Why do I Need a Will?

When you die, things can get messy. It is not uncommon to see families fight over assets and damage long-standing relationships in the process. Even if your family is entirely on the same page, not having a will can leave them with the headache of sorting through and settling your affairs, often losing money in the process.

A will is a legal document that outlines exactly what your wishes are as to how your assets are managed. A good will saves your family time, money, and energy after your death by clearly outlining how your estate is to be handled.

In addition to giving you control over your assets after your death, your will also speeds up how quickly your heirs will gain access to the things you have left them. A carefully constructed will also can minimize or offset estate taxes owed.

Preventing Challenges to Your Will

If you want to make sure your will is fully carried out to the letter and that there are no challenges dragging down how quickly your heirs gain access to your estate, a written will that has been prepared and witnessed by a lawyer is best. This is doubly true if you own a business of any kind as business affairs can become entangled with family affairs otherwise.

What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Florida?

  • The intestate succession laws found in the Florida Probate Code dictate what happens if you die without a will as a Florida resident.
  • A surviving spouse will inherit 100% of the deceased’s estate when all descendants are of the surviving spouse.
  • When you have a surviving spouse and descendants from a previous marriage, the surviving spouse and the descendants from the previous marriage each get 50% of the estate.
  • When your surviving spouse has children from a previous marriage, the surviving spouse gets 50% and descendants of the deceased get 50%.
  • If there is no surviving spouse, your descendants get 100% of the estate.
  • With no surviving spouse or descendants, your estate will go to your parents, or in their absence, siblings.
  • In the absence of any spouse, children, parents, siblings, or nieces and nephews, 50% of the estate goes to the maternal family and 50% to the paternal family, tracing back as far as great-grandparents.

Even if the default option agrees with your intentions, it is still best to have a will. Florida law does not include any provisions for things such as keeping a family home in the absence of a will, and so it may force your children to sell said home even if one would have liked to keep it.

Not Sure What Needs to be in Your Will?

It is important to discuss your wishes with a lawyer to be sure there are no surprises for your family after your passing. We offer free consultations to help you get on the right track, including what kind of will may be the best option for your situation. Contact Millman Law Group today to learn more.