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Will Administration – The Do’s and Don’ts

will administration

A will is a legal document that states your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and money should you pass away. Will administration is vital and to maximize the likelihood that your wishes are carried out, you want a will to be in writing, and signed by you and your witnesses. Everyone’s will is unique but there are certain “do’s” and “don’ts” one should follow when drawing up their will. Your will provides the court with guidance as to how to distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes once you have passed away. If you fail to write a valid and executable will, your estate could be left intestate. In such a case, the state statutes determines who receives your property upon your death, which may not be the way you would have chosen if you had drawn a will.


The Do’s of Will Administration

  1. Use a professional

  • Hiring a professional to draw up your will is important as the process behind creating a legally valid will sets the platform for how your estate will be administered
  1. Choose your executors well

  • Your executor also known as a personal representative in Florida, is the person named to distribute your property that passes under your will and arranges for the payment of debts and expenses once you have deceased.
  • Exercising your estate in accordance with your instructions after you die can be a demanding task and should be left with a responsible and capable person
  1. Appoint guardians for your children and think about your children

  • Specifying a guardian for your children ensures your wishes are followed and outlining who is to take care of your minors will provide your child with a secure future and can also prevent various family members from fighting for custody
  1. Ensure your will is signed and witnessed

  • A will must meet certain formal requirements in order to be valid – it must be written (typed out) and it must be signed
  1. Review your will when circumstances change

  • you should review your will whenever there is a change in your circumstances e.g. marriage, divorce, separation, children or property purchase, as changes to your circumstances can make your will invalid or inadequate
  1. Determine your power of attorney

  • A power of attorney is someone you appoint to act on your behalf in legal matters or private affairs.
  • You do not need to pick your spouse to be your power of attorney. It must be someone who you trust to fulfil your wishes as stated in your will


The Don’ts of Will Administration

  1. Don’t Do It Yourself

  • Hire an attorney. A good attorney will advise you and make sure that you are not making any mistakes.
  • Don’t attempt to find an online form or draft your own will
  1. Don’t fail to keep your will up to date

  • Failing to keep your will up to date could result in you dying without your most recent wishes being accurately reflected in your will and, if your circumstances have changed, you run the risk of your will being invalid
  1. Don’t assume your family can take care of things without a will

  • Without a will your family will lack the power to make many important decisions and they will be bound by what the law dictates
  • Grief can also create many other emotions and your family may not be equipped to deal with the distribution of your assets and money without causing conflict
  1. Don’t amend your will after it has been signed and witnessed

  • The only way you can make a valid change to a signed will is to prepare a codicil (this enables you to make small changes to your existing will) or prepare a new will.
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Gary I. Handin, P.A.

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