What Happens When You Don't Have An Estate Plan

Learn about the process, and what to do

What Happens If You Don’t Have an Estate Plan

The short answer is, Florida law will decide everything for you, often requiring court processes to do so. There are two main court processes that handle incapacity and end of life matters: Guardianship and Probate.



If you become incapacitated and have not completed incapacity planning documents, your care might be determined by a guardianship court. Florida law and the guardianship court will decide who makes health and financial decisions on your behalf.

Negatives of Guardianship:

  • The person that the court appoints as your guardian may not be who you want making decisions for you
  • Can be expensive and time-consuming
  • If you have minor children, the court will decide the guardian for your children and the guardian appointment may not be who you want for this very important job



In the context of no estate plan, any assets that fall into the probate court will be probated “intestate”. This means that Florida law dictates who will inherit your probated assets.

This scenario can be particularly devastating when the people named under Florida law are not the people you want inheriting your estate.

For example, let’s say you have a blended family and you consider your step-children like your own flesh and blood. If you do not have a Last Will, your step-children could be completely disinherited from your probate estate because step-children in Florida are not included in the intestate inheritance laws.

Remember, your Last Will is your instruction manual for the probate court. If you don’t have a Last Will, then Florida Statutes becomes the instruction manual for your probate assets.

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