There are some people here in Florida who think that estate plans are only for those people with incredible wealth. Perhaps perpetuated by Hollywood and what we see on television, we'd like to point out to those who are new to our blog that this sentiment simply isn't true. As any of our regular readers here in Melbourne will tell you, everyone should create an estate plan, regardless of the size of their estate.
One important reason that everyone should have an estate plan is because of intestate succession. If you're unfamiliar with this term, that's okay. Many people have never heard of it and therefore have no idea how impactful it can be later on. In today's post we're going to look at intestacy laws in Florida and help answer the question:
What is intestate succession and how will it affect inheritance?
Simply put, intestate succession is a set of guidelines established in each state that determines who should get what from an estate in the event that it has not been accounted for in a will or if there is no will. Intestate succession follows a hierarchy of family members, starting with spouses and children then works its way down to more distant relatives. Property is first given to family at the top of this hierarchy then so on down the line in accordance with the law.
As you may realize, intestate succession gives the court the authority to make decisions about who gets what from your estate. This may not sit well with many here in Florida, including you who may not want to leave this control in the hands of someone who knows nothing about you. It's for this reason that it's important to talk to a lawyer about establishing a will and an estate plan.
By dictating in a will which family members you would like to receive which parts of your estate, you increase the chances of avoiding intestate succession down the road. And for a lot of people, this is oftentimes the goal of the estate plan.