Failure to do any estate planning can cause serious problems in the future for an individual’s family, especially if there is no will for the decedent. However, even with a will there are still many ways in which the distribution of assets could result in less than beneficial outcomes for intended heirs in Florida and other states. Many times, poor estate planning decisions in the will can also cause unforeseen problems for heirs.
This is what happened with one family that owned a farmhouse which the family had owned and operated for three generations. One of the family sons helped his father build the farm and worked full-time on the farm. He was also in charge of caring for his elderly parents. In contrast, his siblings ended up leaving the farm to work in other professions besides farming.
The father more than likely wanted the son who stayed working on the farm to obtain ownership of the farm after the father’s assets were distributed following his death, while the siblings would receive the other assets. However, when he died, the father’s will instructed to give everything to his wife. Then, when his wife died, her will instructed that all assets would be left to the four children equally, which meant that the son who stayed on the farm was left to work on the farm while the other three siblings remained silent partners. The farmer son was then required to pay rent to the other three siblings for using their share of the farming businessEventually, the three silent partners asked for more money for rent, which was a problem because the farmer son did not have enough money to purchase his siblings’ interests in the farming business which he operated. The farm was eventually sold, which left the farmer son without a home and a job. Although this was an unfortunate incident, this type of situation can be avoided by careful estate planning based upon knowledge of applicable laws and how they affect different situations in Florida.