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Estate planning in Florida: Your second home

Nov 10, 2017 | Estate Planning

Getting older means you need to start thinking about passing on the things you own. If you don’t plan to pass them on to your family, then it’s up to you to sell them.

As someone who has come to Florida in retirement, it’s possible that you have two or more properties. If you die without a will, your family will have to go through probate to determine who should obtain the titles to those properties. If you’re not interested in having your family go through that struggle, then it’s time to consider creating a trust, drawing up a will or gifting the property to the person you want to pass it on to.

Gifting a home

Although there are time restrictions in which taxes or penalties may apply, if you give away your home at least several years before you pass away, your loved one will already have it in his or her name and be able to avoid probate. Additionally, this is a good way to avoid estate or inheritance taxes on your property.

Creating a trust

If you want, you can leave behind your home in a trust. The beneficiary typically has to meet certain qualifications before the home’s title is passed on to him or her. For instance, you may say that you’ll allow the title to transfer to your daughter after her 18th birthday and also provide money for the trustee to take care of the property in the meantime.

Using a will

If you’re not worried about taxes and want the easiest solution, consider having your attorney draw up a will of your wishes. Upon your death, your estate’s executor divides out property, and the home will go to the person it’s intended for. Just remember that people can, and sometimes do, challenge wills. Try to make yours as soon as possible, and update it frequently.