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Estate planning necessary to avoid Florida’s default plan for your assets

Last time, we began looking at the issue of intestate succession as it is impacting Prince’s estate right now in Minnesota. As we noted, a determination of Prince’s proper heirs has been unable to proceed due to claims that have been made to his estate.

Florida’s intestate succession law is generally like that of other states: any part of an estate which is not effectively disposed by will goes to heirs according to an established priority among relatives. Special rules apply to surviving spouses, with the amount of inheritance depending on the number of surviving descendants, if any. The amount not passing to the surviving spouse and descendants goes first to the deceased person’s parents, and then on to other relatives in a specific order or priority. 

A number of other rules apply to intestate succession, including rules relating to the disposition of property in the event there are no surviving family members, rules relating to adopted individuals and children born out of wedlock, and other matters. What is important to realize, though, is that the rules of intestate succession, while generally acceptable as a default set of rules, are not going to be perfect for everybody. In fact, the default rules are probably not perfect for most people, given the variety of unique circumstances family face.

There is really no substitute to engaging in thorough estate planning, which allows one to determine exactly how his or property is disposed after death. To be effective, estate planning must be an ongoing project so that the documents reflect the current circumstances and wishes of the one engaging in the planning. Working with an experienced attorney in estate planning is indispensable as well, particularly in cases involving complicated family circumstances and significant assets.

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