Death is not a concept that people enjoy thinking about, however, it is an inevitable part of life. Having a Last Will that is legally prepared in advance is one way to reduce the amount of stress that rests on the shoulders of your loved ones left behind.
Deciding to draft a will is one of the fundamental steps in estate planning, along with setting up a trust, coordinating the appointment of health care surrogates, providing representation during probate and preparing durable powers of attorney.
What Is A Last Will And Testament?
A will is a written document that advises how assets are distributed after death. The laws surrounding this document will vary from one state to another, guiding the details of what makes the last will and testament legally valid.
In Florida, there are certain legal details that are required to make the last will valid, namely;
- The testator must be at least 18-years old
- The will must be written
- There must be two witnesses
- The testator must be sound of mind at the time of signing the will
- Florida legal specifics must be followed
- The will must be proved valid in the probate court
How To Draft A Will In Florida
There are a few essential steps that are needed to draft a will in order for it to be valid in Florida court. If you’re uncertain about these details, then you can ask an attorney all of your will-related questions.
Understanding that the above requirements pertaining to age and mental state are met, the following steps are followed when drafting a will.
- Consider the properties that you want to include in your will, and who will inherit these assets
- Choose an executor to handle your estate
- Pick a guardian for your children, if relevant, as well as someone to manage their properties
- Draft your will in a written format
- Sign your will in front of two witnesses (and get them to sign the will as well)
- Keep your will safely stored, informing a trusted individual of its whereabouts
Unlike other states, a will in Florida does not need to be notarized. However, if you want your will to be self-proving, then it is advised. This will help the probate process to be speedy and efficient.
Consulting a lawyer is not required, but it is a valuable asset during this process, especially if you think that your will may be contested or concerned about missing any legal details.
Making Changes To A Will
Florida allows for a will to be revoked or changed when desired. If you want your will to be changed, then it’s advised that you revoke the will and make a new one.
Changing A Will In Florida
Minor changes in a will can be added with an amendment to an existing will, known as a codicil. Any changes to the will need to be formalized in the same way as drafting a will.
Revoking A Will
Revoking a will can be done in a choice of ways.
- Physically destroying the will yourself
- Instructing someone else to physically destroy the will in front of you
- Draft a new will that revokes the prior one or includes contradictory terms
In the instance of a divorce, or a marriage that is not legal, then Florida law will revoke the language in your will that leaves property to your spouse or names your spouse as your personal representative.
Get The Help Of An Expert To Draft A Will
Having a team of dedicated and professional experts to offer sound advice and provide attention to detail is highly valuable when you draft a will and testament.
If you’re looking for an expert to guide the process of drafting a will, then contact us at 954-796-960. Our professional team of estate planning lawyers has more than 50 years of serving South Florida locals – and we’d love to help you too.
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