VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

The importance of estate planning

Georgia residents may be surprised to learn that more than half of Americans admitted to not having a will, according to a 2016 Gallup survey. While state laws typically designate people's belongings to their spouses or children in the event they die without a will, the matter can be complex for those who are not married and have no children. Even married couples who have no children can face difficulties if one dies without a will.

For example, if a wife dies, the assets generally go to the husband. However, if he would die a few minutes after her, all their assets would go to the husband's family, regardless of what type of feelings he had for them.

In addition to a will, a power of attorney can serve to make a person's wishes fully known in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. This document names a trusted person to make financial and heath care decisions if the principal becomes unable to do so. Powers of attorney are also vital for unmarried couples who are in a long-term relationship, or their assets may go to a sibling or parent who may make decisions against the decedent's wishes.

Estate planning measures can prove beneficial to adults, even those who have no spouse, children or significant assets. Because Florida's laws regarding wills are in some cases complex, people might wish to speak with an attorney who could prepare one as well as other estate planning documents that might be appropriate.

Source Yahoo Finance, "Estate Planning Is Important for People Without Children", Debbie Carlson, Feb. 16, 2017

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