Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

INDIVIDUALS OVER 65 SHOULD NOT PUT OFF MEDICAL CARE UNTIL 2017

Most taxpayers are aware that they can claim a medical and/or dental expense on their Federal Income Tax Return if they meet certain eligibility requirements. Eligibility for the deduction requires (i) the taxpayer to itemize their income tax deductions (medical expenses, charitable deductions, certain taxes paid and home-related costs) and not claim a standard deduction (itemized expenses must exceed the standard deduction amount); and (ii) medical costs that exceed a percentage of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (“AGI”). In tax year 2016, the medical expense deduction is available to taxpayers under age 65 who have medical costs that exceed ten (10%) percent of their AGI. Taxpayers over age 65 are eligible to utilize the medical expense deduction if their medical costs exceed seven and one-half (7.5%) percent of their AGI. However, 2016 is the last tax year that the lower percentage will be available to taxpayers over the age of 65 years. Beginning on January 1, 2017, unless legislation is passed, the percentage will revert back to ten (10%) percent for all taxpayers.

GUN TRUSTS – A THING OF THE PAST?

Effective July 13, 2016, Final Rule 41-F (the “Rule”) of the National Firearms Act (“NFA”) eliminated the loophole which allowed the making or transferring of a firearm, without a background check, through a Gun Trust. The Rule now requires all individuals, including those utilizing a Gun Trust, to adhere to the same identification and background check requirements and obtain local police chief approval to purchase an NFA firearm (short barrel shotgun or a silencer, etc.). The Rule specifically provides that the “responsible person” of a Gun Trust must now file new forms and submit photographs and fingerprints when the Gun Trust files an application to make or transfer an NFA firearm.

STABLE ACCOUNTS - AS A PART OF YOUR ESTATE PLANNING

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 will soon allow individuals to incorporate STABLE accounts in their estate plans for disabled family members. The accounts will allow family members to save money to be used by the disabled family member throughout their life without losing eligibility for government benefit programs. The account earnings will grow tax-free as long as they are utilized for qualified expenses. In order to establish a STABLE account, the individual must have been disabled before 26 years old and entitled to benefits under the SSI or SSDI programs.