Why Everyone Needs a Will—Including You
Often, people’s minds conjure images of sprawling, well-manicured lawns, vast mansions, and huge bank accounts when they hear the words “estate planning.” That reaction is warranted; tabloid magazines and websites are quick to report on disputes that arise between heirs of celebrities. The truth is that Wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents are not just for the rich and famous—they’re for all adults with any money or property to their name.
Nearly all estate planners use Wills to distribute property to their heirs and beneficiaries. In other words, you get to choose who gets your personal assets and property when you pass away. If you pass away without a Will, the state of Florida gets to distribute your estate in the way you might want it to be distributed. This is referred to as the state’s intestacy laws. Intestate succession assumes that you’d want your surviving spouse to get a large portion of your estate, followed by your children, grandchildren, parents, and extended relatives. It might hew closely to what you would actually want, but it is unlikely to be exactly what you want.
There is a lot of work to do after a loved one passes away. You must settle final debts, advertise the estate in the newspaper, notify representatives from financial institutions, and satisfy other legal obligations. You don’t need to be a legal expert to handle the disposition of an estate, but it certainly helps to be trustworthy and organized. The court will name a personal representative to take care of these important tasks, but it’s always better to designate someone ahead of time.
Naming Successor Guardians
Having children is one of the most common triggering events for spurring adults to draft a Will. This is because one of the features of a Will is being able to name someone to step in and care for your minor children if something were to happen to both you and the other parent.
In the absence of a guardianship designation, there could be a long and stressful court process to determine the rightful successor guardians. The guardian or guardians for your children could be people you’d never want to care for them.
Of the many estate planning documents at your disposal, the Last Will and Testament would likely be the foundation of your estate plan. The simplest functions of your Will are to make property distributions, name guardians who would care for your minor children in your absence, and appoint an executor to tie up your estate’s loose ends.
Beyond that, there are countless ways you could approach your estate planning. To find out exactly what your estate plan needs, you need to speak with an attorney who has experience in crafting effective estate plans for people of all walks of life. Alvarez Law Group would be honored to sit down with you and make sure your future is secure. Give us a call at (786) 620-2820 to set up an appointment with our team.