Should I Make a Will?

Yes-everyone over the age of 18 should make a will.

Most people who do not create a will feel it is too expensive, too time consuming, irrelevant for their situation, or just do not get around to making one. Wills are important because they allow your property and financial assets to be passed to the people you intend. They are particularly important when a minor child is involved or when you have specific requests for the disposition of your remains. Your will designates a personal representative who will carry out your requests and make sure your estate is taken care of properly. While it is true that sometimes arrangements created in a will are not always honored, this is rare and usually due to special circumstances. It is advisable to always have some sort of arrangements made.

A will does not need to be created by an attorney. The main requirement is that a will is properly witnessed. The will needs to be signed in front of two witnesses who then also sign the will. To make your will more official, it should be self-proving. A self-proving will is notarized and has accompanying affidavits. These wills speed up the process because the witnesses do not need to be contacted in order for the will to be carried out. Software and legal forms exist that can help you create a will. However, skilled attorneys will probably create the most detailed and correct will for you—and most wills that they create are self-proving.

Wills are important because estates that do not have them (called dying intestate) are handled by the state of Florida. Florida officials give property to closest relatives first. These relatives are usually spouses or children. If there is no spouse or child, the property passes to parents, siblings, or cousins, etc. The state will claim your estate for itself if a blood relative that should receive it cannot be located. The death of parents who do not have official documentation about the care of their children is especially difficult, because the state then makes this decision as well. Many are not happy with these rulings and it is sad to see poor arrangements that result because of a lack of planning by the parents. These situations often create family strife, something that does not make the transition for the children any easier.

Many Florida residents are unsure what will happen to their belongings and financial assets if they do not make a Last Will and Testament. SmithLaw encourages you to take the time now to create a Last Will and Testament.  A little time spent planning now will ensure peace of mind that your children and property will be taken care of as you desire.

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