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Why having a Last Will and Testament can be so important

by | Mar 3, 2011 | Estate Planning |

Lets say you have the following set of facts. You have a client who is one of 8 siblings. Your client, a daughter, was the only one that took care of her dying mother for the last years of her life, while none of the other children helped at all. On several occasions her mother adamantly stated that if something happened to her she would want all of her assets to go to her daughter because she had cared for her for so many years. However, the mother never went to an attorney to have her Will prepared. Since that time the mother has passed away. The daughter will have to be told that because there was no Will naming her as the sole beneficiary, the mother’s assets, which  will end up being substantial, will have to be split between all eight siblings equally. Despite the fact that her mother did not want this, under Florida Law there is nothing that can be done other than to split the estate this way.

To make matters worse, the green eyed monster has taken over and now the siblings are fighting it out to see who will be the Personal Representative of the estate. Being a Personal Representative is a very important job and the daughter fears that her siblings may not protect estate assets properly. However, each sibling is qualified to serve equally. This whole scenario shows the importance of taking the time to have a proper Will prepared by an attorney. Had a Will been done, the mother could have named her daughter as the sole heir to her estate and could have avoided many of the headaches. Just fruit for thought.