Many people are reluctant to draft their own wills. They may think they have many years before their will is needed or they procrastinate because thinking about life after your death is unpleasant. Others assume that because their family is small, a will isn’t necessary.
Regardless of your age or circumstances, it is important to have an updated, valid will that complies with Florida law. Longtime wills and probate attorney Gary M. Landau, in Coral Springs, Florida, explains why.
Puts You in Charge of Where Your Assets Will Go
A legally binding will gives you the power to decide precisely how you would like your assets divided after your death. Without a will, the estate is divided according to state law and might not reflect your desires.
For instance, in Florida, if a married person dies without a will (known as intestate), and that person had grown children in a prior marriage, the law gives half of the estate to the spouse and half split among the children, regardless of whether this is what the deceased person would have wanted.
A will also allows a person to disinherit a family member who would otherwise receive a part of their estate according to Florida law – such as someone with whom they have a fraught relationship and who hasn’t been a part of their life for decades.
Prevents Family Conflicts
Property division without a written will can descend into a drawn-out battle between surviving family members. In addition to consuming funds, time, and energy for such a legal battle, I have seen this kind of conflict during a period of grief ruin family relationships for a lifetime.
To prevent family squabbles after you are gone, it is important to leave clear, unequivocal instructions on dividing your estate after you pass on through a properly drafted will.
Takes Care of Your Dependents
If you have minor children, especially if you are an only parent, it is imperative that you have a will, no matter your age. You want to make sure the person you select becomes the guardian of your children (or other dependents ) in the event of a tragedy. Without a will, the courts can choose who from the family becomes the legal guardian or even can name a state-appointed one.
Chooses the Executor of the Estate
As part of the will a person appoints a personal representative. This person is charged with ensuring your desires are followed. This person gathers your assets, notifies creditors, sells your home or other illiquid assets, and more. You’ll want to choose someone who is dependable, honest and organized for this task.
Facilitates the Probate Process
When you have a will, certain tasks that are performed after your death, such as selling your home, are more easily accomplished.
This can make things easier for your family.
Gains Peace of Mind
None of us can live forever. Writing a will that clearly states your wishes enables you to achieve peace of mind as you make the necessary arrangements for the future.
I have seen too many cases where someone delayed making a will and then suddenly passed away, leaving their families unsure of their wishes. (The Law Office of Gary M. Landau also offers a free document, My Last Emotional Wishes, on our website dealing with non-legal desires you may have for the end of your life.)
Because a will must be drawn to the exact specifications of state law, it is imperative that it be done correctly. Working with an experienced attorney ensures the will would be valid after your death.
You can make changes to your will at any time. Many people update their beneficiaries due to divorce, births, deaths, and other family circumstances.
Gary M. Landau, P.A.: Trustworthy Probate Attorney Firm in Coral Springs, FL
The Law Office of Gary M. Landau, P.A., has been handling probates, wills & trusts, and real estate under Florida law in South Florida’s Broward and south Palm Beach counties since the 1990s. Call our office at (954) 979-6566 or complete our online form today and schedule your consultation at no cost. We can work with you in person, over the phone, or on ZOOM.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction.