Ask the Attorney: Christina Campbell
Answers to Frequently Asked Estate Planning Questions
Christina Campbell, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney – McLin Burnsed
There are many ways to be involved with Habitat Lake-Sumter but unarguably, one of the greatest gifts you will ever give, will be the legacy you leave behind. Leaving a legacy gift is easy and Christina Campbell from McLin Burnsed is here to offer insight and guide you through the first steps to estate planning.
When you give to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, Florida through your estate or long-term financial plans, you are forging your life legacy with the mission of building homes, communities, and hope and ensuring that later generations can secure decent, safe and affordable housing right here in Lake and Sumter Counties.
Question: What Happens if I Die Without A Will?
Answer: If you die without a Will, then you die “Intestate,” this means your state’s laws of descent and distribution will determine who receives your property by default. These laws vary from state to state, but typically the distribution would be to your spouse and children, or if none, to other family members. A state’s plan often reflects the legislature’s guess as to how most people would dispose of their estates and builds in protections for certain beneficiaries, particularly minor children. That plan may or may not reflect your actual wishes. An important factor that is overlooked by the state’s intestate laws is charitable giving. If you wish to leave a gift to a charitable organization, such as Habitat for Humanity, upon your death it is important that you plan for this gift ahead of time.
Question: Does my Will avoid probate?
Answer: No. Your Will is the very thing that “gets probated”. That is, your Will tells the probate court who you want to oversee probate, and who you want to receive your probate assets.
Question: What is “Probate”?
Answer: Probate is the court-supervised process of administering your estate and transferring your property at death pursuant to the terms of your Will. In addition, many types of property routinely pass outside of the probate process. Probate does have disadvantages as well as advantages.
Question: Are there assets that are not controlled by my Will?
Answer: Absolutely. Your Will only controls “Probate Assets.” Certain assets do not go through Probate and are therefore not controlled by your Will. Non-Probate assets include jointly owned property, IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, life insurance, and assets held in a Trust. Non-probate assets list co-owners or beneficiaries. Beneficiary designations are an easy way to ensure your assets pass to your desired loved ones or charitable organizations upon your death.
Question: What do I do now?
Answer: Plan ahead! While it is important to talk to your family and loved ones about your wishes, these plans need to be executed properly to be enforceable. Having an experienced estate planning attorney guide you through the process can help ensure your assets pass to your desired beneficiaries.
Call or email Danielle Stroud at (352) 483-0434 ext. 133, Danielle@HabitatLS.org to learn more about how to leave Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter in your will, trust, or annuity plan.
About the Attorney: Christina A. Campbell is from Lakeland, Florida. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida in 2016 and practices Estate Planning and Elder Law at McLin Burnsed’s Lake Sumter Landing Office.
Christina enjoys giving back to her community and serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Lake & Sumter County and currently serves on the Community Impact Committee. In her free time, Christina enjoys practicing yoga, baking, and spending time with her family.