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Why Same-Sex Couples Need To Make Creating A Will A Top Priority

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Many of us would rather not contemplate our own demise or that of a loved one. Unfortunately, failing to discuss end of life issues or how you want your assets and property divided can end up leaving both you and your spouse vulnerable. Having a valid, up-to-date will plays a crucial role in sound estate planning, and should be a top priority for anyone, particularly same sex couples.

Impacts Of Not Having A Will

A 2016 USA Today report on estate planning quotes statistics indicating roughly 64 percent of all Americans do not have a valid will in place, and that more than a quarter of these do not feel an urgent need to rectify that situation. While some delay this task because it is an uncomfortable topic, others simply feel that the amount of their estate is not large enough, or that their family and friends are already aware of their wishes.

The Florida Probate Court handles the process of identifying and distributing assets and paying debts on behalf of those who are deceased. A will helps to identify those properties and assets, known as your estate, while specifying those you would like to inherit them. People who pass without a properly signed and executed will in place are considered to have died intestate, and their estate is then subject to the rules of intestate succession. Under Section 732.102-103 of the Florida Statutes, these rules distribute property in the following manner:

  • If you have a spouse, either with or without children from the union, the spouse inherits the estate.
  • If you have a spouse and have natural or adopted children outside of the relationship, your spouse would inherit half the estate, while the children inherit the other half.
  • If you are unmarried and have no children, your parents inherit the estate.
  • If you are unmarried, no children, and your parents are already deceased, your siblings would inherit your estate.
  • If you have a sibling who is deceased, their children would inherit the estate.

Probate applies to any bank or investment accounts held solely in your name, as well as any real estate or other property in which you hold the title alone or as tenants in common with another party. As same sex couples who lived together prior to having the right to legally marry often possess property titled in only one partner’s name, the surviving spouse could end up being subject to legal battles over assets to which they paid into and rightfully deserve to claim. Even if you previously made a will, you may need to update it to reflect your current legal status.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have delayed creating a will or need to update existing documents, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. today. Our Florida estate planning attorney has the legal knowledge and experience to help address your concerns, while helping to ensure both you and your partner’s rights are protected. With offices in Orlando and Tampa, we can help; call or contact our office online to set up a meeting with one of our attorneys. Same day consultations are available.

Resources:

wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304572204579503983567868234

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.102.html

flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/probate.stml

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