Boca Raton Wills Lawyer
A will is a solid foundation to any estate plan.
Having a will is the fundamental way to protect your family in the event of your death and to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes—which is why writing a will is typically the first step to creating an estate plan, no matter how complex the plan needs to become. For clients with children, one of the best reasons to have a will is to appoint a guardian for your minor children. You can also name a personal representative to carry out the terms of your will when you die, and decide who bears any tax burden imposed on your estate. Contact our Boca Raton wills lawyers today, we can help.
Florida gives its residents freedom to dispose of their property as they see fit at death, but a person can only gain this freedom by executing a valid will. To be valid, a Florida will must meet certain formalities, including:
- You, the maker of the will, must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be of sound mind at the time you sign your will.
- Your will must be written.
- Your will must be witnessed and notarized in the special manner provided by law for wills.
- It is necessary to follow exactly the formalities required by Florida law for the execution of a will.
- To be effective, your will must be proved valid and allowed by the probate court.
If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed according to Florida law, rather than your wishes.
A Florida resident who dies without a valid will is said to die intestate, which means his or her assets will pass according to Florida intestate law. In that event, your possessions will go first to your spouse and children if you have them; if not, your nearest living relatives will be in line to inherit from you—your parents, grandchildren, siblings, and so on. If you are found to have no living relatives at all, the state will take your property. Without a will, you have zero say over how the government distributes your assets. It can mean that some of your loved ones, such as stepchildren or partners, will not receive anything at all.
While essential, a will may not be the only estate planning document you need.
While a will is a great tool that enables you to choose how you would like to leave your assets to your loved ones, a will is also extremely limited in what it can do. For example, a will cannot avoid probate, which is typically a six to 12-month process requiring court oversight and numerous filings. Also, a will does not provide asset protection. In many cases, a will coupled with a trust will address these issues and help you achieve your estate planning goals.
A pour-over will allows assets to be transferred (poured over) into a trust to lessen the need for the probate process. Because most of your assets will have already been transferred to your trust before your death, the value of the property that passes under your will may be small enough to qualify for “small estate” probate procedures, which are quicker, simpler, and less expensive than regular probate. And the assets left directly through your trust can usually be distributed to your beneficiaries within a few weeks of your passing.
If you need to create a will, or if you need to modify your will, contact Protect My Assets Law Group right away.
Do not leave your assets or your loved ones in the grips of the legal system when you pass. You can make it much easier for everything and everyone you care about by executing a valid Florida will. Contact Boca Raton wills lawyers at Protect My Assets Law Group today, and let’s get started with a free initial consultation.