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What happens if you die without a last will on record?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Procrastination is part of human nature. The more unpleasant the task is, the more excuses someone will find to delay doing it.

Estate planning doesn’t feature highly on anyone’s list of fun activities. Thinking about your death and about the financial needs of the people you love when you’re not there to help them out is not a pleasant way to spend the day.

However, if you don’t plan now, the people you love are the ones who may suffer. If you don’t create a last will before you pass away, the people you love will be at the mercy of Florida law and the probate courts.

The Sunshine State has a set of rules for those who die without a will

When someone dies without a last will, they have died intestate. Intestate succession laws in Florida govern how the probate courts distribute the property of someone who did not leave written directions.

The rules for distributing such property focus on family relationships. If you have a spouse but no children, your spouse will usually receive 100% of your estate. If you have children, your spouse and your children will share the inheritance. The nature of your spouse’s relationship to the children, whether they are a stepparent or biological, will influence how much your kids receive and how much your spouse will.

If you aren’t married and don’t have kids, it will be your parents who inherit. If your parents died before you, then your siblings or other relatives will be the ones to inherit from your estate. Especially if you have a romantic partner that you don’t intend to marry or have become estranged from your biological family, dying without a last will might mean that the outcome of your estate is the opposite of what you might prefer.

There is always an opportunity to revisit your plan later

Maybe you hope to have children, intend to sell your house in the next year or otherwise foresee big life changes on the horizon. Those changes are often an excuse people use to continue putting off their estate planning.

The truth is that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. You can be perfectly healthy and die in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. If you don’t have a plan in place when tragedy strikes, the people that you love the most may struggle without your support during that difficult time.

Creating an estate plan now, even though your circumstances will change, protects you and the people you love. You will also always have the opportunity to revisit your estate planning to make changes when you acquire assets, expand your family or change your relationships.