Aug 302012

As a follow-up to the previous post regarding 4 life changing events that require an estate planning review we now turn to three property transactions that should also lead to a review of an estate plan.

  1. Going through probate: It is no secret that longer life spans, ballooning medical costs, and two recessions have been negative factors on the average inheritance these days.  That said, whatever the amount is, there will be even less of it if creditors come calling or if it passes through another probate.  Any time a person receives a large sum of money or property, they should consider picking up the phone and contacting their Florida estate planning attorney, who will be able to suggest ways to preserve the funds for loved ones, not creditors or the legal system.
  2. Opening new accounts: Any time you open a new account is a good time to contact your estate planning attorney and discuss how the account should be titled.  Many planners will recommend placing savings accounts, brokerage accounts, or mutual fund accounts into a revocable living trust in order to avoid probate and to make transfer of title to beneficiaries easier.  You may not see the immediate benefit while you are alive, but when you die, your family will really appreciate the planning.
  3. Purchasing real property: Many people are unaware that when they own property in their own name in multiple states, then there must be multiple probates.  This is commonly known as ancillary probate and it can be incredibly costly and time consuming.  Your estate planner may recommend the use of a revocable living trust as a probate avoidance technique, combined with a properly established business entity in order to provide a measure of creditor protection.

As the name of this article suggests, the events described above may not qualify as life changing, and thus the need to review your plan when one occurs may not be as strong.  However, tailoring your estate plan to fit these and other significant property transactions does make good common sense and can definitely save loads of time and money in the long run.  It should not require too much in the way of cost or effort to contact a Florida estate planning attorney and see how they can assist you.  You and your loved ones may be glad that you did.