The estate planning rule that separates Florida from most states

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Florida is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the country. Some people pack up their entire lives and move to Florida when they finish their professional careers. Others become snowbirds, transitioning back and forth between Florida during the winter months and their home state when it is warmer.

Those who declare Florida their primary residence will have to comply with Florida probate laws. If not, they run the risk of their wishes getting undermined by family members or beneficiaries. Updating your existing estate plan to comply with Florida law often doesn’t require much change, unless you have specifically included a kind of clause that Florida will never enforce.

The Florida courts will not uphold no-contest clauses

Those planning their Estates have long chosen to include specific provisions to prevent their loved ones from fighting over their property. A no-contest clause or penalty clause is an inclusion in your estate plan that will strip someone of their inheritance rights if they challenge your last wishes.

Those who believe their children will fight no matter how fair they tried to be or who have one problematic family member may choose to include no-contest clauses in their wills or trusts. In most states to deter their loved ones from dragging their legacy through probate court.

However, Florida will not uphold such clauses. State law forbids their enforcement. There is a possibility of people abusing such clauses, especially if they have already exerted undue influence on an older adult to force them to change their existing estate plan. People can challenge estates when they have valid grounds to do so without fear of losing their inheritance rights even if the testator included a no-contest clause in their plans.

There are other ways to reduce challenges

Those concerned about family members fighting over their inheritance have other tools at their disposal when creating an estate plan or updating their documents to fully comply with Florida law after moving here.

Transparency and open discussions with family members can help. Advance gifting during your golden years so that not everything transfers after your death is also helpful. You all will also get to experience the joy of watching your loved ones make use of their inheritance, which can be a lovely added benefit. Finally, you may want to consider adding a trust to your estate documents, as trusts are often harder to challenge than simple sills.

Learning more about the unique challenges that come with estate planning and probate proceedings in Florida can help you maximize your protection when creating an estate plan.