Understanding how estate planning plays a role in your life is not always easy to do, especially when you consider issues such as the statute of limitations. Many people are familiar with the idea of a statute of limitations in that it imposes a kind of timeline on people and requires them to act before it’s too late. But how does the statute of limitations affect estate planning? To help explain these concepts, let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions.
What is a statute of limitations?
You can think of a statute of limitations as a game clock. Like a basketball or football game, there’s only a limited amount of time in which the players have two play. Once the clock reaches zero, the game is over.
Similarly, a statute of limitations is kind of like a legal game clock. It places a time limit on how long people have to file a lawsuit. Statute of limitations state how long that time is.
For example, let’s say you suffer a personal injury. In Florida, depending on the nature of the injury, you might have two or four years to file your lawsuit. If you wait until the time limit runs out, a court will dismiss your lawsuit because you didn’t file it within the time allowed under the statute of limitations.
Do statutes of limitations apply to my estate plan?
Not really. The important thing to understand about statutes of limitations is that they apply mostly to people who want to file lawsuits. (They also apply to criminal cases, but this is also something that most people who create an estate plan don’t need to worry about.)
When you create an estate plan, you aren’t filing a lawsuit, you are simply creating legal documents that protect certain choices. As long as you make sure that you create these documents correctly, and that you are legally capable adult at the time you make them, your estate plan will be fine.
When should I worry about a statute of limitations?
While most people who create an estate plan in Florida will not have to worry at all about any kind of statute of limitations, there are times when might apply to you. If you are considering filing a lawsuit, or are participating in any kind of estate litigation, there are statute of limitations issues you will need to consider.
However, there is a lot more that goes into determining how the statute of limitations affects you than simply identifying the time limit established under state law. Always talk to a lawyer immediately if you’re considering filing an estate litigation lawsuit, or think you might need to go to court.