Estate Planning Tips for “Small” Estates

March 16, 2023

Estate planning is for everyone. It’s important to state that because many people and families believe they don’t have enough to constitute an “estate,” but that’s very rarely the case. What’s true is that estates can be big or small, and each estate deserves the delicate planning needed to take care of your hard work.

We can boil this thinking down further and instead of looking at an “estate” we can look at individual assets. The reality is that if you have any assets like a car, a home, or any other tangible asset then you should have a plan for that asset when you die. That’s where an estate plan comes in. So, what would that plan look like when you have limited assets?

A will is a “simple” document

The general public often thinks of wills when they think of estate planning. These are often referred to as “simple” documents because they are short, efficient, and may be able to cover all the needs of your estate.

Your will should outline who you are, what assets you own, what you want to happen to those assets when you pass away, and who you want to handle that process for you. If you have minor children, your will would also be an opportunity to outline their care after you’re gone. Even if you’re young you should be considering who can step up to care for your children as we can’t always predict when things go wrong.

Summary Administration

Another option that can be used is a Summary Administration. This is an efficient probate administration process that allows for small estates to be executed quickly. These are reserved for estates valued under $75,000.

This process will be initiated by a filing to the court either by someone designated to represent the estate. The petition must include information related to the assets, their values, and the planned distribution. Once approved by the court, the distribution of assets can take place immediately.

Work with an attorney

Some estates don’t need an attorney to be involved, but that’s rare and even in those cases it may be legally sound to speak to an attorney first. You never know when circumstances may change and your estate will need an overhaul. It’s important to start that relationship early and make sure you get off on the right foot.

At Schlegel Livingston, we care about working with our clients through life’s most important moments. If you are putting together a Florida estate plan or need help executing an estate plan for a loved one, contact our team today.