Why You Should Not Delay in Creating Your Estate Plan
Of all the things people hate talking about, death is probably right at the top. Sure, no one wants to discuss what will happen when they die, but putting off the conversation is not going to make you live forever. On the other hand, knowing that you have a solid and informed plan can actually improve your peace of mind. Here are just a few reasons why you should not continue putting off creating your final estate plan.
It may be cliché, but it is true. Accidents do happen. If you are not prepared, your loved ones could experience a lot of hardship and inconvenience when you pass away. Even if you consider yourself far too young to discuss your final affairs. Without considering your estate plan in advance, you are allowing the state to decide your final affairs for you.
Not Having a Will Means Letting the State Decide
USA Today reported that according to an independent survey in 2015, 64% of adults do not have a will. When you die without a will, your state’s intestate statute will decide how and to whom your assets are distributed. This means that well over half of all American adults are choosing, perhaps not intentionally, to let their states decide who gets their possessions and life savings when they die. Worse yet, by not having a will, they are allowing their states to decide who may make important final decisions about paying their estates’ debts and even handling the distribution of their assets.
Your Health may Deteriorate
Although Florida has a low mental capacity threshold for writing a will, you should not wait too long. A serious injury, head trauma, or the onset of a disease like dementia could make it so that you are unable to legally create an estate plan. Once your mental ability is diminished, it is often no longer possible to make those types of decisions. Putting off your estate plan means gambling against time.
It can be More Expensive to Die Without a Will
Without a will, the court can force your heirs to post a bond in order to act as representative. Often the process of administering a probate estate without a will can require additional notice and other things that can increase costs. More importantly, however, without a will, you do not get to decide who handles your estate. Anyone legally permitted to act as your estate’s representative can petition for appointment. You know your heirs better than the state, so you should be the one to decide who will handle things when you are gone.
What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will in Florida?
In Florida, the law provides that when you die without a will, there is a line of succession in distributing your assets. If you are married but have no living direct descendants (children or grandchildren), your entire estate goes to your spouse. For those who marry later in life, this can be devastating to close siblings, cousins, or lifelong friends. Also consider that in some cases, half of your estate automatically goes to your surviving spouse with the other half split among your children. For some, this provision is fine, but for those who marry later in life and have adult children from prior marriages, this may not be desirable.
If you are concerned about what will happen to your assets and debts when you die, you should call an experienced Jacksonville estate-planning attorney. Contact attorney Judy-Ann Smith at (904) 562-1369 to discuss your estate plan today.