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Is your Florida estate plan out-of-date already?

We’ve written before about how family relationships can be complicated, and how a comprehensive estate plan can address complex family dynamics.

For example, estate owners in Florida sometimes forget to change their beneficiary designations when a divorce or death in the family occurs. With retirement plans, joint bank accounts, trusts and insurance policies, you can name a beneficiary, and such a beneficiary designation can override the wishes laid out in a will.

In other words, even if you have taken the steps to remove your ex-spouse or some other family member from your will, it may be possible to for that person to successfully contest the will if he or she remains listed as a beneficiary of one of your accounts.  

Also, laws affecting estate planning often change, and Florida residents would be well-advised to review their estate plans to ensure that assets are preserved and that any benefits offered by the law are taken advantage of.

For example, federal estate tax laws have changed, and people who drafted their estate planning documents before those changes took effect may do well to revise the relevant documents. For some people, not doing so could lead to an unnecessary tax burden for loved ones.

In any case, it is important to coordinate all of your estate planning documents to achieve the desired effect. Each family situation is different, and a comprehensive estate plan should address the specific needs and desires of the estate owners. To learn more about sculpting such a plan, please visit our page on drafting the right documents to meet specific needs.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Time to Check the List for Financial and Estate Planning Goals,” Carol Hazard, Dec. 16, 2013

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