When someone needs to start preparing for disposing of their property and wealth, they may find that the process is difficult and confusing. Certain professionals focus their entire careers on helping people in these situations. 

An advice column from a central Florida news source addressed issues regarding inheritance and power of attorney when preparing an estate plan or receiving money from relatives.

Learning about inheritance taxes and power of attorney

The first reader asked about tax consequences for approximately $300,000 in inheritance from his parents. This was paid out through a life insurance policy, rather than through the probate courts or other means of transferring wealth. In Florida, an inheritance that passes through an estate via a life insurance policy is generally not taxed. This can change based on the value of the estate, so it is always important to consult with a professional whenever you are named as a beneficiary in a will or estate planning documents. Beneficiaries should always be aware of potential taxation issues, because they can owe the government part of the estate, and this money must be paid. 

Another reader wanted to know if financial power of attorney would be necessary for a number of different financial planning and inheritance issues. The answer explained that power of attorney is a way of allowing another person to act on your behalf, which means that they have full authority to dispose of your property and assets. As a general rule, power of attorney should only be used as a last resort when someone is close to death or incapacitated. Certain estate planning documents can specify that a named individual will be given power of attorney only if the testator is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. 

Important aspects of estate planning

As individuals grow older or develop serious illnesses, it can be important to plan for financial protections for other family members. This can be done through a will, power of attorney, estate plan, or will substitutes like life insurance. Because everyone’s situation is different, it is always best to only commit to a plan after discussing your personal needs with a lawyer. 

Special help for veterans of U.S. armed forces

Certain individuals who have previously served with the U.S. military branches may qualify for additional help through the Department of Veteran Affairs. However, dealing with the bureaucracy of the VA and other government agencies can often be difficult, and many people give up or never complete the process without ever knowing if they are entitled to additional help. 

Talk to lawyer about planning for your future

There are attorneys who assist all kinds of individuals with their estate planning needs throughout Florida. To speak with someone today, contact:

The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm

850 NW Federal Highway, #1004, Stuart, FL 34994



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