Did you know that if you have not created a Florida estate plan and you suddenly pass away your estate will probably end up in probate court with a probate judge making the decisions about your assets? Estate planning is important for all adults, no matter the worth of their assets, their age or their perceived cost of an attorney. The importance of estate planning cannot be emphasized enough. Because without an estate plan, upon your death your estate may be headed for probate court. Probate is often a lengthy and expensive process. We would like to discuss three reasons for why you need a last will and testament.

1. When anyone dies without a will in place, it is called dying intestate. That means family members will probably need to go through the probate process to distribute all the assets of the deceased. These assets may include real estate, cars, bank accounts, jewelry, art, and other family heirlooms. The court decides who gets any of the assets based upon the state’s intestacy law and unfortunately it may not be what the decedent would have wanted. By creating a last will and testament you may designate who is to receive any of your assets. Even though the estate of a person who dies with a last will and testament must still go through the probate process, it can be less time consuming and costly. Another tool to consider if you wish to keep your estate completely out of probate would be a trust. Be sure to talk with your Florida estate planning attorney about a trust.

2. If you have minor children and you die intestate, be aware that it may be up to a judge to designate their legal guardian. However, and this is very important, when you create your last will and testament you can name the person or persons you wish to become the legal guardian of your children in the event of your death.

3. Often people will cite that one of the primary reasons they have for not creating a last will and testament is the cost of an attorney. However, what most people do not realize or take into consideration is the cost of the probate process. The probate process can include court fees, appraisal and evaluation fees, executor fees, and attorney fees. By having a valid last will and testament in place, the probate process can be more streamlined and may not be as costly as probating the estate of a person who has died intestate.

Our office can assist you in putting a Last Will and Testament in place and helping you learn about other valuable estate planning options. We know you may have questions about this, and many other, issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.