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Estate Planning Not Just For Mega-Rich Floridians

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that too many Americans view estate planning as a tool for the uber-wealthy. The report suggested that the generic term estate planning conjured up images of complex tax shelters and inheritances with too many zeroes to count. Such misconceptions exist in Florida too.

One need not look far to spot the wealth in Florida. While multimillionaires certainly have their fair share of estate planning problems, residents with more modest assets must still prioritize this all important step. Nevertheless, research shows more Americans than ever are leaving the distribution of their assets up to chance.

While there are various theories for why someone may decide to avoid estate planning, the idea that it only benefits the rich is partly to blame. Local Floridians often think that their assets will simply go to their families and they do not need any complex plan to simply pass down their stuff. This assumption ignores other factors which almost always make a plan desirable.

For example, people in blended family situations often regret the absence of an estate plan. While assets may be passed down to a second spouse, many do not consider what will happen to their assets after their spouse's own time comes. Without a plan, children from a first marriage may be cut out.

Similarly, many people do not consider what will happen if they become disabled, or who will care for a disabled spouse. All of these things can be taken care of with an estate plan. While residents can certainly engage in sophisticated planning to address tax implications and strategies for administering millions of dollars, estate planning is also necessary for those who wish to retain control of more personal things.

Source: examiner.com, "Why estate planning should be a higher priority for more Americans," Michael Essany, April 23, 2014

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