Janet Reno was both an important and controversial figure in American history. Our goal in today’s Brevard County blog post isn’t to dissect the pros or cons of our nation’s first female Attorney General, but rather to discuss how her estate illustrates an important aspect of Florida estate planning.
It is simply true that the vast majority of people who have accumulated substantial financial assets in Brevard County did not do so by accident. Rather, they worked hard, saved, invested wisely or ran a successful business.
As our Brevard County readers undoubtedly know, Florida probate is a court-supervised process in which assets are identified, gathered and then distributed to beneficiaries. Those assets will also be used to cover the cost of probate, funeral expenses and outstanding debts before the remainder is distributed.
The old saying is that there are only two things you can’t avoid: death and taxes. It seems clear that there are other unavoidable parts of life. It seems impossible to avoid the Florida sun and heat or the sound of the ocean, for instance.
The eternal question of who gets your stuff can be answered pretty quickly and easily. For instance, if you have a will, it is essentially a set of instructions for how your property is to be distributed.
During his 70 years, Muddy Waters was known for pioneering an electric form of the blues that influenced generations of musicians, including seminal rock icons Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. The blues legend left an untouchable musical legacy, but his financial legacy is being fought over in courts from Florida to Chicago.
If you drive northwest of Cocoa for about 160 miles, you’ll come to Tom Petty’s Florida birthplace. The legendary rocker was born in Gainesville back in 1950 and died a year and a half ago in his Los Angeles home of an accidental drug overdose.
Let’s face it: because women live about five years longer than men, on average, they should take estate planning seriously. (So should men, of course.) It should be noted that if you don’t have an estate plan, it is likely that your assets will wind up in probate, with the state of Florida deciding who should your assets.
We’re still in the early days of 2019 with opportunities aplenty to address matters neglected in the past year. Many Brevard County residents understand that the time to address estate planning is now.
One of the most important parts of life is to learn from the mistakes we make so that we can avoid making those same errors again. It is also important to share information with family members and friends so that they can learn from our mistakes, too, and likewise avoid taking those same missteps.