Sunil Thomas Abraham
Abraham & Sweeney
Use of trusts, corporations and limited liability companies.
Most asset planning is divided into two categories: 1.) planning for when you are alive and 2.) planning for when you die.
For the first part, the planning for when you are alive involves a combination of strategies which also calls for a combination of professionals to help an individual or company. This includes the use of trusts (both passive and active), corporations and limited liability companies. This may involve the protection of assets from unlikely threats such as car accidents to likely threats such as business disputes and creditors. This planning also requires tax planning, liability planning, and insurance planning. Each of these areas requires professionals working together for each client and their specific situation.
For example, Florida law allows for use of land trusts without creating a separate entity. Many times we have used land trusts to help clients who are facing foreclosure to force banks to have to serve the clients through their appointed Trustee and also force any junior creditors to have to notify their Trustee to be able to obtain a lien on their property. This method for example has helped many clients be able to resolve their debts through short sales without fraudulent foreclosures taking their property without proper notice.
For the second part, the planning for when you die is just as important as when one is alive. The most important thing that you can do is to create a last will and testament. This should be done so that you can avoid potential misunderstandings and you can direct how you want your estate to be handled. There are also many other tools for asset planning with some tools that can help avoid some of the expense of formal probate proceedings. Much of the planning for death typically involves answering questions of how will my family be taken care of? what can i do to make the process easier? how can i plan strategically to avoid unnecessary taxation to the estate?
For example, Florida law allows for a faster, efficient, and less costly way to probate the estate of a deceased person through summary adminsitration if the estate is valued at less than $75,000.00. This can avoid long and expensive probate proceedings and help the family and loved ones avoid the complications of a formal proceeding during their time of grief.