Many people in Florida rely on benefits they receive from the federal government, whether it comes in the form of Medicaid coverage or Social Security checks. With looming cuts to several national programs, Florida residents can breathe a little easier knowing that several programs that could affect their financial decisions will remain untouched.

Florida legislators have begun to prepare for a potential $1.2 trillion in budget cuts as federal lawmakers remain unable to repair the federal budget. The cuts are expected to affect a number of government agencies and industries within the state, but Medicaid, veterans' benefits and Social Security recipients will be better off in Florida than some other states, as those programs are protected from budget cuts.

The exemption of Medicaid from budget cuts means that recipients will not be saddled with higher copayments, but Medicare Advantage programs are likely to increase in price due to lowered subsidies for private insurers.

Protecting Medicaid is particularly important in Florida, which contains an above-average amount of elderly and poor residents that rely on government aid. The federal government spent about $25 billion on Medicare in 2009 on Florida alone, providing ongoing care for about 3.4 million senior citizens. Florida is expected to receive over $13 billion in coverage for its 3 million low-income recipients. The state's 3.7 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive around $47 billion, in all.

Some may be wondering what this has to do with estate planning. The answer is that it could significantly affect the way a person chooses to configure an estate plan. Because budget cuts will not affect certain health care programs, many Floridians may be able to put more money into a trust that would eventually be passed on to an heir. This news can also affect the way a person plans for the possible need of long-term care. For those who may be creating a new estate plan or would like to reconfigure an existing plan, speaking to an experienced attorney may be helpful.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Federal Budget Cuts in Florida likely to hurt," Mark K. Matthews, Sept. 6, 2011