Creating an estate plan is an important duty for everyone, not just for wealthy people or those with young children. Once you are gone, it is time for the estate plan to turn into action.
Going through probate allows the decedent’s will to be executed according to his or her wishes -- if there is not a successful challenge to its validity. The probate process also allows people who believe they were wrongfully denied beneficiary status, or were given less than they believe the decedent actually intended, to contest the will.
Many Florida residents choose to set up trusts to handle the bulk of their estates. This can be the best solution for many people. One common reason many people give is the desire to avoid having their estates going through probate after they pass away, in order to get around the estate tax or complications distributing the assets to their intended beneficiaries.
We have talked about trusts as a useful tool when it comes to estate planning in Florida. Although it can (and should) be used by individuals at any wealth level, it is especially useful and important when you have the riches of, say, Robin Williams. Although most of our readers have heard about the tragic end to his life in August of this year, we just recently learned that there will be a positive outcome to the distribution of his estate.
While you are alive, you can change the terms of your estate plan. This reflects the fact that as the years pass, people come in and out of your life, and your priorities may change. However, if you are not careful about how you amend your will, beneficiaries who now will receive less -- or nothing at all -- may challenge the new will when the time comes for your estate to go through probate.
One good reason for creating an estate plan is to give us peace of mind that, if we pass away before our children are grown, they will be provided for financially. This concern generally fades as the kids grow up, get jobs and start to take care of themselves.
We often refer to the probate process in this estate planning blog. Our readers who have never had a loved one’s estate go through probate may have heard the term before, but wonder what it actually means to go through probate.