No Estate Plan? Here’s What Happens When You Pass Away

At ElDeiry & ElDeiry, P.A., we are constantly reminded of the importance of having an estate plan in place. We are familiar with the frustrating and expensive repercussions that loved ones face when someone passes away without an estate plan. But just how frustrating and expensive is it? It today’s blog post, we’re helping you get a clearer picture of what happens when you pass away without having an estate plan.

Being without a Will means that your estate is “intestate.” This means that since you did not state your wishes about what should happen to your estate after you pass, it will be up to Florida law to decide what happens on your behalf. 

If you were married at the time of your death and had no children or grandchildren outside of your marriage to that person, your entire estate would go to your spouse. If you were married and had children and/or grandchildren from a different relationship, your spouse would get half of the estate and the other half would be distributed among your descendents from outside that marriage. This occurs “per stirpes,” which means every descendent gets an equal share. For example, if you are widowed and had two children and they each had two children of their own, but one was deceased, your living child would get 50% of your estate and your deceased child’s children would each receive 25%. If you have no spouse or descendants, your estate would go to your parents. In the absence of parents, it would go to grandparents, and so on. If you have no direct ascendent relatives, it would then go to siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. As a last resort, your estate may pass to any living descendants of your grandparents, with half going to the maternal side of your family and half to the paternal.

Sounds complicated, right?

What’s worse, is that intestacy laws can exclude some of the people you love the most. Do you have stepchildren who you love as if they were your own? They’ll receive nothing from you. Any charitable donations you had in mind? Those won’t happen. Wanted to leave money to someone who wasn’t related to you by blood? Intestacy law doesn’t allow for that, unfortunately.

But what about the “expensive” part?

With a good estate plan, you can use tools like trust which can help you avoid the Probate Court Process altogether, as well as to to protect some of your assets from estate taxes. Without an estate plan, your estate is unprotected. Florida does not have any state-level estate taxes, but on a Federal level, estates are taxed at a marginal rate of up to 40%. This can take a huge chunk out of what you’ve spent your life building. 

Who can help me create an estate plan?

If you want to make sure your assets pass to the people you want them to, as well as helping your loved ones avoid the time, expense, and emotional drain associated with Probate Court after you pass away, contact ElDeiry & ElDeiry, P.A. today. Our friendly team can help you get started. We work hard to make the estate planning process as easy as possible for our clients. Give us a call at (954) 670-2800 to get started.

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