There are far too many people who fail to take action from an estate planning perspective. Studies are done to gain an understanding of the subject, and they consistently yield less than encouraging results. In fact, the majority of adult Americans are not prepared for something that is definitely going to happen to all of us.
Some people assume that everything will just fall into place if they were to pass away without a will or trust. In reality, people that you love may be left out in the cold if you do not create a will or a trust to state your final wishes.
If you were to pass away without a will or trust, the property that was in your direct personal possession would become intestate property. The probate court would take over, and the estate would be responsible for your final debts, including taxes. Ultimately, the remainder would be transferred via the intestate succession laws of the state of Florida.
The exact way that the assets would be distributed would depend upon the familial relationships that you had when you passed away. We are not going to get into every possible scenario, but we will look at a few common circumstances that can exist.
If you had children but no surviving spouse, your children would inherit all of your intestate property. Your surviving spouse would inherit everything if you did not have any descendents.
The intestate succession laws would allow for your spouse to inherit everything if the only living descendents were from you and that spouse. More complicated rules would be applied if there were descendents from other relationships.
Sometimes a person will pass away intestate without any living relatives. When these circumstances exist, escheat laws can enter the picture. Under these laws, the state could absorb the resources after a certain period of time.
As you can see when you learn the facts, it is very possible that people that you love could be disinherited or shortchanged if you pass away without a will or trust. Estate planning is a core responsibility of adulthood, and you should carefully consider the way that you want to distribute your resources to your loved ones.
Slicing up the pie is one thing, but there are various different asset transfer methods, and you should understand all of the facts and make fully informed decisions.
If you are ready to get started, attend one of our free workshops. We hold workshops on a monthly basis throughout southwest Florida, and you can visit our schedule page to find an information session that fits into your schedule: Fort Myers FL Estate Planning.