I Have No Spouse or Children. Do I Really Need a Will?

Many people believe that they don’t need a Will if they don’t have a spouse or children. Even if you don’t have any dependents or heirs, you may still want the people or organizations of your choice to inherit your assets and possessions rather than the state deciding how to distribute them.

If you die without a Will and have no spouse or children (called “intestate” in legal terms), the State of Florida has laws as to how your assets will be distributed. Specifically:

  • If your parents are alive, they will inherit your estate.
  • If you don’t have living parents, your estate will be split evenly among your living siblings. Any full siblings receive a full share and half-siblings receive a half share. Step-siblings or foster siblings receive nothing.
  • If you have no living siblings, your nieces and nephews will split your estate.
  • If you have no nieces / nephews, your grandparents will inherit your estate.
  • If you have no living grandparents, your aunts and uncles are next in line.
  • If you have no aunts / uncles, your estate will go to your cousins.

Ultimately, if no living relatives can be found, the State of Florida will keep the assets (legally called escheat). Instead of leaving your estate to the State or a distant relative that you never really knew, consider the following alternatives:

  • Do you have a pet? If so, you can set up a trust fund to pay for their care and upkeep.
  • Do you have friends that you would want to inherit your estate?
  • Do you have specific family members, like a niece or cousin that you are close to?
  • Consider creating a charitable remainder trust or donor advised fund to leave assets for a charity that you care about or your alma mater. In some cases, leaving your assets to a charitable organization can be structured to provide tax deductions while you are still alive.

You can divide up your estate to include as many or as few people and organizations as you wish.

You have worked and saved for decades to amass the assets in your estate; you deserve to choose who receives them after your death. The attorneys at Huth, Pratt, and Milhauser are experts in estate planning. We can develop a plan that can be tax-advantageous for you while you are still alive and ensure that your final wishes are brought to fruition. In addition to writing a Will, we can work with you to develop a full Estate Plan, including a Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Proxy, Living Will, and Trusts. Call us today for a free consultation so we can develop a plan customized for your personal needs and desires.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser is a boutique law firm that offers a wide range of legal services in the specialty areas of wills, trusts, estates, probate, guardianship, and related matters. The range of legal services that Huth, Pratt & Milhauser provides in these specialty areas includes planning, administration and litigation. The experience and skills of our attorneys and staff, coupled with our knowledge of applicable law, enable us to provide outstanding representation to our clients.

Although we are located in South Florida, we proudly serve clients throughout the country and around the world from our Boca Raton offices. We strive to provide superior and focused counsel in a timely manner and at a competitive price.

Huth, Pratt and Milhauser

2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460

Boca Raton, Florida   33431

Phone: 561-392-1800


2500 North Military Trail, Suite 460
Boca Raton, Florida   33431
Phone: 561-392-1800

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