Many older adults choose to spend their golden years in Florida. They sell their home in another state to move full-time to the Sunshine State, or they travel back and forth between another residence and their Florida home.
When someone officially moves to Florida or makes Florida their official permanent residence, that means that the Florida probate laws are the ones that will determine what happens with their property after they die.
Many people initially draft their estate plans while living in another state and may not consider what changes they have to make to ensure that their wishes are enforceable in Florida. There is one particular difference in the Florida approach to probate administration that could affect what happens with your property after you die.
Florida is one of the only states that won’t enforce a no-contest clause
Although they vary in their approach to the process, almost every other state in the country allows testators to include a no-contest clause in their will. Also known as in terrorem clauses, no-contest clauses reduce or eliminate the inheritance of someone who challenges the testator’s estate plan.
People include these clauses in their documents because they have very strong opinions about what happens to their property or they recognize that their family members are likely to get into a dispute about their wishes. Although including such a clause in your estate plan won’t invalidate your will, it’s important that you understand that the Florida probate courts will not enforce such a clause after you die.
You may need an alternate approach to avoiding estate disputes
If you intend to spend the rest of your golden years in Florida, then it’s important that you update your estate plan to reflect the local laws. While you don’t necessarily need to eliminate your no-contest clause, you will need to think about alternate means of enforcing that intention.
Talking with your family members now so that everyone knows what to expect or creating a trust that will be harder for people to frivolously challenge are both possible solutions if you worry about an unnecessary challenge diminishing your legacy. Thinking about your wishes and family issues can help you create the best estate plan possible for your situation.