What is a testate estate? In this article, we answer this question and the implications of having an intestate estate when you pass away.
Testate? Intestate? What do all these legal terms mean? When you are in the process of deciding whether estate planning is right for you, the terminology can get overwhelming.
Let’s talk about what it means to have a testate estate and why it’s important.
What is a testate estate?
Put quite simply, a testate estate is an estate in which the decedent left behind a valid last will and testament. This document allows the assets of the estate to be distributed to any heirs and beneficiaries following the decedent’s wishes.
Alternatively, an intestate estate is an estate in which the decedent did not leave behind a valid will.
As you can imagine, not having a will in place when you pass away can cause some serious problems, for your estate and for your heirs. From squabbling siblings and extended family members to more serious issues like the guardianship of minor children, the problems that can arise when there is no will can have far-reaching consequences.
Here are a few reasons to create a will today.
4 Advantages of Having a Will
You get to make your wishes known.
When you create a valid will, you get to make it clear what you want to happen to your assets and who will manage your estate. Your named executor will oversee the distribution of your assets to the beneficiaries and heirs named in your will.
It helps you keep Florida out of your business.
Most estates must go through probate in Florida, but when your estate is intestate, the probate process becomes more complicated than if you had created a will. In such cases, the court will name an executor or personal representative to manage the distribution of your estate.
Your children will be raised by people you trust.
In your will, you can name a guardian for your minor children in the event of your death and the death of your spouse. Not having a will means that the court must name someone to take care of your kids. If you want to make sure your children are going to be taken care of, you need to create a will and name your desired guardian.
Having a will reduces family conflict.
All of the decisions associated with probate can be contentious. Who gets to manage the estate? Who gets the family heirlooms? When you make your wishes known, there is less debate between family members about what is fair.
Why a Will May Not Be Enough
Having a will is critical if you want to ensure that your property goes where you want it to. But it may not be enough, depending on the complexity of your estate. In some cases, you may be able to bypass probate altogether by creating and funding a trust. You may also be able to avoid estate taxes.
What is a testate estate worth to you?
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan, so if you want to create a plan that fits your needs, we should talk. Contact us today to schedule a meeting so we can help you craft an airtight estate plan.