Peter J. Snyder, P.A.
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What happens if I don't create an estate plan?

There are a number of reasons why every adult should have an estate plan, and we have discussed many of these reasons in previous posts on this blog. Broadly speaking, an estate plan gives you control over your care and the distribution of your assets.

However, if you still are not convinced that an estate plan can benefit you and your loved ones, it could be helpful to understand what happens if you do not have certain critical elements of an estate plan in place.

Think you don't need an estate plan? Think again

Creating an estate plan is probably not something you think about on a regular basis, especially if you are young and still building your wealth, your family and your future. However, before you dismiss the option to create an estate plan or put the process off again, you might want to reconsider.

Below, we address some common reasons why people think they don't need an estate plan and explain why it can still be wise to have one in place.

Who might contest a will in probate (and why)?

When any person passes away, steps must be taken to resolve all financial and property-related matters of that person's estate. This typically happens during probate, which is the legal process of validating a person's will, paying debts and distributing assets.

With proper planning on the decedent's part and a valid, enforceable will in place, the probate process can go fairly smoothly. However, certain events can complicate matters, including the challenging of a will.

Should I get my security deposit back?

Hundreds of thousands of people rent property in Florida. Some rent because they are only here part of the year; others rent because it is a more attractive option than buying. Whatever your reasons may be for renting, you should know your rights as a tenant.

For instance, if you rent, then you likely paid a security deposit. In most cases, renters expect to receive all or part of this deposit back upon the expiration of a lease. However, there are some circumstances under which a landlord may keep the deposit, not all of which are lawful.

Who you should think about when making your estate plan

When we talk about creating a will or updating your estate plan, we often discuss doing so in the context of protecting your loved ones. That can lead people to start thinking about who truly will be affected by their plans.

Who are the loved ones you are working to protect? Are there others you need to think about when it comes to your estate plan? In this post, we will look at a personal element of planning: the people in your life.

Don't leave room for interpretation in your estate plan

Many people have strong views on the type of care they want or don't want to receive if get very sick. You can preserve your decisions with a living will which informs medical professionals of your wishes in the event that you cannot express them yourself.

Unfortunately, without this legal document, disputes over your care can arise. Even if you think you have clearly communicated this information in other ways, there could still be room for interpretation if you don't have a living will or health care proxy. This was the situation facing medical professionals and ethics consultants in Florida recently.

Make probate easier by making a will accessible

In the days following a person's death, family members and loved ones can be suffering with immense grief and sadness. During such a difficult time, any task that creates contention or confusion can make the situation that much more upsetting.

This is why it is crucial that people take steps to ensure their will is accessible. If loved ones cannot find a will, or if there are disputes regarding the validity of the will, then the probate process that follows could be far more painful than it needs to be. In this post, we will discuss some tips to protect your loved ones from the difficulties of trying to find a will.

What is a quiet title action?

If you are buying a home, chances are you do a lot of research into the homes you look at. You likely have at least one inspection, take multiple tours, talk to neighbors and research everything from taxes to school ratings. One thing you might not think about is whether ownership of the property is in question.

There is the potential that multiple parties could have interest in a single property. This can happen as a result of invalid transactions, foreclosure, divorce, easements and surveying errors, for instance. In order to ensure you won't have to face legal disputes and claims against your property from other owners after you buy, you can file a quiet title action.

4 events that should trigger a review of your estate plan

Creating an estate plan is a wise decision and critical step in protecting your wishes, your family and your property. However, it is only one part of the process; you must also review these documents regularly to ensure they remain accurate and valid.

Certain events or circumstances should trigger a review of your estate plan. Below, we examine some of the most common scenarios that can affect your plans unless you review them and make necessary adjustments.

Understanding the important benefits of a special needs trust

A trust is a valuable estate planning tool that provides numerous benefits. 

In a trust, an individual can dictate how and when specific assets are distributed upon death. A trust also passes outside of the probate process, which can help reduce the costs of administration of an estate. 

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Peter J. Snyder, P.A.
21301 Powerline Rd
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Boca Raton, FL 33433

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