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Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida: A Plan to Survive Unexpected Financial Threats

by Barry A. Nelson


Barry Nelson is an industry-respected, board-certified attorney with decades of experience counselling high-net-worth clients. In this useful resource for both professionals and clients alike, he reveals the serious implications of ignoring the potential liabilities that can threaten a client's assets.

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Estate Planning and Asset Protection Book

Full book available in hard cover or PDF. Individual chapters available in PDF.

Chapter List

Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida: A Plan to Survive Unexpected Financial Threats by Barry A. Nelson

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Asset Protection and Estate Planning

Chapter 2: Florida Homestead - Securing the Homestead Exemption for Asset Protection

2-1    Introduction

2-2    Homestead - A Hornet’s Nest

2-3    Constitutional Protection From Forced Sale

2-4    Purpose of the Exemption

2-5    General Discussion Florida State Law vs. Bankruptcy Court Law

2-6    Residency Requirement for Homestead Status

2-7    Acquisition of Homestead Using Non-Exempt Funds with Intent to Hinder, Delay, or Defraud a Creditor

2-8    Prohibiting Fraud and Egregious Conduct

2-9    How Do You Establish a Florida Residence as Homestead? Florida Law and Bankruptcy Law

2-10  What Constitutes Acquisition of Homestead During 1,215-Day Period Under BAPCA?

2-11  Effect of Florida Statute § 222.25 on the Homestead Exemption          

2-12  Ownership Requirement

2-13  Acreage Limitation for Homestead Status

2-14  When Does a Home Under Construction or an Adjoining Lot Become Protected as Homestead?

2-15  Conversion of Exempt Assets Into Homestead

2-16  Other Homestead Issues – Asset Protection

2-17  Homestead Must Be In Florida/Protection Applies to Claims of Municipalities

2-18  Boats and Mobile Homes – Florida State Court and Bankruptcy Court

2-19  Tax Liens and Federal Preemption Statutes with Homestead

Chapter 3: Florida Homestead - Loss of Homestead Status by Abandonment, Sale, Criminal Acts, Inter Vivos Transfers, and Death

3-1    Introduction

3-2    Abandoning Homestead

3-3    Proceeds from Sale of Homestead

3-4    Effect of Criminal Act, Intentional Tort, or Certain Willful or Reckless Misconduct in Bankruptcy

3-5    Inter Vivos Transfers Resulting in Loss of Homestead Protection

3-6    Status of Homestead Upon Death

3-7    Safest Practice Where No Spouse or Minor Children

Chapter 4: Florida Homestead - Property Tax

4-1    Introduction

4-2    Exemptions and Save Our Homes Benefits - General

4-3    S Corporation Not Entitled to Homestead Property Exemption

4-4    Qualified Personal Residence Trust (“QPRT”) Qualifies for Homestead Property Tax Exemption

4-5    Must Receive Homestead Exemption Before Receiving Benefit of Save Our Homes Cap

Chapter 5: Florida Homestead - Limitations on Ability to Devise

5-1    Introduction

5-2    Constitutional Limits on Devise of Homestead

5-3    Who Receives Homestead if No Specific Devise and No Spouse or Minor Children?

5-4    Restrictions on the Mortgaging of Homestead

5-5    Inter Vivos Transfer of Homestead to Avoid Outright Distribution of Homestead

5-6    Personal Representative Not Authorized to Sell Homestead Property

5-7    Homestead Rights Exist in Absence of a Court Order

5-8    Co-Ops and Confusion

5-9    Direction to Pay Debts from Homestead

5-10  Planning

Chapter 6: Miscellaneous State Exemptions

6-1    Introduction/Statutory Protections for Florida Residents

6-2    Wages

6-3    Life Insurance

6-4    Cash Surrender Value of Life Insurance Policies and Proceeds from Annuity Contracts

6-5    Disability Benefits

6-6    Workers Compensation

6-7    Proceeds from Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, Traditional and Inherited IRAs

6-8    Qualified State Tuition Programs

6-9    Medical Savings Accounts

6-10  Hurricane Savings Accounts

Chapter 7: Transfer to Spouses

7-1    Introduction

7-2    Benefits of Transfers of Property to Debtor’s Spouse

7-3    Outright Transfers

7-4    Transfers in Trust

7-5    Disclaimers

7-6    Co-Ownership with Spouse: Tenancy By The Entirety

7-7    Joint Debts

7-8    Existing Liens

7-9    Planning Where One Co-Holder of Tenants By The Entirety Property Becomes Subject to a Judgment or May Be Subject to a Judgment

7-10  Attacks on Tenants By The Entirety Protection

Chapter 8: Use of Inter Vivos QTIP Trusts and SLATs to Enhance Estate and Asset Protection Planning

8-1    Introduction

8-2    Benefits of QTIP Trusts

8-3    Planning Using Inter Vivos QTIP Trusts

8-4    Portability

8-5    The Relation Back Doctrine Must Be Considered

8-6    Blended Family Asset Protection and Estate Planning with Inter Vivos QTIP Trusts

8-7    Can a SLAT Provide Better Overall Results?

8-8    Inter Vivos QTIP Trusts for Those with Reduced Life Expectancy for Income Tax Step Up and Asset Protection

8-9    Benefits of SuperchargingSM an Inter Vivos QTIP Trust or SLAT

8-11  Taxation of Inter Vivos QTIP Trusts and SLATs Upon Dissolution of Marriage

Chapter 9: Use of Partnerships and LLCs

9-1    Introduction

9-2    Important Terms

9-3    Why Corporations Are Not a Good Asset Protection Alternative as Compared to Partnerships and Multi-Member LLCs

9-4    Limited Partnerships and Multi-Member LLCs – General

9-5    Partnerships

9-6    LLCs

9-7    A Primer on Federal Estate and Gift Tax Valuation Issues for Partnerships and LLCs

Chapter 10: Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Planning and Pitfalls

10-1  Domestic Trusts

10-2  Domestic Self-Settled Asset Protection Trust Legislation Adopted in Seventeen States

10-3  Planning: Mortenson and Huber Provide Examples of How Better Planning Could Have Better Results

10-4  Uniform Voidable Transfers Act And Potential Limits on DAPTs

10-5  Are DAPTs Safe for Florida Residents Under Current Law

Chapter 11: Offshore Asset Protection Planning – Still the Ultimate? By Alexander A. Bove, Jr., Esq.

11-1  Introduction

11-2  Don’t Pack Your Bags Just Yet

11-3  The Peace of Mind Offshore Trust

11-4  Contempt of Court: Will You Get to Pass “Go?”

11-5  The Offshore Trust vs. The IRS

11-6  Choosing a Jurisdiction

11-7  More on Time Limits to Sue

11-8  Is a Trust the Only Choice?

11-9  How Easy Is It to Access Funds?

11-10 Reporting Requirements

11-11 Conclusion

Chapter 12: Third Party Created Discretionary and Spendthrift Trusts & Bacardi

12-1  Introduction

12-2  Distinction Between “Spendthrift Trusts” and “Discretionary Trusts”

12-3  Florida Law Before Trust Code Change in 2006

12-4  2006 Trust Code Changes as to Third Party Created Trusts: Florida Statute §§ 736.0502, 736.0504, and 736.0505(3)

12-5  Meaning of “Cannot Reach or Otherwise Attach”

12-6  It Is Safer to Create a Discretionary Trust in a State Other Than Florida That Clearly Addresses Exception Creditors

12-7  Other State Statutes

12-8  Should Clients be Informed?

12-9  Can a Trust Be Moved or Decanted to Enhance Asset Protection?

12-10 Can a Trustee Be Authorized to Terminate a Beneficiary’s Interest and Convert it to a Wholly Discretionary Spendthrift Trust?

12-11 Florida Bar Action

12-12 Drafting Option Under Florida Law

12-13 Where Does Trust Belong? Best Options for Florida Residents

Chapter 13: Asset Protection Planning for Athletes, Entertainers, Lottery Winners, and Other Instantly Wealthy

13-1  Introduction

13-2  Athletes and Entertainers

13-3  Lottery Winners

13-4  Vicarious Liability (i.e., Caution Before You Loan Your Motor Vehicle or Sign Your Minor Child’s Application to Obtain a Driver’s License!)

Chapter 14: Planning for Same-Sex Couples

Chapter 15: Financial Elder Exploitation

15-1  Introduction

15-2  What is Financial Elder Exploitation?

15-3  Difficulties When Attorneys Try To Be Proactive

15-4  Florida Law

15-5  Planning

15-6  Possible Drafting Solutions

Chapter 16: Ethical Considerations in Advising Clients on Asset Protection Techniques

16-1  Introduction

16-2  What are the General Requirements for an Effective Asset Protection Plan?

16-3  Is Asset Protection Ethical?

16-4  Disciplinary Action and Malpractice

16-5  Crime-Fraud Exception

16-6  Potential Liability as an Attorney

16-7     Client Selection and Rejection


Appendix I: The Pyramid of Protection Techniques

Appendix II: Homestead Exhibits

Appendix III: Florida Statute Chapter 222

Appendix IV: Florida Statutes (Other)

Appendix V: Florida Constitution

Appendix VI: Bankruptcy Code § 522(d)(10)(C)

Appendix VII: I.R.C. Code § 2523(f)

Appendix VIII: Dennis and Debbie Examples

Appendix IX: Proposed Structures of Partnerships & LLCs

Appendix X: Tenancy by the Entireties Statutes by State

Appendix XI: Florida Lottery

Appendix XII: Memoranda and Affidavits

Appendix XIII: White Papers

Appendix XIV: LLC/Limited Partnership Exhibits

Appendix XV: Other Exhibits

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