Fame, success, celebrity and wealth do not guarantee that your loved ones will be protected after you die. Actor and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020 without a Will, and now that his estate is settled, public court documents show:
- Chadwick’s spouse received $1.5 million
- his family received $1.5 million
- the government received $1.5 million
- … and the probate court cost his loved ones roughly $900,000
If you live in Florida and you are married and die without a Will, how much your spouse inherits depends on whether or not you have living descendants — children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Do you want the courts to decide who will inherit your estate?
Dying Without A Will: Intestate Succession
When you die without a Will in Florida, the state’s intestate succession laws determine who will inherit your estate. Florida intestate laws are the default inheritance laws that are followed when someone dies without a properly executed Will.
5 Reasons You Don’t Want to Die Without a Will In Florida
- The courts likely won’t distribute your assets in the way you would have wanted. Did you know that your stepchildren will not receive any assets without a will? If you made verbal promises to loved ones, they likely won’t receive anything that you promised them.
- Probate courts typically take at least 12 months before an estate is settled, but much longer is not uncommon. Your family probably will not have access to your assets until your estate is settled. It is a lengthy process for the state to notify the creditors, close all accounts, file tax returns and complete everything else that needs to be done to settle your estate. Creditors have 6 months from when the estate administrator notifies them of death to file a claim against the estate, so your estate must remain open for at least that long.
- If you die without a Will and you have no heirs, the state where you resided will receive the estate.
- Unless you have a legal Will, the state will decide who inherits your assets. If you die without a Will, Florida intestate succession laws mean that the probate court will award the spouse half of your estate and the other half will be split equally among your children.
- The probate court will get a large percentage of your assets. The larger the estate, the more money that will go to probate and not your heirs. Probate is the process of managing and distributing a deceased person’s assets, and includes:
- Filing the petition in probate court
- Notifying creditors
- Inventorying the estate
- Paying any debts
- Filing tax returns
- Distribution of assets
- Final accounting
Is Your Will Up To Date?
You may have a Trust, life insurance, real estate, retirement accounts and other investments. If your Will and Estate Plan are not up to date, much of your hard-earned money could go to probate courts and the discretion of the state, instead of your family and loved ones. An experienced, trusted Estate Planning and Probate Attorney can help you minimize costs so that your family is protected. In nearly all cases in Florida, except for small estates valued at less than $75,000, probate requires an Attorney.
Schedule A Complementary Consultation With A South Florida Probate and Estate Planning Attorney Today
You don’t want the court to make important decisions for you and your loved ones about your finances. Our Attorneys at The Siegel Law Group provide trusted legal guidance in creating a Will and other important Estate Planning documents that protect you today and in the future.
Remember: The only Estate Plan that matters is the one you have in place when you need it. Call 561-556-7959 for a complimentary consultation with South Florida Estate Planning Attorney Barry Siegel today.