Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Estate Plans for Florida Primary and Second Homeowners

Pave the way for the smooth transfer of a family or vacation home

Navigating intricate legal and real estate procedures are the last things anyone wants when coping with the loss of a loved one. If you own your own home, you can remove this burden from spouses, children, and other loved ones with a sound estate plan tailored to fit your exact wishes.

Various opportunities exist depending on whether you are a Florida resident and the type of property you are seeking to bestow. To learn more, contact The Levy Firm PLLC in Fort Lauderdale for a free consultation. Attorney Geoff Levy can answer questions and help you decide the next steps.

State and federal regulations

While there is no state-level estate tax in the Sunshine State, federal estate tax laws still apply. Understanding the intricacies of these laws and how they impact your estate is key to minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing the value of assets passed down to beneficiaries.

Whether it’s a family home, second home, rental or commercial property, Florida offers significant protections from creditors and certain tax benefits. The Levy Firm PLLC can help you draft an estate plan that adheres to federal and Florida law while clearly stating your legacy goals.

Second homes in Florida

If you own property in Florida but haven’t made the state your primary residence, there are estate planning strategies you can use to avoid putting your family through the trouble and expense of ancillary probate. Some of the most common options include:

  • Placing property in a revocable living trust and titling it in the trust’s name.
  • Titling the property with another owner as joint tenants with right of survivorship.
  • Using an Enhanced Life Estate deed, also known as a Lady Bird deed, which lists the owner as the “life tenant” and includes designated beneficiaries who will receive the property upon the owner’s death without the property having to go through probate.

Outright transfers of fractional shares of a family vacation property or second home may seem like the simplest strategy, but they may lack proper management structure, risking neglect and diminishing property value. Considerations such as potential tax ramifications and property management should be thoroughly evaluated with the help of an experienced Florida estate planning attorney.

Gifting property and strategies

For families wishing to keep a vacation home or second home within the family, various planning options can be considered. Gifting the property during your lifetime to the next generation is one such option. Depending on the number of beneficiaries and the value of the property, gifting can be done incrementally while utilizing the annual gift exclusion for taxable gifts. Before proceeding with gifting, it's important to determine the ownership structure for the next generation. Options include:

  • Outright Ownership Transfer
  • Placing Ownership in a Trust
  • Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Another advanced strategy is the creation of a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), which effectively removes the value of the property from your taxable estate while retaining the right to live in or use the property for a specified period. This can be particularly beneficial for properties expected to appreciate significantly.

Each option has its advantages and considerations, which Geoff, our experienced estate planning attorney, can help you navigate.

Ensure your wishes are understood and carried out

Many people assume that a conversation with one or more loved ones or directions in a will is enough to have assets distributed the way you want. However, the moments after a loved one dies are often confusing and grief-stricken. The more clarity provided, the easier it is for the people you care for to move forward.

At The Levy Firm PLLC, we specialize in estate planning customized for Florida residents and second homeowners. We can draft the necessary legal documents to create an airtight plan that meets your estate planning goals. We can help you navigate property transfers and estate planning with confidence. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.
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Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.

If protecting your legacy and the financial security of your loved ones is a concern of yours, it’s a concern of ours. Let’s talk. Our law firm provides legal services in English and Spanish. Free consultations for new clients.

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