What happens to our assets after we pass away? While the conversation may be uncomfortable, the reality is that without a proper estate plan
in place, you leave behind a host of legal complications that could strain your loved ones emotionally and financially. If you do not have a will or trust when you die, the rules of intestacy would apply which means the law in your state determine who gets your stuff when you die. Miller Elder Law Firm, we combine expertise and compassion to help you navigate this crucial aspect of life planning. Here are five critical reasons why you should consider creating or updating your will or trust.
1. Asset Division in Second Marriages
Second marriages bring joy and companionship, but they also bring complex legal challenges. If you do not have a will or trust, the laws of intestacy would apply, potentially dividing your assets between your children and your second marriage family. It’s imperative that you dictate how you want your assets to be distributed to avoid unintended and possibly contentious outcomes.
2. Guardian for Minor Children
If you have minor children, it is of paramount importance to appoint a guardian
in your will. This not only ensures that your children are cared for by someone you trust, but it also avoids the involvement of the court in making that decision for you. Both spouses should ideally appoint the same guardian, and consider whether this guardian would still be suitable if they were to divorce or one were to pass away.
3. Testamentary Trusts for Minors
Without a testamentary trust in place, your children will receive all their inheritance the moment they turn 18. To avoid this potentially problematic situation, a testamentary trust can be set up to manage the distrib ution of assets, ensuring they are used wisely and sparingly until your children reach an age where they can responsibly manage them.
4. Bond Waiver for Personal Representatives
Probate proceedings often require personal representatives to post a bond, a financial safeguard to ensure proper estate administration. This can be expensive. For instance, an estate worth $500,000 could necessitate a bond of $8,000 to $10,000. A bond waiver in your will can remove this requirement, making it easier and less expensive for your loved ones to carry out your wishes.
5. The Elective Share Rule in Florida
One of the lesser-known facets of estate planning in Florida is the elective share. Contrary to popular belief, leaving your spouse off your will doesn’t mean your children will inherit everything. In Florida, a spouse can claim 30% of the estate’s assets, even if not named as a beneficiary.
The Time to Act is Now
While discussing death can be emotionally challenging, it’s crucial to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Our Florida-based Miller Elder Law Firm team is here to guide you through every step of the process. Whether you’re creating your first will or updating an existing one, we offer you the highest level of expertise, experience, and intimate knowledge of Florida law.
Contact our office at 352.379.1900 for a comprehensive consultation. Because when it comes to protecting your loved ones and preserving your legacy, leaving things to chance is not an option. You may also complete the form below the video and we will contact you. We look forward to helping you and your family.