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What happens if I don't have an estate plan?

On this blog, we have discussed what can happen when you take certain steps to plan for your future in an effort to help readers appreciate the benefits of estate planning. However, despite knowing the benefits of action, some people are still not sure why they should take the time to create an estate plan.

Because of this, we will use this post to look at some of the consequences of inaction. Rather than ask yourself why you should make an estate plan, it might be easier to see what can happen when you don't.

  1. Tax penalties can be higher. When you die, taxes still need to be paid, including estate and income taxes. The amount will be based on many factors, and they can add up to be quite considerable. However, when you have an estate plan that capitalizes on options like setting up trusts, you can minimize your tax obligations.
  2. The wrong people can inherit your assets. If you die without a will or an estate plan of any kind, the distribution of your assets will be done by the courts. There are several laws that will dictate how your estate is administered, and decisions on your estate will be handled in accordance to these laws and not your wishes. This can mean that a relative you are not close to ends up taking a portion of your estate, or that someone to whom you are very close but not related will end up with nothing.
  3. Your loved ones can be left to go through messy probate and make difficult decisions. As much as your estate plan is about money, it is also about making some very hard decisions about what you want to happen with your things. Without some guidance and instruction, your loved ones will have to sort through everything and make these decisions, which can lead to anger, frustration and contempt.

Dying without an estate plan in place won't just affect you and your assets; it will also have a considerable impact on your legacy and your loved ones. With this in mind, we encourage Florida residents to explore their estate planning options with an attorney sooner, rather than later, to avoid these and other consequences.

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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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