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Legislation proposed to end Florida counties' cremation tax

One question that often arises in making estate planning decisions is whether a person prefers to be buried or cremated. In most Florida counties, there is a tax for cremation services, but a recently introduced bill aims to do away with that additional tax.

The bill meant to eliminate the tax has been approved by a committee in the Florida legislature and needs to go before two more committees prior to a full vote. The contended "county service fee" for cremation can be higher than $60, which may not be significant for many families, but encountering yet another expense in the wake of a loved one's death is never pleasant.

Rep. Ross Spano introduced the legislation to eliminate the cremation tax across the state. He believes he has found a better way to increase revenue. According to him, counties can save money by instead using a statewide system for death certificates, which could offset any revenue the counties would lose by not having the cremation tax.

While the cremation fee may not be a major tax burden for many families in Florida, it is unlikely to be the only surprise in taxes, fees and costs associated with the administration of an estate. That is, unless there is a comprehensive estate plan that accounts for all financial burdens grieving family members could possibly face.

A consultation with a Florida estate planning attorney can help defray or minimize some of these costs and tax implications, lessening the chance of unwanted surprises when dealing with the emotional burden of a loved one’s death.

Source: Capitol News Service, "New Spin on 'Death and Taxes," Matt Galka, Feb. 5, 2014

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