May 29, 2024
Passing Your Wealth to Your Heirs

You may be thinking, the distribution of my estate is simple: I am leaving my car to my son, my diamond ring to my daughter, and my China set to my granddaughter. Although these are accurate representations of specific distributions in a Last Will and Testament, you still have to think about where you want your residual estate (i.e. the other things not specifically mentioned in your will) to go. In Florida, wills and estates are governed by the Florida Probate Code, which is part of the Florida Statutes. Specifically, Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes governs the Administration of Estates in Florida. This blog post will detail the specifics that you need to know regarding the specific and residuary distributions under your Last Will and Testament.

Specific Distributions

Your Will allows you to make specific distributions of real property, tangible personal property, and cash. A specific distribution is just that – specific. When you make a specific distribution, you designate specific assets or amounts of your estate to particular beneficiaries in your Will. You can also include provisions in your Will for distribution, such as conditions precedent to distribution. For example, you can state “my 2017 Honda Accord to my granddaughter when she graduates high school.”

It is important to note that Section 733.803, Florida Statues, provides that any beneficiary of encumbered property specifically devised to them shall be entitled to have the encumbrance paid at the expense of the residue estate when the Will shows that intent. Thus, you should discuss with your estate planning attorney at the time of drafting your Will whether you want your specific devisee of encumbered property to be responsible for the encumbrance or not. For example, your Will can include a provision for incidental expenses and encumbrances and state the following:

“Until property distributed in accordance with this Article is delivered to the appropriate beneficiary or to the beneficiary’s legal representative, my Personal Representative will pay the reasonable expenses of securing, storing, insuring, packing, transporting, and otherwise caring for the property as an administration expense. Except as otherwise provided in my Will, my Personal Representative will distribute property under this Article subject to all liens, security interests, and other encumbrances on the property.”

If your Will does not clearly lay out specific distributions for your estate, the residuary clause outlines how any remaining assets are to be distributed. If you have assets in your estate that you want to ensure go to a loved one, it is crucial to speak with a legal professional to accurately provide this distribution in your Will.

Residuary Distribution

The residuary estate includes all of the “leftover” assets and property after specific gifts are distributed, debts are settled, and taxes and administrative expenses are paid out of the estate. It’s important to note that debts are typically settled using the assets from your estate before any remaining assets are distributed. As such, the residuary estate is used for paying off debts or other expenses incurred by your estate. The order in which assets abate can be found under Section 733.805, Florida Statutes.

Personal Representative Duties for Distribution

Section 733.602, Florida Statutes, provides that your personal representative is in charge of settling and distributing your estate in accordance with your Will. Before choosing a personal representative of your estate, it is a good idea to check out the duties of personal representatives to ensure the person you nominate will fulfill these duties properly. If you have questions about these duties, it is best to consult with a qualified attorney.

If you or one of your loved ones needs to begin your estate planning process, you should seek the counsel of a Florida Attorney to assist you. The attorneys at Boatman Ricci can help you decide how to distribute your estate for your individual needs. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs, contact Boatman Ricci at 239-330-1494.

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THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE READER SHOULD CONSULT WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE LEGAL COUNSEL TO DETERMINE HOW APPLICABLE LAWS APPLY TO SPECIFIC FACTS AND SITUATIONS. BLOG POSTS ARE BASED ON THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION AT THE TIME THEY ARE WRITTEN. SINCE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE LAWS OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE PUBLICATION, PLEASE CALL US TO DISCUSS ANY ACTION YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING AS A RESULT OF READING THIS BLOG.

Published: May 29, 2024
Author: Bo Boatman
Categories : Uncategorized