If a person dies without a will in Florida, his or her estate usually goes to his or her spouse and children. It seems pretty clear-cut, but it can get complicated trying to figure out what percentage of the estate should go to the children and what percentage should go to the spouse. There are many factors and contingencies that play a part in determining how an estate is divided.
In order for estate planning to be the most effective, it should consider and cover all contingencies. A will should never be looked at as one size fits all, because there are so many different circumstances.
One woman’s will that was pretty straight forward, but failed to allow for contingencies has caused a lot of grief for her family. Her will stating that everything she had was to be given to her son in the event of her death was found after she and her son were killed in a car accident. Because there was no trust set up and because he outlived her by a few hours, the son automatically inherited everything the moment his mother died. When the son died, all of it went to his father, a convicted drug dealer and someone the woman likely would not have liked to see inherit her estate. The woman’s family, who had filed and won two wrongful death claims, saw none of the award because of this.
An estate planning attorney could have advised the woman to set up a trust for her son and put other contingencies in place to avoid this situation all together. This is why it is so important to speak with an experienced lawyer who can make sure that all the different contingencies are covered and planned for.
Source: Source: Fox Business, “Duck Estate-Planning Fiascos Before it’s Too Late,” Sheyna Steiner, May 13, 2013