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florida-chapter-7-bankruptcy-attorneyMany people dismiss the importance of having a will until their family suffers the repercussions of their loved one’s failure to prepare one. Taking a proactive approach to the future, such as establishing a will or estate plan, ensures the protection of your family and your assets. Although creating a legally-binding will is not simple, a Florida will attorney can provide you with comprehensive legal support.

At Fleysher Law, our Florida will attorney is here to help you build and protect your legacy. Our experienced estate planning lawyer understands how essential a well-drafted will is for your family’s future. Whether you need in-depth and complex planning for your estate or a straightforward will with simple instructions, we can help.

Our knowledgeable Florida will attorneys have decades of experience helping our clients with necessary estate documents. Our main goal is to help you and your family craft a thoughtful estate plan for the future. Contact us at 954-484-9987 to schedule a free consultation protected by an attorney-client relationship.

A Florida Will Lawyer Can Help You Create Your Wills

will-lawyer-can-help-you-create-your-willsUnder Florida law, its residents have the privilege to dispose of their property as they see fit at death. But they can only gain this freedom by executing a valid will. For a Florida will to be effective, it must meet certain formalities. People who do not correctly establish a will can leave catastrophic aftermath for their families.

By trusting a Florida will attorney, you can rest easy knowing that an experienced attorney listens to your needs and creates a will that meets your goal.

Our will lawyer can:

  • Advise you on how Florida law could affect your plans and ensure that your will meets the state law
  • Speak with you about your goals and tell you what should be addressed in your will
  • Discuss potential tax implications for your will
  • Evaluate complicated estates and draft a will, outlining your wishes clearly
  • Explain how other estate planning tools can fit into your strategy
  • Check with you from time to time to ensure your will is up to date as some changes happen in your life

What Is a Will?

A Florida will, also known as the last will, is a legal document detailing how an individual wants their property to be distributed after death. In a will, you can name a guardian of your minor children and designate the people responsible for distributing and managing your property. Florida law determines who will inherit your assets if you die without a will. But a last will and testament will override the default inheritance provisions of the state law.

Why Should You Have a Will?

why-you-should-have-a-willIt’s a common misconception that only wealthy people or those with intricate assets need wills. But, this estate planning document can give you more benefits than you thought:

  • You can give direct instructions about who gets your assets. You can decide who gets what and how much.
  • You can appoint who should care for your minor children. If you don’t have a will, the probate court will decide.
  • You can keep your property from the people you don’t want them to have.
  • Your heirs will have an easier and faster time accessing your assets.
  • You can plan to save your estate money on taxes. You can also give charitable donations or gifts, which can help offset the estate tax.
  • You can reduce the chance of your family members fighting over who receives what asset or property.

How Is a Will Made?

Any individual who is of sound mind can make a will. Your will must meet the following requirements to be valid:

  • The testator must sign it. The testator must be 18 years old and mentally competent. If the testator can’t comprehend the document they are signing, then the will is invalid.
  • It must be in writing. Your will must be typed or handwritten. Per Florida law, nuncupative or oral wills are invalidated as it lacks validity.
  • It must have the testator’s signature at the end of the will. If the signature appears earlier in the will, it could be invalid.
  • It must have two witnesses. Witnesses should be competent individuals. But, witnesses should not be a beneficiary of the will or related to the testator. The testator and witnesses should sign a self-proving affidavit, typically at the conclusion of the document. The self-proving testimony makes probating the will faster and easier by eliminating the requirement that the witnesses testify in the probate proceeding to validate the will.
  • The testator and witnesses must sign in it the same room. The testator and two witnesses must all be in the same room and sign at the same time.

What Are Codicils?

In Florida, the testator can make minor changes to their will through a codicil. A codicil is a legal document dictating any amendments or clarifications to your last will without having to rewrite the whole document. A codicil is an excellent tool to keep your will up to date. However, to make it valid, a codicil must meet the formal requirements of a will.

Do Wills Go to Probate?

A will can’t avoid the probate process. It is usually imperative to go through probate when there’s a will. A probate court process determines the will’s validity and interprets its instructions. Many people want to avoid the probate process as they deem it a roadblock between them and the resolution of their loved one’s estate and wishes. With careful planning and preparation of your estate using different legal tools, your party can sometimes avoid probate.

What Is a Living Will?

what-is-a-living-willAs an estate planning tool, a living will let you describe what your loved ones should do about your medical and palliative care if you become incapacitated to make those decisions yourself. A last will only take effect once you pass away, but a living will handle such affairs while you’re still alive. Making a living will is more complicated than the last will because you have to think thoroughly about how to make your life more comfortable when terminal illness, advanced age, or chronic injury has left you unable to look after yourself.

A living will include:

  • Medications you want to use to make your final weeks more comfortable;
  • Life-saving measures to follow in medical emergencies;
  • Organ donations and transplants; and
  • Your desired place or institution of palliative care residency

What Are Invalid Wills in Florida?

Two types of wills are not recognized in Florida:

  • Holographic will. This type of will is handwritten by the testator but is not signed by the witnesses. A holographic will is still invalid even if the testator creates the will in another state that allows this type of will.
  • Nuncupative will. In this type of will, the testator makes a will orally in the presence of witnesses. In some jurisdictions, terminally ill residents are allowed to make this will when there’s not enough time to make a written one. However, Florida does not allow this type of will.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Florida?

what-happens-if-someone-dies-without-a-willIn Florida, a person who dies without a will is considered to have died intestate. Florida Statute Chapter 732, Part I explains the consequences of dying intestate in Florida. This statute dictates how a person’s property is divided among heirs, such as the decedent’s children, spouse, and other heirs.

How Much Does a Will Cost in Florida?

The average cost of a will depends on which part of Florida you are in. For instance, the Florida metro’s average cost of establishing a legally-binding will is under $500. The average fee for drafting a will typically excludes a consultation with an attorney and estate planning.

Having an estate planning attorney draft your will is more expensive. But the higher fee can be worthwhile if you seek legal advice about how you must draft your will, how you can customize it, and if certain options are best for your needs. An excellent will attorney will not simply sell you a form; they will ensure that your specific needs and wishes are fulfilled.

What Should a Will Cover?

what-should-a-will-coverA carefully drafted will has two key parts:

  • Clear instructions about your wishes about the beneficiaries of your property
  • Identification of the PR or executor, the person who you want to settle your affairs and handle the distribution of your estate after you pass away

How Can I Revoke My Will in Florida?

Here are a few ways to revoke your Florida will:

  • You can destroy your will. Burning, tearing, shredding, or throwing it away qualifies as a revocation.
  • You can ask someone to destroy it in your presence. This is not common, but it is also a legal way to revoke your will.
  • You can create a new will. Your new will can automatically revoke or override your previously established will. Your most recent will should include a statement that all previous clauses in the former will are revoked.

Can I Write My Own Will in the State of Florida?

Yes. You can write your own will without a will attorney or using a document service. However, you will still need to follow all the will requirements under Florida law. Part V of Chapter 32 of the Florida Statutes outlines the will requirements.

What Is a Personal Representative in Florida?

Personal representatives, also known as executors, are people explicitly named in a will who will be in charge of managing your estate. Their duties include:

  • Safeguarding and identifying your assets.
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Notifying and paying creditors.
  • Paying taxes and fees.

The personal representative has the authority to hire a probate lawyer, certified public accountant, and other professionals to assist with the process. The personal representative is required to report to the probate court occasionally.

Does a Will Need to Be Updated?

Yes. If you already have a valid will in Florida, it is always advisable to have it reviewed when your circumstances have changed. Remarriage, additional children and stepchildren, divorce, and an increase in your assets and property are just a few reasons to revisit your will.

Can I Change My Will After a Divorce?

Yes. You can cancel your old will by creating a new one. But it must contain a statement that revokes all previous wills. It is an excellent time to update your will if you are legally separated. For instance, if your ex-spouse is your current personal representative, you may change that and appoint a new one. You may also make amendments to your heirs and update the distribution of your assets based on your post-divorce circumstances. Our Florida ‘will lawyer near me’ can guide you through the process to ensure crucial life changes are fully addressed in your updated will.

Is a Living Will the Same as a Will?

No. A living will is not the same as your last will and testament. Generally, a living will is a legal document instructing anyone or your doctor to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining procedures.

How Long Is My Will Valid?

Your will remains valid unless:

  • You revoke or cancel your will on purpose.
  • You get divorced anytime after creating your will, and there is a property settlement.

Contact the Florida Will Attorneys at Fleysher Law for a Free Consultation

florida-will-attorneyWills are essential aspects of an estate plan. You may prepare a will on your own, but unintended consequences could arise. By having an estate planning lawyer on your side, you can rest easy that your will is created in a way that protects your interests and accounts for all known eventualities.

At our law firm, we take time to speak, listen, and understand the unique needs of our clients. We put our decades of experience to work to create the appropriate estate plan to address your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a Florida will lawyer. The estate planning lawyer at Fleysher Law can review your needs, build a plan for your estate, and create a well-suited will for your unique situation.