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Estate planning can benefit those without surviving family

There are an increasing number of residents in Florida that do not have any surviving family. In recent decades, more couples are deciding that children are not right for them as they find fulfillment through other outlets in life. Others choose not to marry. In some situations, at the end of life when an individual does not have surviving family, it may seem unclear where that individual's assets will go after their passing.

Many people think that proper estate planning is really only necessary for individuals that have children they wish to protect financially after their passing. However, if an individual does not specify what they would like done with their estate after their passing, the government will make those decisions.

For one woman living outside of Florida that had a significant estate, but no surviving family to bequeath it to, she chose to remember the charities that were important to her in her lifetime. The woman survived her husband, all of her siblings and never had children. Therefore, because she was a lover of animals, she chose to leave her estate to several local animal charities.

The executor of the will reports that the woman especially loved cats and birds in her life, so it gave her joy to know that after her passing her life's earnings would go to benefit charities that supported the animals that brought her so much happiness in her lifetime.

There are incentives to estate planning in Florida beyond taking an interest in where an individual's assets will transfer upon their death. Specifying health care wishes at end of life, and avoiding probate are also reasons that many individuals wish to contact an estate planning attorney to ensure that their last wishes are actualized.

Source: CapitalGazette.com, "Annapolis woman's estate benefits animal rescue group," Pamela Wood, Dec. 15, 2012

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