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  • Ryan J. Smollar

Decedent in Florida: A Definition and Some Legal Context

During the process of legacy planning, you may come across many terms with which you’re unfamiliar. Among those terms is “decedent,” and understanding this one is key to making the right preparations for your estate with Elder Law. So, who is considered the decedent in Florida?


florida decedent, going towards the sky

What is a Decedent in Florida Estate Law?

The term decedent simply refers to the deceased person. All of a decedent’s possessions become part of the estate, and during the process of estate planning, you have complete legal power over your final transactions and estate planning if you complete the process before your death.


You may also hear the term deceased. The difference between the decedent meaning and that of deceased is that the idea of a decedent in Florida is just a legal term for someone who has died that is used within estate planning documents.


For example, if you create an estate plan for your family, after your death, you become the decedent in Florida law’s eyes. Your estate planning documents will refer to you by that term. If you left behind a retirement fund, some money in your checking account, and a life insurance policy, your planning documentation will note that the decedent’s debts are to be paid from those funds, as are any tax obligations, then the beneficiaries of your estate will get what remains.


How to Say It

Not quite sure of the pronunciation of this word? Phonetically, the term looks like this:


Di-ꞌsē-dᵊnt


In practical terms, it is pronounced: “duh-see-dnt.”


What It Means For Your Estate Plans

After you are gone, your assets are left behind. Decedents are even required to file one final tax return for the year they died, and the outstanding taxes must be paid out of the estate. At Elder Law, we work to carry out a decedent’s wishes by ensuring your will or trust is executed properly and that the estate handles all required financial matters.


Creating the right financial plan truly matters, as it allows you to transfer the legal rights to your assets to others before you die. That can not only reduce your estate taxes but also grant the trustees the immediate authority to handle all of your assets after you die. You can also avoid excessive court fees with advanced planning.


Depending on your situation, we may recommend that you create a trust to protect your assets. That allows you to transfer legal ownership to your trustee, who must manage those assets on behalf of the beneficiaries involved. Essentially, it makes them legally responsible for making the best decisions possible for the beneficiaries of the trust. That offers you some true peace of mind when you become a decedent.


Decedents in Florida and Tax Implications

If you die in Florida, you won’t owe any state taxes, but you might owe federal taxes, and your estate is responsible for the payment of those taxes. Currently, the federal estate tax exemption is $11.58 million, but it is possible that will change in the future. The lack of a Florida estate tax, though, is unlikely to change in the near future, as the Florida constitution prohibits inheritance taxes. Florida decedents may still owe estate taxes for property located in other states, however. Fortunately, estate planning can help reduce problems and expenses associated with your assets.


Contact Us Today

If you’re ready to connect with a legal advisor who meets your needs in terms of estate planning, there’s never been a better time to contact us. Learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.


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