What happens if you don’t have a will

Jan 18, 2022 | By: Neil Lyons

“I heard that if I don’t have a will, the state will inherit my estate.”

I’ve heard that refrain in estate planning consultations several times over the past few months. To be honest, I am not sure why it’s taking hold. Let’s clear up the matter.

Estate unlikely to go to state

If you’re a Florida resident at the time of your death and you die without a will, your estate will “escheat” to the state of Florida in a very limited scenario.

Essentially, if you die without a will and are not survived by any children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., your estate will escheat. (That’s not the entirety of the “survived by” list, but you get the point.)

The downside of not having a will is that the state of Florida will write a will for you. That means the state — not you — will dictate which family members will receive a share of your estate regardless of your wishes.

In addition, lack of a will means that you cannot select a personal representative to control the administration of your estate.

If you’re uncomfortable with the state writing your will for you, give us a call. Take advantage of our complimentary consultation so you’re informed about your estate planning options.