A Last Will and Testament is a document that, in its simplest form, establishes how you wish your personal property and debt to be distributed or satisfied. A will can address guardianship elections for a minor child, include burial instructions, and even take care of charitable giving following your death. Whether you need a will or another estate planning strategy is an important conversation to have with an attorney who handles this area of law. At Shulman Law, we can provide insight to what is the appropriate way to handle your estate so you get the result you want for your heirs.
Many clients come in and ask for a will without knowing how it works in the real world. Did you know that if you have a will, with no other estate planning documents, that there is a good chance your estate will still go to probate? A judge in your jurisdiction will still have to receive the will, creditor issues will have to be dealt with, and heirs can still contest a will. Whether a will is the right move for your estate can only be answered by an estate planning attorney.
But what about those online will forms? In short, they’re worthless. Even if you correctly provide all of the information, there is no way to tell whether the document you create from a pre-filled form will work for your jurisdiction. What if you found out that the $10 form you filled out is erroneous, and will cost your heirs thousands of dollars in probate? Do your family, your heirs, or your dog a huge favor and meet with an estate planning attorney for a consultation.
What happens if I die without a Will?
To truly understand the value of Estate Planning is to understand the consequences of having no Estate Plan. In Florida, if you were to die without a will, any assets that would have passed through the will go through Intestate Succession. What does that mean and who gets your property? Well, it is not a straightforward answer. Intestate Succession, or distribution to your lineage, depends on whether you’re married, whether you have children, who comprises your family, and what other planning you may have done.
For instance, the way a piece of property is deeded will determine whether that property would be subject to probate. If the property is deeded with survivorship, then the will would have no effect on that property, and it would pass to the survivor. If you have a life insurance policy, and no will, there is no impact – life insurance proceeds go to the beneficiary named in the life insurance policy, and the will would have no effect on that policy. But what about a bank account with no co-signer, no beneficiary, no Payable on Death designation? Or, what about the safety deposit box? How do you determine which of the kids or grandkids get to benefit from the proceeds of funds left behind? Passing without Estate Planning documents can truly leave a headache for your family.
At Shulman Law, there are Estate Planning packages available, or a la carte services, to meet your needs. Set up a consultation today to help maneuver your estate, and LEAD your legacy.
Shulman Law is a full service Estate Planning Law Firm that can assist with all areas of Estate Planning, including: Contested Wills, Health Care Surrogate, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Pre-need Guardianship, Inheritance, Living Wills, Missing Heir Searches, Contested Trusts and Estates, Decedents Estates, Estate Administration, Estate Litigation, Estate Planning, Estate Planning for Parents of Handicapped Children, Estate Planning for the Disabled, Estate Planning for the Elderly, Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples, Estate Planning for Gay and Lesbian Couples, LGBTQ Estate Planning, Estate Settlements, Family Trusts, Family Wealth Transfer, Financial Planning, Living Trusts, Personal Planning, Pet Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Revocable v. Irrevocable Trusts, Retirement Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Trust Administration, Trust and Estate Collections, Trust Law, Trust Litigation, Trust Planning, Unclaimed Property, Wealth Planning, and Wealth Preservation.