Wills are the foundation of an estate plan. The primary role of this document is dictating what happens to your assets when you pass away or are unable to manage them.
At Di Pietro Partners we offer high quality estate planning expertise to our clients. This expertise includes various legal matters involving Florida wills including:
- Drafting a Will
- Modifying an Existing Will
- Legal Disputes Over Wills
- Probating Wills
- Probate Without a Will
Continue reading to learn more, or contact one of our experienced lawyers to help you and your family plan for a comfortable future.
Types of Florida Wills
Last Will and Testament – This is the document that allows you to hand down all your assets to particular persons and/or entities, assign guardians for your minor children, as well as prevent children and your assets from being dispersed among the default beneficiaries of the state. Here’s an example of a Florida Last Will and Testament.
Living Will – Many people today are drawing up living wills. These stipulate medical and health care instructions to be carried out should you be on a life support system. This is a statement regarding your desires about the use of extraordinary measures or means to extend your life should there be no assurance that your consciousness will be regained. A power of attorney must be named in conjunction with a living will. Here’s an example of a Florida Living Will.
The two wills mentioned above are the most common; however there are many other types of wills for individuals with more complex estate planning needs.
Frequently Asked Questions Involving Wills
Why should you write your will?
Writing your will is one of the most significant things you will do in your lifetime. Your will is, after all, the legal document which clearly specifies your wishes as to what will happen to your property, the future of your children (if any), and other assets when you pass away.
Your will is where you are able to assign a person to assume the role of legal guardian of your children. No matter how you look at it the writing of your last will and testament is crucial, it is a form of legal command stipulating your final wishes that you leave behind.
In your will, it is important you name the executor of your entire estate. One of the executor’s roles is to distribute your assets to all of your selected recipients, whether they are your children, distant relatives, friends, or even employees. This individual must be someone you completely trust, as he or she will be playing the most vital role in handling your estate when you die. Their obligation is to see that your wishes are properly followed.
Being the head of your household, or merely owner of an estate, it is sometimes assumed that when you pass on, you must choose among the people dearest to you to receive some of your assets. History has shown us that many times family members quarrel over estates left by a deceased relative. There are even instances when someone even resorts to committing a violent act.
When the fighting starts peace and harmony among the group becomes compromised. Most importantly your wishes become secondary and those in your life focus on their own desires. The best way to avoid this type of scenario is to take the time to put things in proper order by taking the steps to properly prepare and execute a legally binding last will and testament.
What happens if you die without a will?
Should you pass away without having properly executed a will, not only will your estate, assets, and care for your children be jeopardized, but based on the laws of the state in which you live, the court is given due power to choose and decide on the administration of all your possessions.
In these types of scenarios often things can get out of hand, and no matter what your known feelings were about specific people or issues you lose all control of the disposition of your assets and potentially leave behind a significant mess.
With a written will, the decision to appoint recipients is totally up to you. Thus, even if you don’t entrust your home to your legal wife, no one has the authority to question it, since you have left behind legal proof to support your last wishes.
How do you legally draft a will?
There are several simple steps that must be taken however there is far more required to ensure everything is done properly. To validate the legality of your will, there are conditions that must be met. Here are some of the requirements to legally draft a will in Florida.
- You must be a minimum of 18 years old
- You need to be able to legally execute a document.
- The document must be signed in the presence of legal aged witnesses
- The person drafting a will must be of sound mind.
The most important aspect to guarantee that your will is properly prepared is to work with an estate planning attorney that has some expertise in this field.
It is important to think about your estate and how you want it properly distributed in the future. Who are your potential recipients? What assets or properties would you like to assign for each of them? Since you never know what life holds for you in the future, it is best to plan ahead of time. Draft your will accordingly. To be sure your actions are legal, it will be best to contact a qualified lawyer to help you properly get things put in order. It is through these small steps that will and trust litigation may be avoided in the future.