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Do single people in Florida need a will?

When a person dies 'intestate,' it means that he or she dies without leaving a last will and testament. Hence, surviving family members and other interested parties, have no direction on how the person would have wanted to distribute his or her assets. While people who have a spouse and children, and maybe even grandchildren, may understand the importance of executing a will, single people might think that wills are unnecessary for them. This raises the question of whether single people should have a will.

If people have assets that they want to distribute when they die, then the answer is yes, they should have wills even if they are single. Moreover, in some situations, a will is even more important for a single person. This is because under Florida law, default rules apply to intestate estates, and a probate court will distribute a deceased person's assets to their spouses and kids. For a single person, however, the intestate rules are not as simple.

When a single person dies intestate, the estate will go to children, if there are any, and then to the deceased's parents or siblings. But, if the person has no surviving immediate family members, the estate could end up being distributed to a more distant family member like a cousin. In many cases, this may not be what the deceased single person would have chosen for the distribution of the assets. For example, maybe the person would have wanted the bulk of his or her assets to go to a lifelong friend or partner, or to a charitable cause. Unless there is a will, though, this is not what will happen to the assets.

Anyone with assets, including single people, should consider the importance of executing a will. An experienced probate and will administration attorney may be able to help people in Polk County draft and execute a thorough and legally binding will.

Source: businessinsavannah.com, "Smith and Barid: Single people may need estate planning more than others," Michael Smith and Richard Barid, Dec. 20, 2016

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