ATTORNEY FOR FLORIDA WILLS, TRUSTS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
People often put off drafting their Last Will and Testament (known simply as a will) and other end-of-life documents. That’s understandable, because nobody wants to think about dying.
But thinking about it briefly is a smart thing to do, no matter your age or financial status. If you don’t plan, hopefully for a time that won’t come for many years, you’ll be leaving it to your loved ones—or a state court—to make these important decisions for you.
Each state has its own requirements for drafting a will. To draft a valid will in Florida, along with the other important documents everyone should have, you’ll want to use an experienced Florida estate attorney.
The Law Office of Gary M. Landau, located in Coral Springs, Florida, in Broward County, has drafted Florida wills, trusts, living wills, healthcare surrogates, and other legal documents for more than two decades.
We have the experience and knowledge to do this for you.
The Importance Of Drafting A Proper Will
A Florida will is a legal document recognized by the courts that allows you to designate who will inherit your property, money, and other valuables.
For people with minor children, a will is also where you designate your choice for a legal guardian should you tragically pass away while your children are underage.
Married couples need two separate wills, one for each person.
It is critical that your Florida will be properly drafted because once it is filed after your death any errors it contains cannot be fixed. In some cases, courts have tossed out improperly drafted wills as invalid; this causes assets to be distributed according to state law rather than by the deceased’s wishes.
Don’t let this happen to you
What makes a will properly drafted? You carefully select your personal representative (the person tasked with carrying out your instructions after you are gone) both for who is best suited for the job and who is legally allowed to have that role according to Florida law.
You choose your beneficiaries with care and include backup beneficiaries should any of your heirs predecease you.
And you ensure that the will is executed exactly as Florida law determines—signed in the presence of two witnesses along with a “self-proving affidavit.”
You Should Not Do A Florida Will On Your Own
Many websites offer do-it-yourself or cheaply crafted wills, but this is something I strongly discourage.
Your Florida will is perhaps the most important document you will create in your lifetime. Mistakes happen too readily with DIY wills.
The forms available from these websites are often poorly drafted and have ambiguous wording. Sometimes they don’t clarify how to properly execute them in Florida (each state has its own rules). Even forms claiming to be created for Florida may have been tweaked from other states and may not be 100 percent correct.
To avoid potential problems to this critical document, work with the Law Office of Gary M. Landau, located in Coral Springs, Florida, because we have deep knowledge of properly drafting a Florida will.
Our Website’s Input Form Makes It Easy To Get Started
Our law firm has made it extremely easy for you to begin the process of drafting your Florida will.
First, call or e-mail us to arrange a brief phone consultation. Once you have decided to hire the firm to draft your will and/or other important documents, you may decide to input your basic information via our online worksheet.
This is an optional step that makes things more convenient for you. Filling out this online form shortens the time you need to spend in our office (or on the phone or video conference, your choice) providing this information before we can properly create your Florida will.
In no time you will have a personalized, properly executed Florida will that meets your exact needs.
The Importance Of A Living Will
Another document typically drafted along with a will is a Living Will. This communicates to your physician what kind of care you want at the end of your life if you are unable to convey your wishes.
Whether you prefer aggressive care, such as remaining on life support if your doctor thinks there is no hope of recovery, or whether you do not want this is conveyed in a living will.
The Law Office of Gary M. Landau typically creates your living will at the same time as your last will and testament.
Healthcare Power Of Attorney And Durable Power Of Attorney
The final documents you may desire are a Healthcare Power of Attorney (also called a Healthcare Surrogate) and a Durable Power of Attorney.
A healthcare power of attorney tells a hospital and physician which person you want to be making important medical decisions should you become incapacitated. The law typically places a spouse, adult child or parent in that role, but this document allows you to designate anyone you wish.
A durable power of attorney is a powerful document that allows someone else to make major financial decisions for you—even possibly to sell your home. Since these powers of attorney are deemed to be in effect as soon as they are executed, great care must go into the thought process behind creating one.
Some clients who are not quite ready to appoint someone to be in charge of their financial affairs may choose to create a durable power of attorney but keep all copies under wraps until it becomes necessary to give the person this financial power.
Our Law Firm’s Own Document: My Last Emotional Wishes
Over the years we have seen many clients who wished their loved one had provided better instructions about their emotional desires towards the end of their life. For this reason, the Law Office of Gary M. Landau created a special free document to help take the guesswork from struggling family and friends.
Called My Last Emotional Wishes, the free downloadable document was drafted with the advice of hospice experts. It covers areas of great importance such as whether you want people to talk about your illness with you or mostly have more typical conversations; what people, items, music and/or prayers you want to be surrounded by in your final days; what you most want to be remembered for; the mood you prefer at your funeral/memorial service; and more.
My Last Emotional Wishes is offered free by the Law Office of Gary Landau. The four-page PDF is easily downloadable from the home page of our website, GaryLandau.com. Scroll to the bottom of the home page to find the downloadable form.
Please note that because the form deals only with emotional issues, it is not a legal document and does not replace the other Florida legal documents everyone should have.
Do You Need A Revocable Living Trust?
In some cases, it makes sense to also create a Revocable Living Trust for your assets. This is a legal entity, or trust, that houses your assets (hence the term living). With this document, you can change or cancel the trust at any time (this is why it’s called revocable).
Living trusts have some advantages, such as bypassing the time and costs of probate after your death, because when the primary trustee passes away the already-designated successor trustee immediately takes charge of the assets.
For many people, though, trusts are not worth the effort. You have to “fund” the trust, which is a time-consuming process where you move all your real estate into the trust by creating new deeds, and you contact your banks, investment firms, insurance companies, and other asset-holders to make the trust the owner of each account.
With a trust you still need a will to potentially probate items that fall outside the trust, typically because they were acquired later and never moved into the trust.
Most problematic, the document creating the trust is easily misplaced over the years. Since a trust is not filed with the court, once lost there is no way to retrieve it. If you do create a Revocable Living Trust, it is crucial that you store it someplace safe and let all your heirs know where they can find it.
For a free consultation to learn more about the Law Firm of Gary M. Landau and how we can help with your Florida wills, living wills, trusts, and other documents, Contact us by phone or email. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.