J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Experienced
Attorney and CPA

Lack of estate planning can cause difficulties for heirs

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is not an easy process, even when the person's death was not unexpected. It takes time for surviving family and friends to grieve the loss and to pick up the pieces of their own lives.. This process can become even more difficult to handle when the deceased person did not have all of his or her financial affairs in order prior to his or her death. Specifically, if the person had no estate plan, sorting through his or her assets and liabilities can be a cumbersome task.

When a person dies intestate, which means that they had no will, Florida law dictates exactly how that person's assets are to be divided amongst his or her heirs. However, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to settling the deceased person's estate.

A personal representative for the deceased has tremendous responsibilities, and if the decedent did no estate planning, then the probate court has to assign a representative, which often ends up being a close family member. That person has to then handle all kinds of administrative tasks, including identifying and valuing all of the estate's assets, notifying creditors of the person's death and filing and paying any taxes on the estate. Carrying out the duties of a personal representative is an especially tall task if that person does not have the benefit of estate planning documents from the deceased.

Our Polk County law firm has helped people avoid situations where they leave their loved ones with the difficult task of settling an estate with no real blueprint as to the deceased person's wishes. Anyone who has accumulated assets during his or her life may want to consider seting up at least a basic estate plan with a will, a power of attorney and a healthcare surrogate. This will help toward the goal of having the asset distribution from his or her estate go smoothly. Also, these estate planning tools may help minimize the chances of family disputes about dividing assets, but also about the person's final healthcare wishes.

Florida residents who want more information about their estate planning options are welcome to visit our law firm's website. We have experience giving our clients and prospective clients the information that they need to move forward with addressing their estate planning needs.

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