A lot of Americans don’t want to think about estate planning. In fact, 64 percent of us have not made a will, 27% of whom feel there is no urgent need. Most people who do make wills are 60 or older.
In short, a lot of us avoid thinking about what will happen after we are dead. And as the recent hassle over Prince’s will highlights, this can cause all kinds of problems for our families – another reason people don’t make wills is because they believe only rich and famous people need them.
If you do not make a will, your state essentially makes one for you – every state has rules for intestate succession. In Florida, this means that if you have children but no living spouse, everything goes to your kids, if you are married everything goes to your spouse unless you have children by somebody else – and then it gets complicated. Not everything is considered intestate property either. For example, if you and your spouse are both on the deed for your house, then your spouse gets the house no matter what.
Complicated? If you cannot keep up already, then you need a lawyer. You particularly need a lawyer if you have property you want to leave to somebody outside your immediate family or to a charity, if you want to protect a beloved pet, if you want to make sure something goes to your children or stepchildren without it first going to your spouse, etc. These things can cause squabbles if they are not set out clearly, and the law may give property to the last person you actually wanted it to go to.
In other words, everyone should make a will unless the laws for their state exactly match what they want to have happen, and everyone in the tri-county area needs a good Tri-County Area FL estate planning lawyer to help them ensure their legacy goes where they want it to go.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisement.