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Have you put off drafting a will because the thought makes you uncomfortable? When you think about drafting a will, you have to confront your own mortality. However, putting it off can have severe consequences. If you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed based on the Florida Intestacy Statute. That means you won’t have any control over who receives your property. Not having a will is even worse if you have minor children. Without a will to designate a guardian, someone will have to petition the court for guardianship. If no one steps up to care for your children, they can become wards of the state.
When making an estate plan, you need to decide how to pass property and assets to your beneficiaries and make decisions like whether you want to avoid probate. Many Palm Harbor residents realize that the best option to maintain privacy, quickly pass their assets to their heirs and avoid probate is through a living trust (a/k/a living trust).
When you pass away, most of your assets that aren’t in a trust will have to go through probate. First, the court will validate your will, if applicable. Then, your personal representative will inventory the estate, settle debts, pay taxes, and distribute the property. With a will in place, the representative will distribute it based on your wishes. However, if you don’t have a will, the court will distribute it based on the Florida Intestacy Statute.
WHY CHOOSE SHERRI M. STINSON, P.A.?
CAN YOU MAKE CHANGES TO A WILL OR TRUST?
A will does not go into effect until you pass away. Thus, you can change or revoke it at any time. You can also modify and cancel a revocable trust. However, if you create an irrevocable trust, it cannot be changed. Some people choose irrevocable trusts because they shield assets from creditors. Also, these trusts reduce the tax burden even further. Your estate planning lawyer in Palm Harbor will discuss the benefits and drawbacks to help you determine what type of trust is right for you.
CAN YOU DISINHERIT YOUR SPOUSE?
Florida law protects spouses during the estate planning process. Even if your marriage is breaking down, you cannot disinherit your spouse. Your spouse will be entitled to his or her elective share. The only way to avoid this is with the proper legal documents. However, if you divorce your spouse, you can change your estate plan to avoid leaving any property to him or her. Talk to an estate planning lawyer about your options.
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Sherri Stinson was the attorney who helped my brother and me settle the estate of our late uncle. She made this difficult time for us much easier. She was extraordinary! Not only was she professional, she was patient, tactful, and kind. A very sharp lady! Worth every penny she was paid! Coming from a family of attorneys, we were very impressed. She’s Awesome!
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I highly recommend Sherri Stinson if you’re looking for an outstanding attorney. She helped me settle the estate of my uncle who lives in Florida. She’s not only very bright and knowledgeable of FL law, but she’s kind and patient! Even though I live in Kentucky, she was able to help me through the process with little effort on my part. Her help was literally invaluable and her charge very reasonable.