Wills are an essential part of any estate plan and are applicable to anyone regardless of the size of their estate. Wills serve many purposes; for instance, they help provide care for loved ones after your passing, detail funeral arrangements, and detail how your assets are distributed post-mortem. The State of Florida has a specific process for drafting wills; it’s vital each step is followed to avoid legal issues with your will; thus, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure a will is properly drafted, witnessed, and executed.

The estate planning attorneys at Di Pietro Partners have decades of experience in drafting wills for clients in Florida. Furthermore, our lawyers have extensive trial experience in matters involving disputes over wills; thus, we understand the importance of being thorough when drafting a will.

If you’re looking to update or draft a will, contact us at our main office in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

If you have a legal issue involving probate such as contesting wills anywhere in the State of Florida, call us at 800-712-8462

Types Of Wills

Your will is vital in planning a comfortable future for your loved ones. There are many different variations of wills; however, only certain wills are legally recognized in a given State. Below are some of the most commonly used wills in the State of Florida.

Simple WillAs the name may suggest, this will is the most common, and the most “straightforward” compared to others. Basically, a simple will is a legal document that details wishes of the person writing the will (the testator). This includes: the distribution of assets after death, care for family members, and more. This is commonly known as the “last will and testament.”

Pour-Over WillSimply put, this is very similar to a “simple will;” however, one difference is that the pour-over will dictates what property/assets should be placed in a trust after your passing.

Complex WillAs the name indicates, a complex will is more in-depth. This will is commonly used for estates that are large and/or have specific conditions such as: estate taxes, special needs trusts, etc.

Testamentary Will – The testamentary will actually involves setting up a trust within a will. In fact, the real name of this document is “testamentary trust,” and is commonly referred to as “will trust” or “trust under will.” This provides more flexibility for an estate planning strategy in several ways including the potential in reducing/avoiding estate taxes.

Probate and Wills

Once a person dies, wills are required to go through probate court. Probate is necessary in the administration of assets to a decedent’s beneficiaries outlined within the will. This process is required to prove the validity of the will and ensure assets are properly distributed to the correct beneficiaries.

If someone challenges the validity of a will, then this becomes a more complex matter of probate litigation.

When someone dies without a valid will, assets/property are considered “intestate” and the probate process becomes more lengthy and complex. If someone dies “intestate,” the State of Florida will try and determine who receives assets based on relation to the deceased individual. In other words, these assets will generally go to a spouse, or family member. According to Florida law,

“If the decedent was survived by a spouse but left no living descendants, the surviving spouse receives all of the decedent’s probate estate. A “descendant” is a person in any generational level down the descending line from the decedent and includes children, grandchildren, parents and more remote descendants.” (The Florida Bar, Consumer Pamphlet: Probate In Florida, 2018).