Will or No Will? That is the question. There are many things to consider when trying to answer that question…….
The question that many ask is whether to form a Last Will and Testament. Some question whether their property is worth enough value to warrant drafting a Last Will and Testament. For example, hiring an attorney to draft a Last Will and Testament could be expensive. The questions that one shouldask is: what are the consequences if I do have a Will? What happens if I do not have a Will??? Either way, you should be mindful of the consequences of your decision.
Last Will and Testament
Here is one way to look at it: if you have a Last Will and Testament, you are placing some control on where your assets and property will go after you pass. When you have a properly executed and legally -sufficient Will, then that Will generally controls how the assets and properties in your estate will be distributed. There are exceptions to this rule, which will be discussed in later blogs.
No Last Will and Testament/ Intestacy
When there is not a Last Will and Testament, the statute of the jurisdiction (i.e. Florida Statutes in the state of Florida) will generally govern where your assets and property will go after you pass. For example, if you have a surviving spouse and lineal descendants (i.e. your kids), then your property will pass to both the surviving spouse AND your lineal descendants. NOTE: If you had a Will or some other estate planning vehicle like a Trust (discussed later) then that vehicle would likely control where and how the properties in the Estate are distributed.
Contact a lawyer for there is no substitute
The very brief explanation above does not even scratch the surface as to what you should know before making an estate planning decision. Contact a lawyer (i.e. Tax Attorney, Estate Planning Attorney). You will find that some lawyers also have colleagues who are Certified Public Accountants and who are able to assist in addressing tax issues related to estate planning vehicles you choose.