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Tax savings is one of many potential benefits of estate planning

Florida residents pay attention to tax issues, and like people elsewhere, they tend to believe that tax planning is the main reason for making an estate plan. The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 continued the trend in recent years to increase the exemptions available under the federal estate taxes. Most people will therefore have no federal estate tax burden going forward once the new law becomes effective. Some people believe that this fact eliminates the need for estate planning but that is simply untrue.

There have always been many other reasons for the need to prepare an estate plan. An estate plan serves some basic purposes, including providing assurances that one's assets will be distributed as desired. It also assures that the estate will maximize the economy of its efforts and keep a lid on overall costs.

Can Social Security provide for my loved ones when I’m gone?

You may think of Social Security as something that only provides for you in retirement. However, if you die prematurely, Social Security can also function as a sort of life insurance policy for you loved ones. In fact, the benefits can be significant.

In today’s post, we examine the basics of the so-called survivor benefits under the Social Security program:

Making a will in Florida

Thinking about estate planning in advance can help preserve your assets and reduce the burden on your heirs. Making a valid will is often the first step you need to ensure a distribution of your property that accords with your wishes.

In the absence of a will, probate court will distribute your assets in accordance with Florida's intestacy provisions

Making your parenting plan work for the whole family

Florida readers may know that a divorce can be most difficult for the youngest members of the family. Children often bear the emotional brunt of this decision, and while this transition will be complex, it is still possible to make this time of transition easier for every member of the family. 

One of the ways that you can do this is by keeping your custody decisions out of the hands of the court. By opting not to litigate, you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse can work on a parenting plan that will allow your children to thrive, even long after your divorce is final. This option allows you to factor in considerations for needs and issues that may be unique to your family.

Asset distribution does not have to be a battle

Divorce is never an easy process, as two spouses essentially have to untangle their lives both emotionally and financially. This can be challenging whether you have been married for five years or 50 years.

Fortunately, just because you are going through divorce in Florida does not mean you and your spouse have to duplicate the rancorous battles you may see on TV. The simplest way of dealing with divorce -- particularly asset distribution -- is to figure out how to split assets between yourselves.

Military divorce and the sensitive issue of child custody

Divorce is difficult on every member of the family, and the children are no exception. Parents know that the decisions that they make regarding custody will have an impact on the lives of the youngest members of the family for years to come, and they should approach these issues thoughtfully and carefully.

Florida military families face the same issues that other families face during divorce, but the call of duty, potential deployments and other service-related issues compound and magnify the difficulty of child custody after divorce. If you are a military service member or are married to one and are facing the prospect of a divorce, you would be wise to secure experienced legal guidance as early as possible in the divorce process.

What you need to know about mediation and divorce in Florida

In order to get a divorce in Florida, both parties must first go through mediation. While you may feel like you are not in a state where you could work well with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is possible that you could use the required step of mediation to avoid litigation.

Often, mediation leads to more favorable results than the outcome of an acrimonious court battle, but you would still benefit from the assistance of an attorney in order to ensure the full protection of your legal rights. With the assistance of your legal ally, the mediation process provides you an outlet to make sure that your voice is heard throughout negotiations.

The true price of a bitter divorce

You've just about had it. Your marriage has been rocky for some time now, but the efforts at reconciliation are clearly not working, and you want to be done with it. Maybe your spouse has been unfaithful or unapproachable, and you simply can't deny your growing resentment. Maybe you and your spouse have been waging war for years, and you are ready for the last great battle: divorce court.

Before you strap on your combat gear and dig in your heels for a fight, consider the consequences of a highly contentious divorce. If the goal of your divorce is to remove yourself from a marriage full of conflict, it may serve you better to begin that process by removing the conflict from your divorce.

How to protect your finances during divorce

You might expect a divorce to impact your home and social life, but have you given thought to how a divorce can ruin your finances? If not, you are in for a nasty shock. To safeguard your finances from divorce, follow these tips.

Start with a credit check

Most couples have joint bank accounts and credit cards. Before you get divorced, pull your credit report and check for any suspicious charges. Your spouse may have taken out another credit card in your name and rung up thousands in charges. You'll need to know this information to take steps to protect yourself. Legally, you can remove yourself from credit cards and disavow charges of which you were unaware.

Tips for co-parenting this school year

One of the best times to revisit your co-parenting arrangement is now, just before you children go back to school. Starting or returning to school can be stressful for children. It is especially important to maintain a harmonious relationship with your ex during this time. Reviewing and updating your co-parenting arrangement can make everyone's life much easier.

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