Estate Planning In Orlando

Orlando Estate Planning falls under Florida Estate Planning Law. The state has a number of requirements and other factors to consider when planning an estate, such as:

Florida’s Inheritance Tax

Florida’s Inheritance tax is amongst one of the highest in the nation. It is suggested that you speak with an Orlando Estate Planning attorney before your passing to be sure that all is right and there are no mistakes made which could cost family members thousands of dollars upon your death.

Common-Law Marriage

Florida does not recognize Common Law Marriage, but they do allow Adult interdependent relationships. If you live or have lived with another adult for more than five years and hold yourself out to the public as being partners, this qualifies you for spousal rights under Florida law. This means that if something were to happen to partner A, partner B would have the legal rights of a spouse.

Last Will & Testament

Florida does not require a Last Will or Testament to distribute your assets upon death, but executing a will means that you can decide who gets what and how it is divided. Joint Property with Rights of Survivorship gives survivors ownership of one person’s property if they die without a will. Community Property with Rights of Survivorship is similar in that two people share equal ownership over property acquired during the marriage, but Community Property does not include non-marital property such as inheritances or gifts unless it has been “transmuted” into community property by adding the name of the other spouse and adding language such as: “to A for life and then to B”. This can be avoided by executing a will, so be sure to discuss your options with an Orlando Estate Planning lawyer.

Prenuptial Agreements

Florida does not recognize Prenuptial Agreements. Couples may enter into a Separate Written Property Agreement while they are still living together regarding how property and assets will be handled after separation or divorce. Without this agreement in place, the distribution of property and assets will depend on: (1) whether you were married; (2) who initiated the breakup; (3) who has custody of minor children; and (4) which state’s laws govern the distribution of marital property. The law is constantly changing in Florida – do NOT take this lightly!

If you want to make sure that these issues do not come up when you have passed on, it is in your best interest to make sure you have a valid will. An Estate Planning Attorney can help with this and other concerns.

Adult Children

In Florida, an adult child who has been adopted is not entitled to receive any share of the estate of his or her birth parents unless: (1) the requirements of s. 63.212 are met; (2) the adopting parent(s) file(s) a petition within 2 years after such adoption; and (3) the court finds that it would be manifestly unjust not to allow such distribution and directs such distribution be made. However, there is no statute which requires an adult child of adoptive parents must be provided for in their Will. An Orlando Estate Planning attorney can advise you on how to approach this.

Important Factors For Estate Planning

The following is a list of the most important factors to consider when planning an estate in Orlando:

Pre Or Post Death Debts & Taxes

Certain assets may be subject to pre-death or post-death debts and taxes. These items include Retirement accounts, real estate with mortgages, income taxes, and other financial obligations.  In Florida, if your Will is silent about who will pay these debts from your estate before distribution, then legally the executor would have the right to use that property for this purpose. In order to avoid having family members sell off property or borrow against it without permission during difficult times, consult with an Estate Planning attorney who can help you draft a plan so people are not surprised with threats of creditors after you have passed. A good lawyer will also ensure your assets are used in a way that betters your family members’ lives instead of being drained to pay debts.    

Durable Powers Attorney

Not planning for the possibility of being incapacitated is one of the biggest pitfalls. If you do not have a power of attorney, your spouse or adult child may need to petition a court to declare you incapacitated and appoint them as your legal guardian if they determine that it is in YOUR best interest for them to manage all or part of your affairs. You can avoid this by preparing a durable power of attorney which allows someone else to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if necessary without going through a potentially costly court process.   

To Recap On Estate Planning

Estate planning is an important aspect when considering where you might want to live out the remainder of your days. If you are not aware of some of the rules that are already in place, it could affect where you decide to settle down. Florida is a community property state which means all income earned and property acquired by either spouse during marriage until separation or divorce is considered joint marital property unless there is proof of written agreement to the contrary signed by both husband and wife. This can have implications on the transfer of real estate if one person chooses to live in it after death or if they remarry.

A good Orlando Estate Planning attorney will be able to help you understand what implications this may have on your family financially, legally, and otherwise so no one ends up paying more than their fair share in taxes or making unwise decisions out of confusion regarding what is and isn’t allowed.

Get Orlando Estate Planning Help With Attorney Michael J. Krus

The laws that govern estate planning in Florida are subject to change as they are passed by state legislatures or appellate courts. As a result, the information contained in this post may not be completely up-to-date. Please consult with an Orlando Estate Planning lawyer for the most recent legal updates.