Last Will & Testament
A last will and testament is like the bread and butter of estate planning, and it is usually the first document that comes to mind when you think of end-of-life planning. This commonality can be deceptive, leading people to think that creating a will is easy.
In truth, a last will and testament in Florida must meet certain criteria to be considered valid. Whether you are starting from scratch or need a current will reviewed and amended, we are prepared to help by listening to your preferences and guiding you to a successful result.
What is a Last Will and Testament?
We don’t want to assume that the popularity of this document means everyone knows exactly what it is. In fact, that is often not the case at all. A last will and testament, or will, is a legal document that sets forth instructions on how a person’s belongings, assets, and responsibilities should be handled upon their death.
A will is useful for a myriad of purposes, including:
Naming a guardian for minor children
Selecting an executor for your estate
Designating beneficiaries for your assets
A will can do these things and more, but it cannot or should not:
Be only for the rich or those with plentiful assets
Address all the possible facets of your estate
Be used for setting funeral plans or burial wishes
Avoid probate court or estate taxes
Validity of Florida Wills
Usually, when we discuss wills, we are referring to attested wills. These are documented in writing and signed by both the person to who the will belongs, as well as two witnesses. These are common and fully recognized as valid in the state of Florida.
There are other types of wills that are recognized and accepted in the state, including military wills, which are executed according to federal laws. Holographic wills are written by hand and signed only by the person who is creating the will. These are not valid in Florida because of the absence of witnesses and the handwritten status has no effect. A will written by hand can be accepted if it has been witnessed and signed according to the legal requirements.
Oral wills are not valid, and out-of-state wills are considered on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to us if you have concerns about the validity of your will, and we can help you decide how to move forward if you need to change any details of your current document.
So, what happens if the decedent, or person who has passed, did not have a valid will at the time of their death? The estate will go through probate as intestate and numerous factors impact how the estate is distributed and closed. Your estate will still have an executor and beneficiaries will also be named, with both of these decisions being made by a judge.
You can avoid potential conflicts by keeping the decision-making power in your hands. Call us today at 727-477-2255 to start planning your last will and testament.