Although the recent pandemic has encouraged many individuals to consider what would happen upon death, the majority of folks believe they have time to overcome this issue when considering planning for the end of their life. They simply do not want to address it. The reality is most individuals have no idea how much time they may have left on earth. Illness and accidents happen.
According to AARP only 40% of American adults have a will or a living trust. Sadly, failing to create an estate plan can leavee the ones you love the most in the lurch. Excuses for failing to create a plan are endless, from being young or childless to being single or simply refusing to face mortality. Unfortunately, without a clear set of instructions you wind up leaving a mess for those grieving your passing.
When you die without a will or trust it is commonly known as dying intestate. Because 60% of Americans do not have a will, states have created statutes to address the issue of intestacy. As a result the state rather than you decides how your assets will be distributed without any input from you or your loved ones. The state then addresses countless concerns including who will care for your minor children or pets. Who will be responsible for distributing your assets and how they will be distributed.
Florida law only gives a portion of the assets to the surviving spouse when there are children involved. When you die intestate your estate, no matter how small or large will need to go through probate and the court rather than yourself will determine who the personal representative will be. If your family disagrees with who should serve in that capacity the court will make that decision and in some instances can even appoint a total stranger.
By creating a will or a trust you can determine who will care for your minor children and how your assets will be distributed and when they will be distributed. If you have a will from out of state it is time to consider updating it to make sure it conforms to the state of Florida. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of failing to plan.
There are countless individuals from Prince, to Aretha Franklin and more that did not take the time to draft a simple willor a trust. As a result their estates may be be tied up in probate courts for a decade or more. This can all be avoided with reaching out, taking the bull by the horns and addressing issues you might not feel comfortable with. Taking the steps today is a loving endeavor for the ones you leave behind