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Naples Estate Planning Lawyer > Naples Estate Planning

Naples Estate Planning Lawyer

You can’t take it with you, but you can decide where it goes. Estate Planning is the process of managing and transferring your property to the people and causes you care about with the least cost and stress to your family. With the right kind of planning, you’ll control the distribution of your assets while minimizing or avoiding Probate, making the most of tax advantages and savings, and reducing or eliminating any negative tax consequences commonly associated with the transfer of wealth.

Your financial situation, your present and future needs, and your wishes for the future are unique to you. Your Estate Plan should be unique, as well. In Naples and southwest Florida, Nici Law Firm, P.L., conducts a comprehensive review of your circumstances and desires to create a personalized Estate Plan tailored to your specific objectives and needs.

What’s in an estate plan?

The exact makeup of an Estate Plan depends upon your particular needs and goals. At the very least, however, expect your estate plan to contain the following:

Will – Every Estate Plan should include a Will to name a Personal Representative for the estate, appoint a Guardian for minor children, make gifts of specific items, and ensure the entire estate is accounted for and distributed appropriately.

Trusts – One or more Trusts can be employed to transfer property in a way that avoids Probate, takes advantage of tax savings, and avoids the Estate & Gift Tax. You may only need a simple Revocable Living Trust, or your estate and beneficiaries may benefit from a Special Needs Trust, Charitable Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and more exotic Trusts for Tax Planning.

Advance Directives and Powers of Attorney – The flip side of planning to distribute your estate after you are gone is working to ensure your estate is adequately preserved and protected during your lifetime. Advance Directives and Powers of Attorney can see you through any periods of incapacity by making sure medical, financial and legal decisions are made for you by people whom you know and trust to make the right choices in your best interests.

Get expert help in your Florida estate planning from a Naples Estate Planning Specialist

Naples estate planning lawyer James R. Nici is board-certified by The Florida Bar as a Specialist in Wills, Trusts, and Estates. At Nici Law Firm, P.L., we’ll create a comprehensive Estate Plan that goes above and beyond the basics to meet your unique needs. We pay special attention to devise a Creditor-Protected Inheritance that doesn’t just protect your assets while you own them but protects the gifts you make as well. We’re also well-versed in Estate Planning for Blended Families and the special issues to address.

Count on Nici Law Firm, P.L., to provide a comprehensive review of your needs, including:

  • Tax planning for married couples
  • Planning for your children’s inheritance
  • Reducing your estate through lifetime gifts
  • Selecting personal representatives, trustees and guardians
  • IRA planning
  • Employee benefits
  • Generation-skipping tax planning
  • Marital agreements

Florida Estate Planning FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently as we help individuals and families in and around Naples with estate planning, probate, tax planning and more. If you have more questions or any estate planning needs, call the Nici Law Firm, P.L., at 239-449-6150 for a complimentary consultation.

What is a Family Limited Partnership, and what is it used for?

A family limited partnership (FLP) is a business entity that can be used to transfer ownership of assets to children and grandchildren while staying in control of those assets and protecting them from divorce, death or financial troubles that may beset a member of the family. In a typical situation, the grandparents serve as general partners, and other family members act as limited partners. The general partners may own as little as one percent of the partnership, although they may start out with more and gift shares over time. As general partners, the grandparents control the investment and management of assets. Ultimately, ownership of the assets passes to the limited partners without implicating probate or estate and gift taxes. FLPs also offer income tax benefits and creditor-protected inheritances. FLPs can be a strategic and beneficial aspect of generation-skipping transfer tax planning, as well.

What is the purpose of a Private Family Foundation?

A private family foundation is one way to effectuate charitable giving while maximizing tax advantages to the donors. Considering the costs required to set up a foundation, along with annual reporting costs, families, in general, should be contemplating an initial endowment of at least $500,000 for a private family foundation to be a smart giving option, depending on further annual giving or gifts by others.

A private family foundation can be established for any recognized charitable purpose. The foundation can be created as a not-for-profit corporation or as a charitable trust. Trusts are generally easier to establish, but there are good reasons to do a corporation too. Foundations must make timely distributions as required, usually around five percent of the fair market value of the foundation’s assets.

Other forms may be better for your purposes than a Private Family Foundation, such as a Private Operating Foundation, Supporting Organization, or a Donor-Advised Fund with a local Community Foundation. Find an estate planning specialist who has a taxation background to figure out the best structure in your particular circumstances.

How do I transfer property into my revocable living trust?

Funding a revocable living trust during your lifetime is a great way to avoid or minimize probate for your estate while managing and controlling the assets you want to fund the trust with. To fund the trust, you’ll need to transfer title in the property to the trust. Every bank, broker or financial institution that handles trusts will have its own way of doing this. You can start by calling the bank and asking about their process, but you may need to have your estate planning attorney help in this process, as not every bank has someone on board who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area.

Some of the items you’ll need to have on hand include the formal legal name of the trust, its tax ID number, signature authority, and a copy of the trust. Generally speaking, you can transfer a wide variety of financial instruments into a revocable living trust, including brokerage accounts, bank custody accounts, registered stocks and bonds, unregistered (bearer) bonds, real estate, partnerships, bank accounts, pension plans and IRAs. Life insurance policies can go into a trust too, although they are generally better off being placed into an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) than a revocable living trust.

If the property being transferred into the trust is covered by insurance, you may need to amend the policy to show the trust as the new legal owner to maintain coverage. Talk to your insurance agent or estate planning attorney about this.

I’m retiring and relocating to Florida. What sorts of things should I know about that your firm can help with?

A primary consideration for you will be changing your domicile to Florida. This is different than just changing your residence. A person can have a number of residences but only one domicile. The location of your domicile can have important consequences on taxation and other matters. We can help you with issues related to establishing a Florida domicile.

Other matters that you will want to consider as you move include taxes in Florida (real estate taxes, transient rentals tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, etc.), the effect of an out-of-state will, your choices for personal representative and trustees, whether your prior state was a community property state, powers of attorney you may have executed, buying a home in Florida, automobile-related requirements, and more. We’ll be happy to discuss these and any other matters with you to help your move be as smooth and successful as possible.

When should I consider a credit shelter trust?

A credit shelter trust, also known as a family trust or AB trust, is a vehicle that can help with estate and gift tax planning. Instead of transferring all assets to a spouse at death, a spouse can send a certain amount to a credit shelter trust first, thereby avoiding estate taxes on a large estate. The surviving spouse can receive income from the trust during the spouse’s lifetime, with any remainder going to heirs named in the trust upon the second spouse’s death. This way, the surviving spouse benefits from the full value of the estate without paying estate taxes. A credit shelter trust is also an effective tool for blended estate planning, protecting the ability of children from a previous marriage to inherit, including situations when the surviving spouse remarries.

Our Naples Estate Planning Expert is Ready to Serve You

Call Nici Law Firm, P.L., in Naples for a comprehensive review of your needs by a qualified estate planner with over 25 years of experience helping people like you throughout southwest Florida plan for the future with confidence and security that their wishes and family’s needs will be met during their lifetime and long after. Call 239-449-6150 or contact us online to set up a complimentary consultation with Naples estate planning lawyer James R. Nici.

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