Planning Your Estate

Many people do not think about making plans for their estates until something big changes in their lives. For example, many people create a will after they become parents.

However, a lot can change after a will is drafted and signed. It's important to meet with an estate planning lawyer to review your plan every few years or after major life events.

At the law office of Christine Sue Cook, LLC, in Pensacola, Florida, we provide experienced help with estate planning for people at different stages of their lives. Many of our clients ask us for help during or after a divorce.

The Purpose Of A Will

When a person dies, all his or her assets become known as the person's estate. A probate court oversees the distribution of those assets to the person's heirs. A will designates those heirs. If properly drafted, a will is a legally binding document that instructs a probate court on how to distribute the estate.

If a person passes away without a valid will, the probate court must determine by itself how to distribute the estate. In Florida, probate courts do this using the state's law of intestate succession. This somewhat complicated law is designed to distribute an estate to the person's closest relatives.

Intestate succession may end up distributing the estate in a way that is very different from what the deceased person would have wanted. In some cases, a distant relative can inherit everything, while a close companion receives nothing. The other main problem with intestate succession is that it is a time-consuming and expensive process, and often quite frustratingly difficult for surviving loved ones. Court fees come out of the estate, leaving less to go around when distributing the estate to the heirs.

When you have a will in place, you have much greater control over where your estate will go. You also greatly streamline the process, allowing you to pass on more of your estate, and saving your loved ones a lot of frustration.

Estate plans can help protect you, your loved ones and your assets during your life, as well. Contact us to learn more.

Divorce And Estate Planning

A divorce throws all kinds of long-term plans into question, and estate plans are no exception. It's important to talk to an estate planning attorney about changing your estate plan after a divorce to make sure it reflects your current wishes.

In addition to your will, you may want to update your retirement plans, life insurance policies and other assets.

Contact Us

Get started developing or changing your estate plan by contacting our office. Call 850-972-1738 or contact us by email.