Despite the benefits of estate planning, many people fail to have updated and accurate wills. Some assume that it is not necessary if they are not wealthy, and others assume that it is not necessary because a family member will make sure that the distribution of property goes as planned.
In reality, failure to have a will is a huge risk as it increases the chance that the default laws of Florida will dictate the distribution of your property, not your desires or those of your family members. The best way to control what happens to your property after your death is to have a current will.
What can a will do?
A will is a tool that is useful to outline a strategy regarding what you want to happen to your assets, savings, property and other valuable items after your death. However, a will is about more than listing who gets what; it is about outlining your wishes regarding the following matters:
- The sale of any real estate
- Naming an executor of your will
- Guardianship appointments for minor children
- Plans for savings set aside for children
- Succession plans for your small business
- Property distribution to your spouse, children and others
Wills vary in complexity and terminology, each one drafted according to the specific wishes and desires of the individual making the will. This step is not one reserved only for the wealthy, but is a positive effort for any person who wishes to make sure that his or her hard-earned money and assets either stay in the family or end up in the right place.
There are certain types of property that are not transferrable in a will. Non-probate assets will pass to the surviving owner or the designated beneficiary.
Your family's future is on the line
Not only does a will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are cared for in the event of your death, it can also allow your family members to avoid the stress than can come from probate, disputes over property and some estate taxes.
It is wise to work with a lawyer who can help you design a will uniquely tailored to your needs, your financial situation and your legal objectives. Do not leave your family's future to chance or allow Florida law to determine the settling of your estate. You should make the effort today to have a strong and updated will in place.