Nobody can predict the future; however, that does not mean that individuals shouldn’t prepare for the future. Unfortunately, many families in Florida and other states are not making the necessary preparations for estate administration in the case of an unexpected death. Approximately 56 percent of families do not have estate plans in place, which leaves the assets of their estates unprotected. This could result in distribution of assets to unintended beneficiaries rather than one’s intended heirs.
Without proper estate planning documents after one’s death, a distant relative who has been estranged may suddenly come into the picture and request his or her share of an individual’s estate. Estate planning documents specify how people want their estate assets distributed; however, without these legal documents distant relatives may end up with more of a person’s inheritance than that person would have wanted. This could cause intended heirs to receive less assets than intended or possibly even be completely cut out of an inheritance.
When there are no estate planning documents with instructions on how to distribute assets, state laws will determine who will receive which assets. Therefore, a court judge will ultimately decide where one’s assets will be distributed based upon the judge’s interpretation of the law. Hence, legal and financial experts strongly suggest that people have a last will and testament, power of attorney and trusts in place to ensure estate assets are properly protected.
However, not just any template document will work for proper planning for estate administration in Florida. Since each situation is different estate planning documents will need to be tailored to specific circumstances. Also, these legal documents will need to be periodically updated in order to reflect any relevant changes in one’s situation such as going through a divorce or remarrying.