Gunster's private wealth services law practice

Below is the most recent edition of the Family Wealth Compass.

This publication offers a timely roundup of estate and trust planning tips, information and news, courtesy of Gunster’s private wealth services attorneys; please contact any team member for more information.

Trump tax plan

As many of you already know, the Trump Administration, with input from Republican leaders, recently issued a framework for tax reform. The framework represents a preliminary step in the legislative process. The next step in the process would be the development of a proposed bill. Please note that one of the items in the framework is the elimination of the estate tax and the generation skipping transfer tax. We will keep you advised of any significant developments on our website.

IRS relief for Hurricane Irma

We hope that everyone and their families remained safe during Hurricane Irma. As we continue on the path to recovery, we just wanted to let you know that the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently provided relief for certain taxpayers who may have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Generally speaking, certain taxpayers residing in (or who has business in) any Florida county who has a tax return or tax payment due on or after September 4, 2017 is granted an extension of time until January 31, 2018.

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Estate planning in times of uncertainty 

With the combination of a Republican president and a Republican controlled House of Representatives and Senate, it was widely believed by many commentators that a significant change in the estate, gift and/or generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax laws was imminent. These potential changes included the immediate repeal of the estate, gift and/or GST taxes, a gradual repeal of the estate, gift and/or GST taxes over a number of years, or a repeal of the estate tax but not the gift and/or GST taxes. In addition, if the estate tax were to be repealed, it was widely believed that some form of a capital gains tax would be implemented to tax the amount of appreciation in a decedent’s estate.

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The hidden traps of hiring household help

Hiring someone to come into your home to assist with your own personal care or to assist with children or to perform daily chores associated with maintaining a residence can be a very freeing proposition. There can be significant peace of mind and satisfaction that comes with having a reliable person routinely provide these types of services in the home. However, there are several potential legal traps that are associated with hiring household help, or “domestic servants” as the law refers to them. While some of these legal traps may be intuitive, others are not.

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Succession planning for closely held businesses

Although the trend for the last ten to twenty years has been for larger companies to acquire smaller closely held companies, in the last few years this trend seems to be slowing, leaving many family businesses to proactively plan for its succession or to close their doors. Normally, these closely held businesses are owned entirely (or almost entirely) by one family. These family businesses (which include many Fortune 500 companies) account for about one-half of the United States gross domestic product, more than one-half of all jobs, and three-quarters of all new jobs. Often overlooked in these family businesses is a succession plan to pass the business from one generation to another. This article will discuss, in no particular order, some key issues in developing a succession plan.

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Planning to sell your home soon? Don’t forget about your portability rights

If you are planning to move from your current Florida homestead anytime soon, the property appraiser’s determination of your home’s current market value could directly impact the property taxes you pay at your new homestead. The reason has to with your portability rights under the Florida Constitution. Florida’s portability laws permit property owners the right to transfer (or port) to their new homestead the difference between the fair market value and the assessed value of their immediate prior homestead, up to a maximum difference of $500,000.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 11 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With over 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


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