Putting your last wishes on paper is not as easy as it sounds. It can be emotionally draining to come to terms with finality of life, and mentally stressful to make sure you have dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. However, hiring a wills lawyer can help make this task less daunting and ensure it is legally binding.
That being said, every state has varying legal requirements that must be met in order for the will’s integrity to be deemed valid–whether you wrote it on the back of a napkin over lunch or a lawyer formally drafted it.
“According to an AARP survey, 2 out of 5 Americans over the age of 45 don’t have a will.” – AARP
Whether you are 45 or 25, having a will planning attorney draft your will helps preserve your wishes and effectively direct your assets accordingly. In the event that an individual passes without a will, known as intestate, their belongings automatically fall under Florida’s default statutory rules.
If this happens, the State of Florida has set out rules on how assets are distributed, as such, the assets will first be distributed to those related to the deceased. You will see this described in the Florida statute as governing distribution of probate assets of those who die intestate.
Additional Florida Inheritance Rules
Florida has several additional inheritance rules that vary based on the circumstances. For example, assets are first distributed to the decedent’s surviving spouse, if there is one. If not, assets typically go to the decedent’s children and are divided among them.
If the decedent has no surviving spouse or children, their assets would be passed to their parents, siblings, or more distant relatives–in that order. There are some exceptions, such as homestead property, but the asset reallocation process for intestate estates will generally proceed in the aforementioned order.
Should You Hire a Wills Lawyer to Make Your Will?
Drafting a will can be filled with complexities, so it may be in your best interest to hire a lawyer to assist you. But, it is a delicate topic, and many individuals choose to write their own directive for their asset distribution.
If you choose to write your own, you will need to make sure that the writing of your will complies with certain requirements, including the need for it to be signed by you and witnesses while satisfying requirements of Florida law which, unless you are a lawyer or have substantial legal background, you may not be familiar with it. A few things you should be sure to include are the probate assets beneficiaries and the executor to administer the probate estate.
If you’re leaving everything to one person, writing your will on your own may work. However, most wills are more complex and require specific clauses that may not be addressed without the assistance of a wills lawyer.
Hiring a Florida will writing lawyer can help ensure that everything is in order and your will is prepared the way you want it, without missing anything.
“And while you’re working on your will, you should think about preparing other essential estate-planning documents. When you create or update your will, that’s also a good time to think about other advance-planning tools like financial and health care powers of attorney to ensure that your wishes are carried out while you’re still alive,’ says Naomi Karp of AARP’s Public Policy Institute.” – AARP
Should you choose to hire a will planning lawyer, it may behoove you to prepare a list of what you want to include (assets, heirs, etc.) in your will along with any questions you may have prior to meeting with an attorney.
Preserving and memorializing your wishes is important, and our wills lawyer team strives to ensure that each of our client’s wishes is ultimately carried out by counseling them and drafting their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health directives.
“A will is an important way you can stay in control over who gets what of your property, and by planning in advance you can also save your family time and money.” – Sally Hurme, an attorney with AARP
If you have questions pertaining wills, trusts, and estate planning, need assistance drafting any of the above mentioned documents, or have questions about any potential legal matter, contact Apfelbaum Law for a consultation.