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January 2013 Archives

Family shocked to learn deceased loved one had 2 wills

Dealing with the grief and sadness associated with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but when there are significant problems settling a Lee County estate, the grief can be monumental. This is why it is a good idea to discuss your estate planning with close family members so that they know your wishes and will not be shocked when your will is read.

Social Security - Did You Know?

A spouse or a former spouse that was married for more than ten (10) years may choose to collect the larger of their own Social Security Benefits or fifty percent (50%) of their spouse's benefits or former spouse's benefits. Also, upon the death of your spouse, your benefits would increase to seventy-five percent (75%) of your spouse's benefits.

Reducing Personal Liability using a Corporation or a Limited Liability Company

Operating a business as a sole proprietor or as a general partnership is generally not a good practice for most businesses. Using a corporation (Inc.) or a company (LLC) provides personal liability protection to the owners if they follow certain procedures that include:

Asset Protection - Florida Homestead

There are asset protection features in Florida that are not available in many states. This month we will discuss your homestead. Your home is truly your castle in Florida and your homestead is protected from all third party creditors under Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution which exempts your homestead property from levy and execution by judgment creditors. This protection applies to traditional homes, Condominiums, manufactured homes, mobile homes and even boats if used as the person's primary residence. The Constitution defines homestead as one's principal place of residence up to one-half acre within a municipality and up to 160 contiguous acres in any county in Florida. Also, upon the death of the owner, the protection is extended to beneficiaries who are related by blood to the decedent.

Is 2013 the time to consider a trust?

When Congress recently enacted changes to the estate tax, many Lee County residents jumped for joy upon learning that they could safeguard up to $5.25 million ($10.5 million for couples) from estate taxes. That 35 percent hike over last year's exemption was for many higher than had been expected.

Woman could face charges after draining man's estate of millions

When many people in Fort Myers approach the idea of estate planning, they often think about what will happen to their assets after their death. What they don't always consider, however, is how their assets might be sapped before their death if they don't entrust the right people to handle their affairs.

Estate tax changes: Catching up on the 'fiscal cliff' deal

The headlines were filled in the first days of 2013 with news of the deal between Democrats and Republicans to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Part of the deal, as you undoubtedly know, was an agreement that estate taxes are to rise.