Estate Planning Overview

It is never too early or too soon to start arranging your last health care and property wishes. By using the right estate planning tools you can help ensure that your friends and family honor your last wishes and are accommodated in after your passing. At Winston Law, P.A. we can help you develope estate planning documents, including Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Trusts, Trusts, Health Care Surrogate and Living Wills.

What is a will?

Also called a Last Will and Testament, a will is a legal document regulating the distribution of property after passing. Each state has individual guidelines and necessities when drafting a will. In the state of Florida, you must be at least 18 years of age to draft a will, you must be of sound mind when you sign the will, and your will has to be written, witnessed and notarized. A will is not recognized as final until the death of the testator (individual who creates the will). It may be revised with a codicil (change or addition) or renounced and another one may be drafted. A will can’t be modified by writing on it or crossing out words, after it is executed.

What happens in Florida if I die without a will?

In Florida, dying without a will is called dying intestate. If an individual dies without having a legitimately executed will, Florida laws of inheritance will gain control in the following ways:

  • Your living spouse will obtain the whole estate if there are no children or grandchildren living (lineal descendants).
  • In the case that there are living kids and grandchildren, your husband or wife will get half the estate and the other half will be given to the lineal descendants.
  • In the case that your spouse does not survive you, your lineal descendants will divide the estate.
  • In the case that you have no surviving husband or wife or lineal descendants, the estate will be given to your parents.
  • In the case that you have no surviving parents, husband or wife, or lineal descendants the estate will be given to your siblings or their lineal descendants.

Florida inheritance laws don’t make procurements for charities, friends, or unmarried domestic partners.

Do I need any other important estate planning documents?

Living Will

A Living Will determines what kind of life sparing measures you would like or would not like if you are in a vegetative state or have a terminal condition. A Living Will must be in accordance with Florida Statute 765.03.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney designates an alternate individual to make business, legal and financial choices for you in the event that you are incapacitated or unable to act on the behalf of yourself. This document will get rid of the need for the court to choose a guardian to handle your affairs if you come to be forever or briefly debilitated.

Designation of Healthcare Surrogate

A Health Care Power of Attorney permits you to choose an individual to settle on health care decisions for you provided that you come to be permanently or temporarily debilitated and unable to decide on your own. This document should also permit your designated individual to gain confidential medical information they would otherwise not be able to have under Federal HIPPA laws.

If you or a loved one are considering drafting estate planning tools or you would like additional information, please contact Winston Law, P.A. at (561) 670-9375 or for your free consultation.