Also known as a Last Will and Testament, a will is an authoritative document regulating the arrangement of property after death. It is very important to have a legally executed will to ensure that your friends and family honor your final wishes and are accommodated in your absence. A will can no longer be changed after the death of the testator (individual who made the will). Then, the court starts to carry out the estate through a procedure called probate. It is important to prepare for how your estate will be distributed before passing so as to prevent inquiries concerning your propositions which can cause a troublesome and costly probate process.

When it comes to creating a will, it is critical that you have a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that your will meets Florida’s requirements, can be verified, and the language is easily understood, or it may be tested in court throughout the probate process. In the state of Florida, you are to be at least 18 years old to make a will, you must be of sound mind when signing the will, and the will itself must be written, witnessed and notarized.

A will permits you to do the following:

  • A guardian can be chosen for minor children.
  • You can choose who gets your property in place of the law making the decision for you.
  • You are able to name an individual to administer your estate (as long as that individual qualifies under Florida law).
  • A trust may be made inside the will in order to have the estate or a part of the estate be kept for relatives including minor children.
  • Real estate can be sold with no need for court action.
  • You may choose who will receive the burden of tax.

Prior to meeting with an experienced and skilled estate planning attorney to create your will, it is important to think about the following:

  • The names of two individuals that you want to serve as your own representative, one as a primary and the second as a successor in the event that the primary delegate can’t act.
  • If have minor children, you will need to choose a guardian to care for them.
  • If you have minor children, you will need to assign a trustee to control the property left for them inside the will (this can, however is not required to be the designated guardian).
  • A fundamental idea of the property within your estate and the value of the estate so you can think about how you would like it to be divided.

After your will has been created, it is essential for you to keep it in a safe, well-kept spot. Wills are not public records and are not kept at the courthouse. It is suggested that you hold your will in a safety deposit box, a home safe or a spot where you keep other vital papers and documents. Also, it is proposed that you give a duplicate of your will to your personal representative or other relative.

When you have a valid will it is important for you to keep it updated with any ensuing changes in your estate. Changes might include, but are not limited to, the children or other relatives being born, the passing of a relative, the procurement of new property or the relinquishment of property. Changes to your will can be made by taking back your original will and making another updated will or adding more provisions to your will by way of codicil. You cannot make revisions to your will on the original document after it is executed.

In the event that you or a loved one are considering creating estate planning tools, for example a will, or you want additional information, please contact Winston Law, P.A. at (561) 670-9375 or susan@winstonlawpa.com for your free consultation