Estate planning is not something that a lot of people get a chance to practice. Because of this fact, a lot of mistakes are made in the process. Many of these mistakes are made simply because the person doing the estate planning does not possess the information needed to make a good decision. The following article will look at six things everyone in Florida should know about estate planning.
Make Sure You Properly Designate Beneficiaries
Accounts that designate the beneficiary as “the estate of …” could be held up in a Florida probate court for six months or more. You can avoid this problem and make sure the assets in the account reach the person you desire a lot quicker by listing the person as the official beneficiary. In addition to your beneficiary having to wait for the money you wish to leave them, there will also be a probate penalty from one to 10 percent when an account must first go through probate.
Avoid Clerical Errors
There are a variety of platforms available today to obtain the many types of legal forms you may need. What these document sources often do not explain are the proper procedures for completing and submitting these documents. You will not want your “last will” disqualified by a probate court for a clerical error or because you listed a witness who is also a party of interest to the estate.
Appoint The Correct People
This tip may not seem to hold much wisdom but when a deceased parent names their hothead child as the beneficiary of their estate, his or her siblings may bear the brunt of the bad decision. A dispute amongst family members will not disqualify the estate in the state of Florida but can lead to lengthy and expensive litigation.
The Everyone Will Get Along Approach Is A Bad Idea
There are occasions when people will simply tire of the estate planning process and decide it will be simpler to let their heirs handle things on their own. But Florida estate planning lawyers will tell you that individuals who choose this route unwittingly leave behind a mess on many occasions. Simple wills are always reviewed by a probate court judge in Florida. The problem stems from the fact that the simpler the will, the more likely it is things are left out. When a specific instruction is not given, oftentimes people do not get along when it comes to dividing things of value.
Consider The Impact of Multiple Names On An Asset
Just like the person who convinces themselves that everyone will work together to divide assets fairly when the time comes, the person who puts the names of multiple heirs on a single asset is setting the stage for conflict. Not only can siblings and other family members have a falling out, but naming multiple people as the beneficiary of an asset exposes that asset to the risk present in the lives of all beneficiaries. For example, if you leave property to all your children and one of them later faces a divorce, the property you left to your children is exposed to any potential divorce settlements or judgments.
Be Sure To Fund Your Trust
It is not uncommon to see cases where individuals forget to redesignate their assets after switching to a revocable living trust. When you forget to fund a revocable trust in Florida, all of the assets that were intended for that trust must then flow through probate court.
The Bottom Line
The Florida estate planning process can be complicated for individuals who must navigate the process without the benefit of previous experience. However, you will be ahead of the curve if you use the six tips above to help you avoid common Florida estate planning mistakes. It may also be a good idea to consult with a Florida estate planning lawyer to avoid costly errors.