Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Florida Enhanced Life Estate
Florida is one of only a few states that recognize an "Enhanced Life Estate Deed" which is
commonly known in other states as a "Lady Bird Deed." With the ability to have a life estate deed to pass property
automatically upon death to a named recipient, Florida residents can bypass the need for probate of the family home to pass
it to their heirs. Thus, if a person has a relatively small estate not otherwise needing probate (except for the required
filing of the Last and Testament), then the use of an Enhanced Life Estate Deed can simplify their estate planning needs and
allow them to focus more on the naming of agents for their other documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare
Surrogate or HIPAA information recipient.
One of the primary reasons for using the Enhanced
Life Estate Deed is to avoid probate; however, the benefit for the current owner is that they retain the full right to sell,
use or otherwise deal with their property without the need of obtaining the consent of the future recipient, known as the
"remainderman." Since the remainderman will receive the property only if the current owner still owns it at death,
their possible interest in it is considered contingent, and they will have no control over what the current owner does with
the property. This ability of the current owner to do as they please with the property without involvement of the remainderman
is what makes this deed preferable to many individuals over the customary life estate deed which gives the remainderman a
current right in the property.
Another feature of the Enhanced Life Estate Deed is that it is
not determinative of the warranty of title to the property. Therefore, it can be used regardless of whether the property is
being transferred by quitclaim deed, special warranty deed or warranty deed. This tool is becoming more popular with
un-remarried widows and widowers in Florida to allow for the passage of their home without probate should they still own it
If you would like to know more about this type of deed for use in estate planning,
please contact us and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.
Friday, January 10, 2014The 2014 tax year has
As January arrived, the Internal Revenue Service was busy releasing new tax rates for income as well as deductions.
While the standard mileage rate for business miles decreased from $0.565 to $0.56, many taxpayers are much more concerned
with how they will plan their investments in light of the Net Investment Income tax which is to be levied in addition to other
taxes already assessed. The Final regulations for NII can be found under IRC §1411. For tax preparers the "NII"
tax regulations have added another set of computations which will need to be made and maintained on a year to year basis.
The Internal Revenue Service has published its anticapted date for the beginning of the filing of tax year 2013 electronic
income tax returns as January 31, 2014. Fortunately for tax preparers, Congress adjourned timely and we did not have a delay
in setting the tax laws to be set forth on the forms for filing 2013 tax returns!