Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney

Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney Sarasota and Manatee County Florida law firm focused on assisting clients with their Estate Planning (Wills, Revocable Trusts, Powers of Attorney), Probate Estate (administration and inheritance disputes) and Business and Corporate legal matters.

Over twenty-seven (27) years of legal experience assisting clients in the State of Florida.

Over twenty-seven (27) years of legal experience assisting clients in the State of Florida.

Mission: An educated client.

Payment Options:   Cash

Operating as usual


A very important, but little utilized provision, of The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (The HEART Act) permits surviving spouses and heirs who receive death gratuities (paid as a result of a death from a service connected illness or injury) and/or SGLI death benefits to invest some or all of the funds into a Roth IRA and/or Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). The beneficiary can split the payouts received between the ESA and Roth IRA as they see fit, contributing a portion, all, or nothing to each. Alternatively, they can reserve an amount for immediate expenses.

The contribution and annual income limitations will not apply to this rollover of funds and will provide tax-free growth and withdrawals in the future. The only limitation is that the funds must be deposited into a new or existing ESA or Roth IRA within one (1) year of the beneficiary receiving them, otherwise they forfeit the opportunity to do so. It is important to note that a separate one-year deadline applies to each benefit received.

As with all Roth IRA contributions, the funds may be utilized at any time within the Roth IRA but will be subject to income tax, if removed before the account is five years old, and a 10% early distribution penalty, if under the age of 59½. Distributions from Coverdell ESAs are similarly tax-free to the extent that such funds are used for the beneficiary's qualified education expenses. Distributions that are not used for qualified education expenses are subject to penalties and taxation similar to those for qualified retirement plans.


2020 Rhode Island Bar Journal Award for Outstanding Contributor.
The Writing Award Committee also recognized Marc J. Soss, Esq., with an Outstanding Contributor Award based on his consistent and significant article submissions on important developments in the law. Attorney Soss has contributed thirteen articles to the Bar Journal in the past ten years, eight of which were submitted in the last five years. Both Gene and Marc will be honored with the awards when large gatherings are safely permitted.



Extended Contribution Age for those Working. Dating back to 1960’s concepts, prior law prohibited contributions to a traditional IRA account for those that had reached age 70½, even if still working. This created a dilemma as life expectancies increased and individuals worked later in life to fund longer retirements. The Secure Act now permits individuals to continue contributing to an IRA, so long as they continue working.

Required Minimum Distributions. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the age at which an individual will be required to begin making withdrawals from their traditional retirement account will increase from age 70 ½ to 72. This change will primarily benefit retirees who don’t need the funds and have not already reached age 70½. Those who are currently 70½ or older must continue withdrawing their required minimum distributions under current rules. However, those who reach age 70½ on or after Jan. 1, 2020, are subject to the new rules and will have an extra year and a half before they need to start making mandatory withdrawals.

Stretch IRA. The Secure Act effectively removes the Stretch IRA concept as an estate planning tool. Except for a surviving spouse, who may continue to withdraw the inherited IRA account over their life expectancy, beneficiaries will be required to draw down the account over a ten (10) year period. The funds may be withdrawn incrementally over the ten (10) year period, or all in one (1) or more years (including everything in year ten (10). A disabled or chronically ill individual or child of the account owner who has not reached the age of majority will also be excluded from the ten (10) year withdrawal requirement. This provision will not affect individuals who have already inherited an IRA and will only apply to those who inherit them starting on Jan. 1, 2020. This will preclude the account from continuing to grow on a tax-deferred basis into the future.


Retirement planning is poised for the first major piece of retirement legislation in a decade. After the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“Secure Act”) was approved by the Senate by a vote of 71 to 23, and the House by a vote of 297 to 120, President Trump signed it into law on December 20, 2019, as a part of spending and tax-extension bills. The Secure Act creates sweeping changes that immediately affect retirees and savers alike.


The Internal Revenue Service has announced the inflation adjustments for the estate and gift tax exclusion, the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption, the gift tax exclusion, and other estate planning rates for 2020.

- The federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts will increase from $11.4 million to $11.58 million.
- The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption will also increase to $11,580,000.
- The annual gift tax exclusion will remain at $15,000 per donor per donee per calendar year.

Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney's cover photo

Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney's cover photo

5 star Yelp review.: Marc Soss is a principled, knowledgeable attorney who knows his business who is going to tell it to...
Liz C.'s review of Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney

5 star Yelp review.: Marc Soss is a principled, knowledgeable attorney who knows his business who is going to tell it to you straight, offer excellent...

Marc Soss is a principled, knowledgeable attorney who knows his business. When you need an attorney who is going to tell it to you straight, offer excellent advice, and isn't...


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”) that went into effect on January 1, 2018, made important changes to existing tax laws. In the family law area, the Act eliminated the ability to deduct alimony payments made pursuant to divorces that are finalized after December 31, 2018. Under current tax law, alimony is tax deductible by the payor and taxable to the payee. This means that if you are the person paying alimony, then you get a deduction for the amount you paid. However, for divorces finalized on or after January 1, 2019, all alimony payments will be tax-neutral (non-deductible by the payor and no longer income to the recipient). The new tax law only impacts alimony payments that are required under divorce or separation instruments that are: (1) executed after December 31, 2018 or (2) modified after that date if the modification specifically states that the TCJA tax treatment of alimony payments (not deductible by the payer and not taxable income for the recipient) now applies. The reclassification of alimony payments is expected to make settlements more difficult as the higher-earning spouse will have more income taxes to pay and fewer funds with which to settle the case.


The Budget Act of 2018, signed into law on February 9, 2018, provides individuals with 401K retirement plans relaxed hardship restrictions. The new relaxed restrictions include: (i) Rescission of the IRS rule that prohibits a participant from making an elective 401(k) deferral for six months after taking a hardship withdrawal; (ii) Allowing plan participants to take a hardship withdrawal from funds attributable to qualified non-elective contributions or qualified matching contributions made by employers under a safe harbor plan; and (iii) Allowing a hardship withdrawal to include not only the actual amount of elective 401(k) deferrals made but the earnings on those contributions. The changes are effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2018.



On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”) that was passed by Congress on December 20, 2017. The Act will take effect on January 1, 2018 and will make important changes to existing federal estate and gift tax laws that impact you.

The Act doubles the individual federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax exemption from $5,490,000 ($5,000,000 adjusted for inflation in 2017) to $11,200,000 in 2018. On January 1, 2018, a couple will now be able to leave $22,400,000 to their heirs and beneficiaries without the funds or assets being subject to federal estate tax. The Act also maintains the basis step-up of inherited assets to their fair market value at death. The increased exemption is set to expire at the end 2025 and revert back to pre-2018 levels without further Congressional action.
The Act formalizes the annual gift tax exclusion amount increase from $14,000 per person (in 2017) to $15,000 per person (in 2018).

WILL OWNERSHIP OF MY HOME MAKE ME INELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAID BENEFITS?Many seniors become concerned when their resources st...


Many seniors become concerned when their resources start to dwindle whether they will lose their personal residence if they apply for Medicaid benefits and/or enter a nursing home. While this is a valid concern, many of these seniors are surprised to learn that there: (i) home; (ii) automobile; (iii) funeral and burial plot; (iv) life insurance (some types); and (v) a limited amount of cash ($2,000); are protected. These assets will not be taken by the federal or state government in order for you to qualify for Medicaid benefits. At your death, your state of residence can file a claim against your estate seeking recoupment of the funds expended for your benefit during your lifetime. However, the senior's personal residence and automobile will remain an exempt asset under Florida law.

These same seniors also inquire whether they should transfer their personal residence to their children to protect the asset. A transfer of this nature can make them ineligible for Medicaid benefits for a five (5) year time period if it is for less than market value. The only penalty free transfer of their personal residence can be made to: (i) a spouse; (ii) child under age 21 or who is disabled; (iii) into a trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65; (iv) sibling who has resided in the personal residence during the year preceding the applicant's institutionalization and who already holds an equity interest in the residence; or (v) a child of the senior who has lived in the personal residence for at least two (2) years prior to the senior's institutionalization and who during that period provided care that allowed the senior to avoid a nursing home stay.

Additionally, the transfer of a personal residence will cause it to avoid receiving a step-up in basis at the senior’s death. Under federal law inherited property receives the current value of the property. In contrast, a gift of property preserves in the recipient the transferor’s current basis for the property.

Knowledgeable and kind! Has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share it. No games, no hassle just great service with ...

Knowledgeable and kind! Has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share it. No games, no hassle just great service with a big helping of understanding !!

Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos


For most, the release of the Consumer Price Index by the Department of Labor goes unnoticed. However, this information allows for the prediction of the 2018 estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax amounts. Estate Tax Exemption – Under current federal tax law, a U.S. citizen may pass tax-free (by gift or at their death) the total sum of $5,490,000 to their heirs and beneficiaries (excluding their spouse). This amount is projected to increase to $5,600,000 in 2018. As a result, in 2018 a couple (U.S. citizens) will be able to collectively transfer $11,200,000.00 without incurring a federal estate or gift tax. This amount will also be applicable to gifts made to grandchildren and future generations (the generation-skipping transfer tax (GST)). Annual Gift Tax Exclusion –A U.S. citizen is entitled to gift a sum certain each year to an unlimited number of individuals (the “annual gift tax exclusion”) without any tax consequences. In 2018, the annual gift tax exclusion amount is projected to increase from $14,000 to $15,000 per individual recipient. The exclusion amount for gifts to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen (the so-called “super-annual exclusion”) is also projected to increase from $149,000 to $152,000.


In 2018, Florida voters will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to raise the Florida homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, on homes worth $100,000 or more. If 60% of voters approve, the new rate will take effect January 1, 2019. The Florida homestead exemption reduces the value of a Florida residents home for property tax assessment purposes. The proposed amendment would save Florida state residents about $644 million with the average homeowner receiving an annual savings of $170. Florida municipalities and counties are concerned about the decreased revenues impact...

Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney's cover photo

Marc J. Soss, Esq. - Sarasota Estate Planning & Probate Attorney's cover photo

DELAWARE v. NEVADA | ASSET PROTECTION TRUSTSDelaware has promoted itself as the top jurisdiction for creating an asset p...


Delaware has promoted itself as the top jurisdiction for creating an asset protection trust. However, a 2014 court decision, Kloiber v. Kloiber, has put the creators of Delaware Asset Protection Trusts on notice of possibly choppy waters ahead. The case involved a Delaware Dynasty Trust (DDT) which had been established for a son, who later became embrioled in a divorce, his son’s spouse, and their descendants. At the time of the divorce, the trust’s assets totaled around $310 million. The settlement forced the trust to be severed, creating a separate trust for the wife which was funded with some of the original trust assets, and rendered the asset protection plan useless when the now ex-wife received assets intended solely for the son, his spouse, and his descendants. Individuals are now considering creating asset protection trusts in Nevada over Delaware because Nevada does not allow for claims from “exception creditors” (claims for alimony and spousal support from an ex-spouse).

IRS TAX DEBT CAN RESULT IN PASSPORT DENIAL OR REVOCATIONIn December 2015, legislation went into effect that requires the...

In December 2015, legislation went into effect that requires the IRS to provide a list of names to the State Department of individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debt” (more than $50,000 in unpaid federal taxes, including interest and penalties). These individuals, if their tax debt is not resolved (pays the tax in full, enters into an installment agreement, an offer in compromise with the IRS or a timely request for collection due process hearing), are at risk of having their U.S. passports revoked within the next few months. The legislation requires that the State Department to refuse to issue new passports and provides them with discretion to revoke currently issued passports. The IRS recently announced that it would begin sending IRS Letters 508C, notice of certification of seriously delinquent federal tax debt to the State Department, to the taxpayer’s last-known address. The letter will inform the taxpayer that the IRS has certified him/her as owing “seriously delinquent tax debt.” At that time, the IRS will also send the certification to the State Department. The IRS reports that the State Department will take action within 90 days.

BURIAL WITH MY PET: Our beloved pets (dogs, cats, pigs, birds, etc..) are typically buried in a pet cemetery. However, t...

Our beloved pets (dogs, cats, pigs, birds, etc..) are typically buried in a pet cemetery. However, there is a growing movement today to allow pet owners to be buried (or their cremated ashes) with their pets in a human cemetery. New York is just one of a few states to pass laws allowing such burials (in cemeteries that are willing to handle them, as Church cemeteries may opt out). Similar bills are pending in Louisiana, Indiana, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. In Pennsylvania, cemeteries can offer one section for people, another for pets, and a third area for both. Virginia permits pets and owners to lie in a designated area of a cemetery, as long as they’re in separate caskets. The issue impacts over half of the households in the U.S. On an international level, Germany has allowed owner-pet cemeteries for several years. While the idea may seem strange to none pet owners, individuals devoted to their pets consider them members of the family and grieve their deaths deeply.


2070 Ringling Blvd
Sarasota, FL

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Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00


(941) 928-0310


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Four (4) decades of legal experience assisting individuals and business entities on the Florida West Coast (Sarasota, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Casey Key, Venice, Osprey, Nokomis, Englewood, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, University Park, Naples, Ft. Myers, Palmetto, and Ellenton) in the areas of Estate Planning (Wills, Revocable Trust, Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will, ...), Asset Protection, Probate & Trust Administration and Litigation, Guardianship Administration and Litigation proceedings and Florida Business & Corporate Law (corporate entities, shareholders, LLC members and partners in business transactions, succession planning, mergers & acquisitions and business disputes). Each client knows they will receive the highest quality legal representation based on my experience and integrity. Other lawyers, both inside and outside the state of Florida, regularly refer clients to me in my focus areas. I am honored by their confidence. I pride myself on my ability to form long lasting relationships with my clients. It is my goal to provide you with personalized attention, high quality legal service and my years of expertise. Our legal services are tailored to your unique needs. My reward is satisfied clients! Call me to schedule an appointment in my Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch office. We can also visit you at home, if it is difficult for you to get around, or your office to accommodate your schedule.

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I would appreciate a recommendation on Nextdoor.
Merry Christmas Mark to you and yours. Maybe once I heal up...we could get together and play a round of golf?