What Happens if You Die Without an Estate Plan?

Over half of Americans don’t have an estate plan, which raises an important question: What happens if you die without one? The answer is heavily dependent on your personal circumstances – but it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what may happen to your assets if you die without an estate plan in place.

The probate court administers estates in Florida when a person dies without a will or other estate planning documents in place, known as “intestate”. The court oversees the process of probate administration to ensure the decedent’s debts are paid and that their assets are properly distributed among beneficiaries. If no will exists or the will is invalid (which may be due to a legal problem with the document), the Florida court will appoint an administrator of the estate to oversee the distribution of the deceased person’s property in accordance with Florida’s laws of intestacy.

If you die without a will or other estate plan, your property will be distributed according to a few predetermined guidelines. If you have no spouse or children, your assets will be distributed to your parents. If your parents are deceased, the assets will be divided among your siblings. If you have no siblings, your assets will be split between grandparents. However, if your grandparents have also passed away, the state will take control of all your assets. This process of distributing assets is called intestate succession.

If this seems like an uncertain picture of how your assets will be distributed, that’s because it is. Without an estate plan in place, the distribution of your assets is highly dependent on many circumstances that are outside of your control. Creating a will or trust is the best way to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes, and not left up to random chance.

A well-thought-out estate plan is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your family. It provides peace of mind in knowing that your wishes will be carried out, and can help to avoid potential conflict among beneficiaries. An estate plan can also minimize the taxes and other expenses associated with probate.

If you’re ready to start on your own estate planning, or if you simply want to avoid the trouble of probate for your loved ones, contact Schlegel-Livingston Law today to discuss how you can develop an effective plan to protect your family’s future.

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Schlegel Livingston LLC

Schlegel Livingston, LLC is an established real estate and probate/estate planning law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We pride ourselves on being a very hands-on law office who will help our clients by any means necessary.

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