Florida Wills & Testament: Get It Now with Our Help
Do you feel worried about what will happen with your loved ones when you pass away? Without a last will and testament, the future is set to be rocky and uneasy. This is why you need these documents, to protect your family even when you are no longer here, and this is our specialty.
After assisting hundreds of clients in Florida to create their wills and testaments, we have helped them to protect their loved ones’ future, by creating strategic documents that bring peace of mind and certainty about the future. We can bring you the same results.
Contact us at (305) 921-0976 for a private consultation with an experienced attorney. If you want to learn more about our services, keep reading.
Florida Wills & Testament: How We Can Help You
A will is only one of the several documents that compose an estate plan, and hence, it is vital to work with a team of attorneys that have successfully designed and created wills in the past. This is the experience we put at your disposal, and here is how we can help you.
The Importance and Functions of Wills and Testaments in Florida
The last will and testament is a fundamental part of estate planning in Florida. In this formal document, the testator (person making the will) outlines specific instructions regarding the disposition of his/her property upon death.
Additionally, wills are often used by younger parents to designate a guardian of minor children in case of a parent’s untimely death when there are no surviving biological or adoptive parents.
Under Florida law, “any person who is of sound mind and who is either 18 or more years of age or an emancipated minor may make a will.” Also, the provisions in the will may be altered, amended, or revoked during the testator’s lifetime, being carried out only upon that person’s death.
When the testator passes away, his/her last will is administered in a court-supervised process called probate. During probate, the court adjudicating the case will verify the validity of the last will and oversee the process of transferring the legal title of property to the decedent’s heirs named in the document.
In this regard, one of the main purposes of a will is to designate a personal representative (or executor). The person appointed as the decedent’s personal representative will administer the estate subject to probate and ensure the document’s instructions are carried out as outlined.
Although an often overlooked aspect of life, the last will is overwhelmingly important, as it will define how your assets will be distributed after your passing and who will be responsible for administering the process in court.
Plus, drafting a will requires attention to detail and legal knowledge, as any mistakes incurred during the process might result in serious issues, such as invalidating the will, exposing your loved ones to stressful situations, and a hefty amount of taxes and financial liabilities.
If you need legal counseling when preparing the ideal will, we have the legal experience and expertise to guide you throughout the process. Since 2010, we have been designing successful estate plans; thus, it will be a pleasure to have you among our hundreds of satisfied clients.
Are There Different Types of Wills in Florida?
Contrary to popular belief, there are several types of wills in Florida. Essentially, each type serves a different purpose, depending on the testator’s circumstances and goals.
Simple Wills – These are last wills containing only the basic clauses, such as listing beneficiaries, designating a guardian for minor children, and appointing an executor. Usually, simple wills are not sufficient to encompass large or wealthy estates.
Joint Wills – Some married couples may opt for a joint will, which is one document for two people. Typically, this type of will is used when spouses want to make each other beneficiaries upon the other spouse’s death, and then establish secondary beneficiaries once the couple is gone (e.g., children).
Testamentary Wills – Also referred to as “will trusts,” testamentary wills can be used for long-term care of beneficiaries – although they are useless to avoid probate.
Pour-Over Wills – Similarly, a pour-over will offers more privacy than standard wills, as they work in conjunction with revocable trusts. However, they also require probate, which is not useful from a cost-effective viewpoint.
Nuncupative/Holographic Wills – There are also nuncupative (verbally expressed) and holographic (handwritten) wills. Under Florida law, both are not recognized as valid – unless in specific circumstances. Ultimately, the best way to ensure your will actually fits your needs is by having your case assessed with us.
The Requirements for a Valid Will in Florida
As provided by Chapter 732 of the Florida Statutes, the validity of a will depends on meeting a set of legal requirements. In this sense, a valid will must be:
- In writing
- Written by someone 18 or older
- Written by someone with legal testamentary capacity
- Signed by the testator (at the end of the document) in the presence of two witnesses
- Signed by the two witnesses in the presence of the testator and the presence of each other
As established by Florida Statutes §732.502, any amendment made to a will (codicil) is valid only if executed with the same legal formalities as the original document. Upon the testator’s passing, his/her heirs must submit the will to the court to start probate.
This process will “prove” the validity of the will, which is presenting evidence to the court that the document was properly executed. However, it is possible to save time by writing a “self-proving” will.
As a self-proving will requires no further authentication before admission to probate, it provides a useful manner to expedite the probate process. When preparing a self-proving will, the testator and the two witnesses must acknowledge the document with a notary.
In this regard, we can guide you through all the steps to prepare a valid and legal will. Therefore, you will be able to avoid unforeseen issues and safeguard your loved ones against unnecessary headaches upon your passing.
Wills and Trusts – We Help You Choose the Right One
Similar to a last will, trusts are legal documents used to name beneficiaries for your property. Besides, these two documents are distinct, as both serve different purposes.
In a trust, the trustor or grantor (person setting up the trust) transfers the title of the property to a trustee for the benefit of one or multiple beneficiaries. Consequently, all the property titled to the trustee will pass directly to the beneficiaries outside of probate.
A trust provides a valuable manner to circumvent probate, saving your loved ones’ time and financial resources that would be spent in the court. Nonetheless, trusts are more complex to set up and expensive to maintain. Plus, one cannot name a guardian for minor children using a trust.
Ideally, the best approach is to reunite the best of both worlds and use both of them in conjunction. Consult with us immediately to have your case assessed and find the best alternative according to your needs and goals.
Why You Should Not Write Your Own Will (Let Alone Use Free Will Templates)
In Florida, no law prohibits you from writing your own will nor using free will templates available online. Although it is possible to write a valid and enforceable last will on your own, this is not advisable regardless of the situation.
Since you would never put the future of your family at risk simply for saving a few dollars, the best approach is to have an experienced attorney prepare your last will to ensure full legal compliance.
Any small mistakes committed during this process could be fatal, creating an everlasting cycle of issues that would ruin the execution and distribution of your estate upon death. Common issues associated with DIY wills include:
- Failure to utilize the proper language required
- Failure to designate a proper executor
- Failure to comply with the legal formalities
- Imprecise or vague language
- Undue influence
- Failure to distinguish probate assets and non-probate assets
- Naming witnesses that are not appropriate witnesses
- Failure to comply with signature-related requirements
Drafting a single phrase the wrong way could alter the entire distribution of your estate negatively. If you want to save money at the end of the day, investing in premium legal advice is way too inexpensive when compared to the price paid with probate litigation, family disputes, and stressful situations.
Contact Us to Write a Valid Last Will and Testament in Florida
A valid last will and testament will protect your family’s future, let us do it now. Contact us at (305) 921-0976 or email us at Romy@juradolawfirm.com for a private consultation with an experienced attorney on wills and testaments. Together we will protect your future and legacy.