They are inevitable: Death and taxes, as Mark Twain reportedly said.
But it wasn’t Mark Twain who coined the expression: “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” It was Edward Ward in 1724 in “Dancing Devils”: “Death and Taxes, they are certain.”
But the deeper point embedded in this truth alludes to something considerably more profound: We will all eventually die and the government may get involved in distributing our estate – unless of course we have a will (this exception only applies to the latter point).
That is why drafting a will is so important to an accurate and binding distribution of your assets. Without a will, a judge will probably end up making those decisions.
A lifelong resident of Marion County, Florida, Stanley Plappert specializes in probate administration and estate planning. Stanley Plappert can guide and direct you through the legal complexities of creating a will and help put one together that adheres to the strictest letter of the law.
A will publicly dictates how you want your assets – your property, your money, your accounts, your trusts and other financial holdings – distributed after you die.
While state laws differ concerning the legalities of wills and probate management, generally state courts split your assets between your spouse and children if you don’t have a will.
The court decides who among your relatives will get your assets if you’re single and have no children.
People with young children should seriously consider drafting a will since wills delineate the transfer of guardianship of your children. A will enables you to choose who will care for your children rather than allowing a judge to decide.
Wills may be amended at any time and it’s wise to review conditions of your will regularly – especially if your marital status changes or to ensure your designations for your 401(k), IRA, pension and life insurance policies are accurate and up to date. Those accounts are transferred to your beneficiaries after you die. A will is vital if you have a trust, which is a legal document that expressly stipulates how your assets are distributed.
A pour-over will is useful even if you have a revocable living trust. A pour-over will allows you to designate a guardian for your children and ensures assets that were designated for the trust actually go there, even if you didn’t properly title them as so following your death. Generally, assets that aren’t “retitled” may be subject to legal review.
Don’t hesitate to give Stanley Plappert a call. He doesn’t charge for consultations; he will give you an overview of your issue. Office hours are 8:30 AM to 5 PM., Monday through Friday. Legal services include: probate, estate planning (last will and testament, living will, medical power of attorney, power of attorney), and real estate.
Stanley Plappert is a life-long resident of Ocala/Marion County Florida.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and received his
law degree from The University of Florida College of Law in 1990. Read More
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