Spiro J. Verras Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Ensuring the Most Vulnerable Have an Estate Plan

How can I help my loved one in a nursing home make an estate plan?

The coronavirus pandemic has sent a message to all of us that our futures are uncertain. Most at-risk for serious illness or death from the virus remains the elderly. People aged 65 or older have a heightened risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Perhaps the most vulnerable are Florida’s nursing home and assisted living residents. Nursing home residents are typically already in compromised health due to physical or mental illnesses.
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Friday, April 24, 2020

As the Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens, Now is the Time to Make an Estate Plan

What are the benefits of making an estate plan right now?

The novel coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, bringing about illness, death, and economic turmoil in its wake. Currently, the death toll in the United States has exceeded 40,000, while more than 2.4 million people globally have been infected by COVID-19. Along with the magnitude of the illness, many Americans are now suffering financially. Necessary social distancing and stay-at-home orders have caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs.
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

3 Steps to a Successful Estate Plan

Do I need an estate planning attorney?

None of us know what the future holds. Creating an estate plan is about preparing for the unknown. A good estate plan will protect your loved ones, your assets, and yourself in the event of a serious injury, incapacity, or death. Your estate plan is about a lot more than just dividing up your assets. With your estate plan, you can ensure your spouse, children, or other loved ones are cared for, while also knowing that your last wishes will be respected and honored.
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Unique Estate Planning Issues for LGBTQ Couples

How can I protect my non-biological child?

A comprehensive estate plan is important for everyone who wants to protect their assets and family, but it is even more critical for same-sex couples to create certain estate planning documents so that they are fully protected. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage for same-sex couples. This ruling afforded same-sex couples vital protections that heterosexual couples long took for granted, but it did not eliminate the need for some extra care when it comes to estate planning. Our Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

New Law Will Impact IRAs and Estate Planning

What does the SECURE Act mean for estate planning?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act or SECURE Act of 2019 will bring about significant changes to retirement and estate planning in the year 2020. President Trump signed the SECURE Act into law in December. Professionals in the retirement planning field have evaluated the new law as bringing about mostly positive changes for employees, with one major downside to traditional estate plans. Our Read more . . .

Friday, February 14, 2020

Is Joint Ownership Enough?

Why Simply Co-Owning Property May Not Be an Ideal Estate Plan

Often, people will purchase real estate or open a bank account with their spouse, child, or other loved one as a co-owner. This joint ownership is set up so that if one owner dies, the other will automatically inherit the property. In the state of Florida, there are several types of joint ownership, and some will allow for the automatic transfer of ownership upon the death of one co-owner. However, to simply have a co-owner on your major property is rarely sufficient for an estate plan. Relying on joint ownership could have implications on taxes and creditor rights, and it could even carry the risk of an unintended person receiving partial ownership of the property.
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Friday, January 17, 2020

Avoiding the Drama of "Succession" with a Business Succession Plan

How can I select an heir to carry on the family business?

The popular HBO series “Succession” explores dramatically a common issue—heirs fighting for control of the family empire. The series centers on the Roy family, who control a media and hospitality empire. As the family’s patriarch ages and suffers health problems, his four children each vie for control of the company. While audiences enjoy watching the heirs conspire against each other and their father as they attempt to wrest control over the family company, many of us may not realize that this sort of drama really happens in family-owned businesses when the founder has failed to establish a business succession plan.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Discussing Estate Planning with Your Parents

How should I bring up the topic of estate planning with my aging parents?

More than half of all Americans, includinga substantial minority of seniors, have no estate plan. Many of us shy away from discussing what we perceive as a morbid topic, so we rarely ask friends or family about the status of their estate planning. Nonetheless, if you are an adult with an aging parent, it is important to make sure that your parent has a valid estate plan. Tampa Bay estate planning lawyer Spiro Verras offers some tips on how to talk about estate planning with your parents tactfully.
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Thursday, December 19, 2019

How to Create a Valid Will in Florida

A Last Will and Testament can be used for a number of important things. Most people are aware that a will can instruct who you will leave your property to after you pass away and who will be in charge of administering your estate. A will can do much more, though. A will allows you to name a guardian to care for your minor children. It also allows you to name a trustee who will manage any property you leave to children or incapacitated persons. It can provide funeral, burial, and cremation instructions. It can even create a trust that can continue for a few years or for generations.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Consider Estate Planning Before the 2020 Election

What changes could come to the field of estate taxation if a new President takes office?

The 2020 US election is fast approaching and the race for the presidency could have far-reaching effects. From an estate planning perspective, estate tax minimization may be particularly affected by the result. Estate tax receipts by the federal government have been dramatically diminished by recent changes to the tax code. In 2020, individuals with less that $11.58 million in assets and couples with less than $23.26 million in assets are exempt from the estate tax. Consequently, fewer than 0.1% of Americans die rich enough for their estates to owe any federal estate tax at all; out of roughly 2.7 million Americans who die each year, only the richest 1,700 are subject to the estate tax. Even these few taxable estates are taxed at the lowest rates since 1932. All the top Democratic presidential candidates have proposed changing federal estate tax laws to reduce the budget deficit and to combat wealth inequality. For high net worth individuals and couples who are interested in reducing their heirs' estate tax exposure, now is an ideal time to consider creating or updating your estate plan so that, in the event of a political shakeup, you have minimized your estate's tax bill to the fullest extent possible.

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Why Would You Want to Estate Plan to Avoid Probate?

Probate, the court-overseen process of settling the estate of a deceased individual, has become something people are always talking about avoiding. Probate, among many other things, involves the gathering of assets and the distribution of property from a decedent’s estate to his or her heirs. It is also the time when any creditors of the estate are paid. Unfortunately, like many things involving the legal system, there are drawbacks to probate. So many drawbacks, in fact, that more and more people are looking for ways to avoid the process either partially or altogether.
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