J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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A new president means considerations for estate and assets

Floridians who are planning for the future and taking steps to ensure their estate is properly organized must also take into account the political climate and potential changes that could be on the horizon. When there is a major upheaval in the government, that can cause changes that need to be considered when calculating how to deal with money, assets and property. Such is that case with the incoming presidential administration of Donald J. Trump. Regardless of one's political leanings, there are certain aspects that have to be addressed no matter what.

Mr. Trump was elected on a platform of drastic change and it is expected that his attempts at reforming the tax code will include changes to the inheritance tax. One of the main concerns for those taking out a will or other legal document for their estate is how their loved ones will be taxed. Although the Trump plans are expected to help people with large portfolios, it is still uncertain as to exactly what the changes will be. What a candidate says on the campaign trail can largely change once he or she gets into a position to implement those plans. Mr. Trump is not the typical politician, but there are still common political stumbling blocks to navigate.

The decision regarding how to handle an estate should not be entered into lightly, particularly with a new and unknown person entering into power. Making changes to an estate plan might not be advisable in the moment. Mr. Trump stated that he will end the estate tax or "death" tax. This could be done at the federal level, but there could also be taxes on capital gains in estates with exemptions depending on the situation. State taxes on estates can differ and this must be factored in when making changes or leaving the document as is for the moment to see how the administration approaches certain issues.

The main aspects that should be left in place are guardianships for young children, a power of attorney, and a living will. When it comes to money and property, there are a multitude of different issues that go into planning for the future after a person has died or is incapacitated. This fluctuating reality is exacerbated with a new administration in Washington. To make sure that estate and assets are protected, a legal professional will have thought about the potential changes and can help with making an informed decision on how to proceed.

Source: CNBC, "Estate-planning pros take wait-and-see approach to Trump," Andrew Osterland, Jan. 11, 2017

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