Stewart Ogilby, Independent Advisor
Stewart Ogilby
All our trusts in Florida are prepared by an attorney who specializes in estate planning.
toll-free (800) 998-2523
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Florida Living Trust Probate Trust Overview The Estate Plan TM Henry W. Abts III

Estate Planning

ESTATE PLANNING is the term used to describe methods used to effectively accumulate and protect property, money, investments, assets (you've got the idea) - during one's lifetime and how such an "estate" can be distributed efficiently and as predetermined by mortals before departing this world.

Why even think about this?

Well, after a lifetime of working and planning responsibly, paying your "fair share" of state, local and federal income taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, and all sorts of other taxes, and still managing to save and hang onto more than a specified amount for yourself and your family, the government says, "We require more taxes". Anger doesn't solve the problem, although it may be understandable. Just to pass your estate on to your children and other heirs, still more taxes may be taken from the estate you own, reducing the proceeds to your heirs, creating a tax situation for them (remember, you aren't here anymore). The tax is due and payable IN CASH within nine months after death. Homes, land and farms that may have been a family's for generations are liquidated (sold). Viable businesses are sold or dismantled to come up with the cash, if necessary. "A study by the Estate Research Institute . . . indicates that 10 percent to 70 percent of a deceased person's assets will be siphoned off by probate fees, federal estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, and other costs!"*

How can we help you?

Even if you do not have enough assets to trigger federal estate taxes, one of the biggest advantages of a Living Trust is that it can be used to avoid probate, frequently a longer and more costly process than some persons would have you believe. Also, when you have drafted a "loving will", your estate will generally go through probate (too often an agonizing experience for your family). If a lawyer prepares a "Testamentary Trust" for you, make certain that he makes it clear to you that the trust is funded only AFTER your estate has been probated. Later, anyone can learn the amount of assets and property you left and to whom. This public information can be used to target your heirs for anything from legitimate charitable donation requests to questionable investment schemes. Even when your assets are held in joint tenancy, your estate will go through probate upon the death of the survivor if assets are to be retitled. If your attorney or CPA tells you that your estate (in the absence of a living trust) will not have to go through probate or gives you a specific probate cost, ask him or her to put the statement in writing.

As a result of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the federal estate applicable exclusion amount (the amount that is exempt from tax) will gradually increase and the top tax rate will gradually decrease in the coming years. Consider the current and future value of your retirement plans, your home, any life insurance you might own, and any other savings or investments you’ve accumulated.

Passing assets and property through an appropriately designed Living Trust and related documents is a perfectly legal method for the purpose of helping protect your family’s privacy, simplifying the process of estate settlement and increasing the inheritance by eliminating probate costs, high attorney fees and certain taxes.

No one really wants estate taxes and probate costs to reduce the assets they leave to their heirs. By using a properly structured trust, you ought to be able to exercise greater control over the distribution of your assets. We work with you and specific specializing attorneys to devise the strategy for each individual estate. In addition, we strive to implement a method of paying future estate taxes with just pennies on the dollar.

Where to begin:

Effective estate planning is a job for specialists who know how to structure Living Trusts and related documents to do the job properly, including an attorney who is up to date on current estate and tax laws, both federal as well as those of the state in which you legally reside.

If you own real-estate or other property of value, have income from investments, own one or more CD's, take minute or two to total up the present value of everything you own. Then think about the rule of 72 to estimate what this figure may become in only a few years. Determine which assets are not subject to probate. Is the remainder worth more than your state's probate limit? The limit is $20,000 in Florida, for example. Consider some of the things that might affect your personal life over the coming years.

We strongly recommend       by Henry W. Abts III
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If you reside in Florida at least several months of the year and want to have an Estate Plan Revocable Living Trust prepared by a top-notch Florida estate-planning attorney, together with my help, please phone or email me. Include your name, postal mailing-address and telephone number(s). Of course, you are under no obligation by virtue of our discussion.

Stewart Ogilby
Independent Advisor — The Estate PlanTM
All our Florida trusts are prepared by an attorney who specializes in estate planing.
Referrals nation-wide

Toll-free     1-800-998-2523

Florida Living Trust Probate Trust Overview The Estate Plan TM Henry W. Abts III

This material is not intended to be legal advice and should not be considered to be legal advice. It does not constitute the recommendation of any legal document for any specific client. It is educational material summarized from books that are widely available in public libraries and in books and other publications that are sold in every state through retail outlets.