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June 2012 Archives

Haste can make waste in estate administration

West Palm Beach residents know that the death of a family member often leads to a period of turmoil and confusion. Still, for those who are charged with managing the estate, a multitude of details and decisions can crop up on short notice. In addition to making funeral arrangements, probating the will and consoling loved ones, the estate executor must also address a broad range of financial details. Even though the processes of estate administration can sometimes feel overwhelming, executors need to remember to slow down and seek assistance before taking action that could result in unnecessary expenses.

Leaving meaningful legacies in Florida estate plans

Some West Palm Beach residents undoubtedly feel that imparting a legacy of meaningful values to relatives is more important than the amount of the relatives' inheritance. With that in mind, estate planners in Florida may be interested to hear that testamentary gifts to non-profits increased almost 19 percent in 2010. As the baby boomer generation considers its estate planning goals, more and more people are finding that a gift to charity upholds the values instilled by their life experiences.

Reese Witherspoon appointed conservator for father

West Palm Beach residents may know Reese Witherspoon for her starring role as a bubbly law student in the film "Legally Blonde." The actress has now found herself in a real-life legal role concerning the affairs of her father, who is thought to suffer from dementia. Although many of the court records in the pending case remain sealed, documents that have been released indicate that the father is now under a conservatorship of the actress and her brother.

A good year for gifting in Florida estate plans

Our readers in West Palm Beach may benefit this year from a professional review of their estate plans. In light of uncertainties about the future of the federal gift tax exemption, waiting until next year to polish up estate planning goals could result in unnecessary tax liabilities.

In-vitro twins lose out under Florida probate law

Readers in West Palm Beach may want to take notice of a recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court that illustrates the heightened importance of estate planning for couples facing difficulties conceiving children. The high court concluded that twins conceived by in-vitro fertilization after their father's death are not eligible for Social Security benefits under Florida's laws of intestacy. The decision demonstrates that children born through modern fertilization techniques, in the absence of an effective estate plan, may be deprived of any inheritance from a deceased parent.