Two of the most important aspects to an estate plan is minimizing tax liabilities and ensuring that intended beneficiaries receive an individual’s assets after death. Keeping informed about the most recent changes to estate tax laws is essential for anybody in Florida or across the country. This will help individuals to make the right decisions when deciding how to administer their estates. Also, properly indicating beneficiaries with legally sound estate planning documentation will ensure that intended beneficiaries are taken care of.

The estate tax is regulated by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). This law entitles a person to leave unlimited assets to his or her spouse with an additional $5,250,000 in assets to non-spouse beneficiaries without being taxed. For those who are married, the law allows both spouses to leave this amount to non-spouse beneficiaries, which means a total amount of $10,500,000 for married couples. The non-spouse beneficiary can be trusts, one’s children or any other entity.

Despite all of the savvy tax planning, it will all become pointless if one’s intended beneficiaries do not ultimately receive the applicable assets. This is why it is important to ensure beneficiary designations are formed properly. Individuals engaged in estate planning will also have to make sure that designations are kept up-to-date with any changing wishes. This can be especially relevant for those who go through certain major life changes, such as divorce or remarriage. Forgetting to change an existing retirement plan after a divorce can cause legal disputes between one’s current spouse and one’s former spouse.

Paying close attention to estate tax planning as well as beneficiary designations will ultimately help an individual’s heirs to save money during the estate administration process in Florida. Proper planning for estate tax will likewise keep heirs from having to pay unnecessary tax liabilities. Properly designating beneficiaries will help heirs avoid having to go to probate court which could result in costly court and legal fees.