Michael and David are a same sex couple who live in the same house, owned by Michael. Michael prepares a will leaving everything he owns to David. Michael is still married to Evelyn who lives in Iowa with their minor child. For various reasons, they never divorced and don’t necessarily intend to do so. Michael dies. Does David get everything owned by Michael? No. In Florida, you cannot disinherit your spouse. Evelyn is entitled to an elective share of Michael’s estate equaling thirty percent (30%) of his assets. This includes assets he may have owned jointly with David. Additionally, as he was survived by a minor child, Michael cannot devise his homestead property to anyone other than his minor child.
This is one example of good intentions gone bad for an unmarried couple, whether same sex or traditional. For this and many reasons, proper estate planning with a qualified attorney is important if you want your wishes carried out as you intend.
About the Author: Peggy Hoyt Peggy R. Hoyt practices in the areas of family wealth and legacy counselling, including trust and estate planning and administration, elder law, small business creation, succession and exit planning, real estate transactions and animal law.