Anyone who is considering drafting a will or making other plans to distribute their property should realize that it is best to not delay and contact a legal professional to assist with this process. If no valid will is on file, the property will be distributed according to a set of default rules given by the state.
Disputes over inheritance can cause serious problems
A survey of probate and estate planning professionals in Florida found that disputes over inheritance can cause significant problems and cost more money than any taxation issues.
About 44% of professionals in the legal profession and finance found that arguments within a family are the biggest threat to inheritance and an additional source of costs due to legal fees and other issues. The structure of families in contemporary society tends to amplify these issues, as traditional nuclear families become less common. People are also much more likely to divorce and remarry, which can create situations where a parent splits their wealth between children of multiple marriages. When remarriages result in significant age differences between spouses, this also creates a number of issues. Professionals claim that they see these kinds of issues time and time again, and it is not always easy to resolve the situation.
Communication is another serious problem. Over two thirds of all people who are expecting an inheritance have no idea exactly what they are getting or what to expect. Some of these individuals will be disappointed by receiving much smaller amounts than they initially anticipated. About one in four individuals surveyed also say that they have already experienced arguments or family problems due to possible inheritance issues. Early planning is one of the best ways to avoid this.
The process of determining whether a will is valid
Probate courts will examine a will after the testator has died to make sure it meets the legal requirements to be validly executed in Florida. If the courts determine that the document was written in accordance with local law, the property will be distributed as instructed. If not, the person will be considered to have died intestate, which means that a state statute determines how the property will be distributed among any surviving family members and relatives.
Because intestacy leaves no control over where the property will ultimately end up, it is recommended to have a valid will drafted and possibly do some other basic estate planning if you have significant assets.
Get in touch with a local property attorney
There are lawyers who focus their practice on wills, trusts, estate planning, and related matters in the St. Petersburg area. The Baby Boomers’ Barrister is available to help with all of these issues.