust or a revocable trust)? If your current estate plan only consists of a last will and testament, you may want to consider also creating a trust.


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Compensation & Fees for Personal Representatives, Trustees, and Attorneys in Florida Estates and Trusts

September 15th, 2021

Posted in Asset Protection,Probate & Guardianship,Tax Law & IRS Defense,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Under Florida law, the personal representative of an estate (sometimes also called an executor) and the trustee of a trust are entitled to compensation, as are the attorneys who represent the personal representative and trustee.

Compensation of Personal Representative The personal representative is entitled to a commission from the estate assets, which can be calculated using a percentage of the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned during administration. For a formal probate administration, the following table sets forth what amount is deemed to be reasonable compensation:


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Tenants By Entireties Planning for Married Couples

June 11th, 2021

Posted in Asset Protection,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

If you have assets in Florida, you need to know the best way to avoid exposure and keep them protected from potential creditors. Tenants by Entireties (or Tenancy by the Entireties or “TBE”) is a great option for creditor protection for married couples because it is relatively simple to setup or form. In other words, there is little legal work or expense. By a married couple holding property as Tenants by Entireties, a creditor of one spouse alone cannot levy or invade a jointly owned Tenants by Entireties asset.


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Guardianship for Your Minor Children can be Avoided

May 21st, 2021

Posted in Asset Protection,Probate & Guardianship,Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Florida law requires the establishment of a guardianship for the person or property of a minor under certain circumstances. 

Person: A guardian of the person of the minor may be required when the minor’s natural guardians are unavailable or unable to serve as the custodian of the child (i.e., due to death, disability, or incarceration, etc.) and no appropriate alternative exists.


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The IRS Collection Process

April 9th, 2021

Posted in Asset Protection,Tax Law & IRS Defense

If you do not pay in full when you file your taxes, you will receive a bill notice from the IRS. This bill begins the collection process, which continues until your account is satisfied or until the IRS may no longer legally collect the tax, for example if the collection period has expired. The first notice you receive will be a bill that explains the balance due and demands payment in full. It will include the amount of the tax, plus any accrued penalties and interest, which will continue to accrue.


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