A will is often a central feature of a strong estate plan. While many people may think of a will as something where you set forth who you want to leave your assets and other property to when you pass away, it can be so much more. When you die without having a valid will in place, your heirs and estate can miss out on many valuable opportunities that you may have wanted for them.
What Happens If I Die Without a Will?
Dying without a valid will in place is referred to as dying “intestate.” When a person dies intestate, state intestacy laws take over and dictate how a person’s property will be distributed. In Florida, like most other states, the state intestacy law distributes the property of the deceased according to levels of surviving family members. The intestacy law starts with those closer familial relationships such as children, parents, siblings, etc., and moves out to farther reaching family relationships if there are no closer surviving family members. Should a person have no surviving family members, then his or her property will escheat to the State of Florida. Escheat means that the property will pass into the State’s ownership.
One of the biggest things that is not accomplished when there is no legally valid will in place is that a person’s property passes according to state law and not necessarily according to his or her wishes. You may think that you have nothing of value to pass on, but a will can direct where you want any asset to go after you pass away, not just those of substantial value. Many things may hold a great deal of sentimental value and can be priceless to you. If you have things that are of sentimental value, you likely want to know that they will end up in the trusted hands of someone that will appreciate what the object meant to you. Be sure to put a valid will in place so that you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most treasured possessions will find a good home after you pass away.
Another very important thing that can be accomplished by having a valid will is naming a guardian of any surviving children you may have at the time you pass away. Many people may not associate this with a will, but it is something more people should know about. Without a will naming a guardian you want for your children, the decision will rest with the court system. With a valid will that names a guardian, you are empowered to select a trusted individual you will feel comfortable with and confident in their abilities to provide a strong home for your children.
Estate Planning Attorney
To help you put a will in place along with other legal tools used to establish a strong estate plan, Verras Law is here for you. Contact Verras Law today.