What is a Will?
A will is a document that stipulates what happens with your assets upon your death. In Florida, the maker of the will, or the testator, can be anyone of at least 18 years of age. Each state has different rules to ensure a will is enforceable. In Florida, you must have the will signed and notarized with a witness.
The testator can make changes to the will at any time. However, it is essential to note that changes must be made by creating a new will or by written amendment, as edits to the original will or crossing out information may invalidate the original will.
Who Inherits When There’s No Will in Florida?
Putting together an effective estate plan with an experienced attorney is important. If you don’t have a complex estate, you may find that just having a will is sufficient.
Without a will, your estate will go through the probate process. A personal representative will be appointed to manage the process and distribute the assets according to a formula to your heirs. The formula used is the inheritance statute and must be followed without regard to the wishes of your heirs but rather by law.
Why is it Beneficial For Your Heirs For You To Have a Will?
The probate process can be time-consuming and costly. If you pass away without a will, there is someone appointed to handle your affairs. This person is typically not someone you or your heirs know.
By having a will in place, you can avoid most or all of the probate process, which can save your family time and money. Suppose privacy is a priority to you and your family. In that case, you can also avoid having so much of your personal information made public throughout the probate process by having an effective plan in place.
By having a plan in place, you can also account for those heirs who either may need extra support or shouldn’t have access to funds. For example, if you have a son or daughter that maybe isn’t as equipped to handle an influx of cash from your estate, you can stipulate how those funds will be distributed to add protection. Also, if you have an heir that may benefit more than others as a beneficiary, you can ensure they are taken care of by addressing that in your estate plan.
Additional Benefits of Creating a Will
When you create a will, you can choose who will manage your estate upon your death rather than having the state appoint someone. This option allows you to choose someone you trust and who understands your wishes, whether a relative or a company you trust with your assets.
You can also choose to gift assets to charities or other important needs upon your death.
Guardians can also be named in a will to care for minor children. This option may be especially important to some so they can ensure their children are taken care of by someone they trust after they are gone should something unexpected happen to them.
Creating a will allows you to be in the driver’s seat and decide who will have tax ramifications rather than the state making those decisions. Through a comprehensive estate plan, you can eliminate most of the tax implications for your family that can occur upon death.
Do I Need to Make Regular Updates to My Will?
An effective will is enforceable indefinitely, provided it was a valid will to begin with. You can make changes as necessary by adding further instructions via addendums or creating a new will.
Life can change in the blink of an eye. Maybe the people who were once named beneficiaries are no longer legally part of your family for divorce or other reasons. You can make changes to your will to account for the changes in your life as you see fit.
Does Everyone Need a Will?
The short answer is yes; everyone who is over the age of 18 should have an enforceable will in place. Some may feel that they don’t have enough of an estate to plan ahead for, but the truth is, by having a will in place, your heirs can benefit more from your assets rather than having them eaten up by unnecessary taxes and fees through the probate process.
A will is one tool that can be used as part of a comprehensive estate plan. You can utilize trusts and other options to further protect your assets and family.
No matter the size or complexity of your estate, there are benefits for almost anyone to have a will in place.
Does Everyone Need a Will?
Our team prides itself on being patient and kind with our clients while being aggressive and thorough with our opponents. We take the time to listen to our clients, to really understand their wishes, and to learn what their priorities are.
Call our office at (407) 904-9166 today to schedule your initial consultation and learn what options may benefit you and your family. You have worked your entire life for the assets you now possess.
Don’t let them be in the hands of the state or someone you don’t know. Put together an effective plan that allows your heirs to benefit best from your legacy. You can continue to care for your loved ones long after you are gone by doing so.
We look forward to serving you and your family.